Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Buttons & Skirt Applique

This morning I received my prototype resin buttons from the 3D printer, and am quite happy with the result. The company I used was really easy to deal with, took a lot of care with the product (they cam packed in foam) and were very helpful in making sure they understood what I needed so it didnt cost me lots of money with design edits.

I started by collecting all of the button images from the portrait and working out the main design features. These were translated into a line drawing and series of cross sections and notes for the CAD designers. They took my drawings and truned it into a CAD design file which were printed using a 3D printer into the buttons.

The button shank doesn't look like it will be strong enough or thick enough to cast, so I will probably mould them flat on the back and attach button shanks later. I am looking at different mould making methods and casting materials at the moment. I will need to cast a few :) After they have been cast I will undercoat them in black then paint them in two shades of gold.

But generally, as my first foray into designing and commissioning a piece of work, I have achieved something quite close to what I had in mind. What do you think? Do they represent the portrait reasonably well?

Another major milestone reached as well - All of the applique on the skirt has now been completed. Clocked up 585 hours so far. Moving onto the couching now.



  1. This is so cool! I've thought about using 3D printing/rapid prototyping for some items, but haven't tried it yet. Your post is so encouraging and inspiring, not to mention a totally awesome, creative use of modern technology to reproduce something antique. Brilliant!

  2. Thanks Lauren :) I am realy enjoying this project again now that I am starting to make some visable progress again. Glad you like the use of technology too.