Making Models True to Life

Creating scale models is all about detail. To create stunning replicas that remain true to the original takes careful planning and precise execution.

Cornelia Kuglmeier knows just how detailed a Doodled model can be. An artist and teacher with a passion for architecture, Cornelia has successfully recreated several detailed models of world-famous buildings. In addition to creating a scale replica of the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, she’s also worked on miniature versions of iconic Modernist architectural masterpieces like the Farnsworth House and Fallingwater.

Cornelia says that when using the 3Doodler to create scale models, all it takes to get started is an idea, a steady hand, and a lot of patience.

Not Every Building Has Four Plain Walls

“You can choose any type of building you like,” Cornelia says, “or invent a new one!” Style, period, or complexity of the structure aren’t as important as your personal interest and passion.

If creating a unique building of your own design, Cornelia recommends making a draft of the building using 3D software first. “Make sure you have all the walls, the roof and the floor,” she says. “Show every side to have a good idea on what it will look like when it’s finished.”

When creating a replica of an existing building, it may be easier to know how the finished piece should look—but this also means execution must be precise. Cornelia says when making models of famous buildings, she always begins by finding a floor plan. “This is crucial!” she says. The floor plan allows for better construction, even if your main concern is how the outside of the building will look.

"You need a stencil for every side of every element of your building. Walk around it in your imagination and count corners and spaces for every floor. "

In addition, Cornelia says it’s important to find photos, plans or drawings for every side of the structure. “I also hunt for detailed pictures that show decoration or any other special things,” Cornelia reveals, as often these small additions can provide the key to capturing the essence of the architecture.

Detail may also determine the size of the model. “The more detail you want to show, the bigger your Doodled building will be,” Cornelia explains. “If necessary, simplify forms or leave out details that are less important.”

With floor plans, reference photos, and a concept of size and scale, you can begin to create your stencils. “You need a stencil for every side of every element of your building,” Cornelia says. “Walk around it in your imagination and count corners and spaces for every floor. Not every building has just four plain walls.”

Plain Edges and Clean Corners

When recreating any piece of architecture, an awareness of materials can be just as important as understanding the structure. “Dots, short strokes, thin, medium or thick plain lines, checkered spaces, zig-zag or chevron patterns—all result in different surfaces which can mimic different materials,” Cornelia explains.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

When creating a scale replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater, Cornelia had to test a variety of techniques in order to achieve all the different textures which came from various construction materials and the natural environment around the house. The trick when creating a model is to experiment and test what your 3Doodler can do. “Choose what looks most similar to what you want to build.”

But precision is key when it comes to model building. “Plain edges and clean corners are essential to create fine rectangular buildings,” Cornelia says. “It helps to draw the outlines first and then fill in the spaces.”

For curved areas, Cornelia recommends finding something to use as a mould rather than attempting to Doodle free-hand. “Think about hot-airing a flat Doodled piece around a bottle, vase, or whatever you have that suits the size you need,” she says.

Time and Patience

When constructing your model, relying on a scaled version of the original floor plan can help ensure the form and shape are correct. Cornelia recommends working from bottom to top, and inside to outside, which is what she did when creating her scale model of the Farnsworth House, designed and constructed by Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

“Try as much as possible to Doodle your pieces together at invisible spaces,” Cornelia says, “from the inside, from underneath, and so on.”

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Cornelia says not to be afraid to use outside materials to clean up stray strands, like scissors, knives or other blades. When building any structure, having edges fit together is key to recreating an accurate portrayal of the final building.

But most important of all, says Cornelia, is time and patience. Precision is vital, and mistakes do happen. Enjoy the process, and keep the final result in sight.

If you’re looking to try your hand at creating scale models, 3Doodler will be releasing both of these amazing buildings as 3Doodler Create Project Kits in collaboration with National Trust for Historic Preservation and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, so that anyone can re-create these eye-catching structures themselves.

Critic’s Choice: New Dimensions

In Critic’s Choice,speaks to members of the art world who explore what the 3Doodler means in a broader artistic context. Last week we spoke to New Media Art Professor Zhenzhen Qi.

This weekspoke to Kerri Gaudelli, an installation artist and educator at the prestigious Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. At the Aldrich, Gaudelli works to foster an understanding and appreciation of art in every visitor, through historical perspective and interpretation. She also organizes opportunities for visitors to explore their own creative impulses as inspired by the works they’ve seen at the Aldrich.

Kerri Gaudelli doesn’t believe she has ever seen anything quite like the 3Doodler.

That makes the tool particularly unique. In her time at the Aldrich Museum she has seen a wide range of modern and contemporary work created using an expansive array of mediums. The diversity of artists and work on display at the museum is extensive, and often includes work that crosses the boundary between two and three dimensions.

Gaudelli’s own art often involves converting a charcoal drawing into installation pieces, featuring pins and thread that interact with the space around them. As a result, she’s excited by the prospect of using the 3Doodler in her own work.

“The 3Doodler is a new way for artists to think about space,” she says. “It can let them expand and bring their work to life. Letting them bring it out of 2D and into 3D allows them to work on the canvas as well as the wall, or anywhere, really, and often with the same amount of skill.”

While Gaudelli has yet to see a museum display that evokes the exact same look or feel as the 3Doodled work she’s seen, she believes the pen’s ability to work across dimensions and mediums would fit naturally into museum spaces both as a medium and as a learning tool. Gaudelli was impressed by the painterly sculpture of Rachel Goldsmith, which clearly showcased the 3Doodler’s ability to enable a new exploration of space.

“I think it would be a great experiment. My own work has a lot to do with structure, building, and translating from 2D to 3D and back, which is exactly what this pen does.” Gaudelli also said she feels the 3Doodler would be an excellent tool to have on hand at the Aldrich, particularly for the educational programs she runs for children.

“I’m the Education Program Assistant at The Aldrich. Which means I help run and write content for our school programs,” Guadelli said. “I also foster the relationship between schools and the Aldrich, and do outreach to help get students into the Museum.” To be effective at her job, Gaudelli often has to interpret how students as young as 3rd grade might see the museum, and help design an engaging experience for that particular point of view.

The Aldrich is multi-discipline as well as multi-media, and routinely hosts STEAM education events. STEAM education—which combines Art with the Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics of STEM programs—combines the strengths of all five modes of thinking. The Aldrich’s “Full STEAM Ahead” events feature symposiums and presentations about STEAM principals in education and society, as well as practical opportunities for students to investigate the topics and materials directly.

“Our STEAM tours would be a great fit for the 3Doodler,” Gaudelli said of the 3Doodler as a potential educational tool at the Museum.

“These are programs that let kids explore the galleries and artists on display at the museum and try to figure out what the artists are inspired by and interested in based on the works themselves and STEAM thinking. We recently had an exhibit with a piece that consisted of a deconstructed 1976 John Deere combine harvester. The artist used it as a metaphor to show the interconnectedness of different parts of the environment. It’s a real chance for the kids to come to understand space, and the use of something comparatively high-tech would fit really well. I think students would take to it right away.”

Gaudelli believes that the 3Doodler could be a way to open not just new directions for drawing, but also for thinking about art. “It really is the ultimate STEAM tool because it combines so many different ways of thinking, different dimensions, as well as science and technology behind it, and it uses all of that to create artwork.”

From Classroom Dreams to Community Donations

In November 2016, 3Doodler joined with DonorsChoose.org to help make tactile tech a reality for classrooms across the USA.

Our pledge was to match each donation to projects requesting a 3Doodler EDU Bundle, dollar for dollar. We’re always looking for ways to encourage hands-on learning and tactile methods for teaching, and there’s no better way to do that than through the requests of teachers themselves.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be going into the classrooms that had their 3Doodler EDU projects fully funded through our matching campaign. We’ll speak with the teachers, and get an inside look at the difference DonorsChoose.org and 3Doodler has made.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

Critic’s Choice: Drawing New Insights with Zhenzhen Qi

Artists and creators the world over recognize the 3Doodler as a powerful and revolutionary tool. But what impact do the critics, professors, and curators of the art world think the 3Doodler will have? In Critic’s Choice,speaks to members of the art world who examine and speculate about what this new technology means in a broader artistic context.

Our first perspective comes from Zhenzhen Qi, an adjunct professor who teaches new media art and interaction design. Originally trained as an applied mathematician at UC Berkeley, she earned a Masters in New Media Arts after feeling there was something missing from her undergraduate studies. Qi’s work is often interactive and fuses her analytical background with representations of emotion. As a professor, she is continuously searching for truth, and helping her pupils find it as well.

Scientist, mathematician, engineer, and artist, Zhenzhen Qi has taken a circuitous path to where she is today. Bringing it all together is an essential part of her quest for truth.

“I had a very typical science and engineering educational experience,” Qi said of her training as an applied mathematician, “but I felt it was lacking something very important to the kind of person I am. The way scientists and engineers are trained and educated made me feel like there needs to be something more.”

“I’m still not sure if art alone is the answer,” Qi admitted, “but I think there are a lot of interesting things happening in the space between art and science technology.”

The search for “something more” led Qi to the Interactive Art program at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. After graduation, she became an educator and currently teaches both graduate and undergraduate New Media Art programs across New York City.

“The numerical parts of science combined with the openness of art is what makes both what I teach and what I make more interesting than either on their own.” Qi’s exploration of the spaces where art and science overlap has naturally taken her to the world of 3D printing. And that’s part of the reason why she is excited about the 3Doodler.

Qi’s statement is based on mathematician and computer scientist Seymour Papert’s design principal of “low floors, high ceilings.” When properly executed, this means you can create something with a tool as soon as it is picked up, but that the potential for more complex and involved creations from the tool is limitless. Although Papert was talking about his Logo programing language, Qi was referring to the relative ease of use of a printing pen, even though a practiced user can create truly incredible things.

But Papert’s thinking isn’t the only thing exciting Qi about the 3Doodler.

“I’m very familiar with 3D printing commercial technology. I’ve designed and printed a number of things with different hardware and materials,” Qi said of the emerging medium. But while she has been pleased with the results overall, she finds the process lacking something vital.

For Qi, 3D printing has meant that the act of creation ends when she saves the final version of the design file. The automated 3D printer removes the tactile element of creation and detaches her from the creative process. So, just as applied mathematics turned out to be only part of the equation, standard 3D printing techniques haven’t offered everything she is looking for.

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Qi believes the 3Doodler can provide a sense of creative ownership that automated printers simply can’t match. Executing the design by hand may provide artists with a new appreciation for the medium of molded plastic. Shaping the work directly makes it possible to discover new aspects of the piece, and understand the medium directly. And while it does make mistakes or minor imperfections more likely, this introduces the possibility to learn and find serendipitous new ways to develop artwork.

The increased potential for discovery and creation, Qi feels, is at the core of the appeal of the 3Doodler.

“The reason I thought a printing pen would be a great idea is because it reminds me so much of just regular drawing on a piece of paper. And drawing as a technology is probably one of our oldest forms of expression, one of the oldest technologies we have, and that’s because there’s so much creative potential with that tool.”

Qi envisions a future where the 3Doodler enables creators and students to easily create work that deftly blends dozens of disciplines. “This is a tool which can integrate fields that people are not used to seeing combined—for example, art, physics, material sciences and engineering. I think it’s more about integrating different fields rather than completely redefining any one field.”

And with that integration, perhaps she will find her greater truth.

Check out more of Qi’s work at zhenzhenqi.com.

Creating Connections with Shim Jeong-Sub

For South Korean artist Shim Jeong-Sub, everything is about making a connection.

A student at Hongik University, Jeong-Sub studies woodworking and furniture design. But artistry and design is all about innovation, and for Jeong-Sub’s latest project it was time to look beyond traditional construction materials.

Demonstrating the strength of a Doodled truss structure

“While experimenting with different tools and materials during the starting process, I turned my eyes to 3D printing,” Jeong-Sub says. In order to make 3D-printed furniture a reality, it was important to consider the strength and durability of 3D printing filaments like PLA and ABS.

"The 3Doodler uses the latest technology, but it can apply a wide range of human creativity."

While using a 3D printer was a possibility, there was something more appealing to the hand-made nature of using the 3Doodler. “Unlike previous 3D printers which require a complex method and high cost, the 3Doodler allows users to draw in 3-dimensions while keeping the same basic process of an FDM 3D printer with ejected molten plastic,” explains Jeong-Sub. “The 3Doodler uses the latest technology, but it can apply a wide range of human creativity.”

With a concept in place and new technology to make it a reality, the next task was to create the intricate structure which would successfully serve as functional furniture.

While most Doodled structures are created with standard horizontal and vertical lines, creating furniture required something different. “After judging that the thickness and the length of the filament would not support the weight of an average man, I experimented with various forms of structure,” says Jeong-Sub.

"I tried to pursue the natural and composite texture of connected filaments, creating a more coincidental impression."

After rigorous testing, Jeong-Sub finally found a solution. “I used a truss structure, which can support the most force,” he reveals. “By ejecting the molten plastic and connecting them one by one, the work was produced.”

“Assuming the ability to sit, I first formed a structure which supports the weight of a person,” Jeong-Sub explains. “After judging that it can support the force, I tried to pursue the natural and composite texture of connected filaments, creating a more coincidental impression.”

The result was a full-sized chair and design masterpiece which Jeong-Sub appropriately named “Connect”. The finished piece took two full months to complete, with a total of 450 meters (almost 1,500 feet) of connected filament.

Jeong-Sub continues to explore how hand-drawn 3D forms made with the 3Doodler can be elevated to sculptural interior design pieces. His latest works follow the same concept as his Connect chair. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a pendant light and an electroformation, where Jeong-Sub created an underlying structure modeled with the 3Doodler which was then electroformed and covered with copper.

All of his work reflects Jeong-Sub’s own take on modern life. “This piece ‘Connect’ visualizes in detail the figure of modern people living with connections,” Jeong-Sub explains, “as well as focusing on showing the effect of coincidence when each connection creates a structure with more complexity and variations.”

Read additional coverage of Shim Jeong-Sub’s work at Dezeen

How tactile technology can help those with learning disabilities

One (teaching) size fits all? Experienced educators know that’s not how it works— especially when it comes to teaching students with learning disabilities. Not every student responds well to traditional, classroom-based teaching methods, and what makes one student’s eyes light up in understanding, might leave another as confused as they were before the start of class.

One in five children and adults in the US are affected by learning or attention issues, and approximately 8% of children aged 3-17 are reported as having been diagnosed with a learning disorder. While personalized learning for those with learning disabilities might be the ideal, adapting teaching methods to individuals can be difficult in a large classroom, and teachers don’t want students with learning disabilities to feel singled out.

Moving towards tactile technology

Many teachers are turning to tactile learning and evolving technologies as a way to engage students across different learning styles and needs. As part of a multi-sensory learning approach, tactile technology can help students across a range of skill development areas and a broad range of subjects. Such an approach is especially helpful for students with learning difficulties like dyslexia and similar impairments such as dyscalculia and dysgraphia—which affect math and writing understanding and abilities.

Assistive technology that plays to the student’s strengths and works around their challenges has already been making its presence known in the classroom—from interactive white boards, to the more recent addition of 3D printers.

More schools for students with learning disabilities are embracing technology, and makerspace tech like 3D printers, cameras and robotics kits can now be found in educational facilities across the USA and around the world. The results are clear: hands-on learning with physical tools helps students to understand ideas and concepts that are otherwise hard to grasp, enables interest in industries related to technology, and can be particularly effective in cultivating interest in STEM subjects. And there’s plenty of successful examples of this in practice.

The Benefits of Hands-on Learning

Tactile teaching—using physical, demonstrative, auditory or visual objects—can help keep students engaged and helps them focus their minds on the present. Tech that encourages people to physically be involved like the Raspberry Pi, 3D printers, and of course 3Doodler bring a new or relatively unexplored aspect of learning into the classroom.

Students who struggle with ADHD may vastly prefer tactile learning methods over auditory or visual learning styles. Having to create a diorama or a model might mean students understand better than if they were asked to simply imagine a spatial arrangement, the concept of geometry, or complex equations in their head. "When students are given the tools to physically create a model, they can see exactly how all the parts come together to function as a whole."Asking a student to create a model of the Eiffel Tower, for example, demands much more due diligence than just getting them to sketch it out. It may be difficult for someone who has dyslexia or ADD to concentrate long enough on understanding why the tower’s structural integrity relies on many different factors, but physical tools would help engage them enough to grasp why certain shapes work better than others, how math factors into construction, and why some materials work better than others.

Teachers have found that using tactile teaching methods in subjects like biology can reap better results than when students are asked only to visualise a concept. When students are given the tools to physically create a model of a cell, for example, they can see exactly how all the parts come together to function as a whole. Consider if students who have dysgraphia are asked to explain why a beetle looks the way it does—if they can create their own beetle and physically point out why it has adapted to its environment, they stand a better chance of being able to contribute to a class discussion than if they are forced to fall back on writing it out.

Dyslexic students, who may have visual or auditory deficiencies, may find that they excel when they apply tactile or kinesthetic methods to their learning. People who have trouble reading words, letters or numbers could benefit from creative solutions such as making their own words, letters or numbers (handy for those with dyscalculia) on plastic blocks helps them process sequences or equations better.

Across the board, in subjects that range from the arts to hard sciences, tactile technology has proven tremendously beneficial. When it comes to adapting for students with learning disabilities, it’s time to put down those pens and pencils and pick up a tool of a different sort. With new tactile tech, your students can have their hands (quite literally) full with tools to help them grasp the practical skills and knowledge that comes from innovative learning.

Get out there, and be creative. Your students will thank you for it.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.