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2. Digital bodies


This week we were tasked to use a 3D scanner, manipulate a 3D mesh, slice it, and learn how to laser cut in order to create a part of the human body. This was the week I was most intimidated by when looking at the course curriculum. However, as I went through each process everything started to come together and made a lot more sense. Now I am fairly confident in my abilities to use each tool or at least I am confident enough be able to play around with them on a basic level. Moving forward I now know that I need to spend time documenting after each process rather than at the end of the week. I am still trying to work out the work/life/Fabricademy balance.

Someone during the tutorial (sorry I forgot to document who!) mentioned in the chat that KIRI Engine is a free app for the phone that is good at making 3D models. I found this to be a relatively easy tool that produced a detailed 3D image. I immediately tried out the app using a skeleton in my classroom. I was impressed with the final 3D model and look forward to trying it out on myself and other objects when I get the time.

My inspiration for this week was the Body Worlds exhibit and Kate Reed's work


3D Scanner:

Manipulating 3D Mesh:

The 3D human head stl file from Thingiverse was uploaded to the Slicer for Fusion 360 software. I used horizontal stacked slices for the cardboard prototype. The final piece I wanted to use acrylic so I had to adjust the sizing of the slices as well as adjust for the number of slices (which were almost doubled, see laser cutting files below).

Laser Cutting File Preparation:
Acrylic Laser Cut Slices

Laser Cutting Process:
The sliced stl file was uploaded to the Glowforge website. I used the cardboard pre-set on Glowforge.


Timelapse of constructing the prototype

Prototype concept design for head
Figure 1. Brainstorming final product. I am using the cardboard head as a prototype for an acrylic piece. The concept for the final piece is for the middle layers to be able to move around a dowel located at the back of the head. This will allow one to move each individual slice of the head and reveal the engraved MRI image. The top and bottom 1/3 of the head is glued together, so only the middle portion can swivel.

Acrylic pieces
Figure 2. Acrylic slices for the final piece. The left image shows the clear top and base of the head. These pieces will be glued together. The middle pieces will consist of a rainbow of slices and each will have an image of an MRI scan on them along with a word. These words were specifically chosen as representation of various parts of myself.


This is still a work in progress. I will be continuing to update this as I complete the project.

Methods and Materials

KIRI Engine: This is a free 3D scanning app for the phone. It was easy to use and came with clear instructions and the end result was surprisingly detailed.

First, I set up the skeleton on the floor of my lab. The app instructs you to set up the object in a well light area that has other things in the background. The app uses those background items to help it sort the images (so don't use a totally white, blank space). Using KIRI Engine, I took 70 pictures of the skeleton starting from the top and slowly winding my way down in a spiral pattern to the bottom, changing the angle of my phone as I went. I then exported the images through the app to KIRI's server where it processed the images. It took about 30 minutes or so and then I got a notification that it was ready. I then exported the stl file onto my computer.

Thingiverse I used the 3D model Full Size Human Head Model for resting headsets on by lehthanis.



Slicer for Fusion 360

Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop


The Whole Brain Atlas

Transparent Coloured Acrlyic Sheets