• Shelby McAuliffe

Unrolling 3D


This project is to create a 3D object in Rhino, deconstruct it into a 2D surface and then piece it back together to reconstruct as a 3D object again.

I've taken inspiration from the audio mating call of the Sage Grouse found in the heart of the Nevada and Colorado deserts. The Sage Grouse is an endangered species that lives among the sagebrush.

This illusive male bird coos while clapping its large breasts together like drums during its mating call.

Below is a visualization of the audio from the sage grouse. Its repetitive pattern creates an interesting rhythm. Spikes with the coos and a low drum wavering until it coos again.

Using a section of the audio clipping, I used polyline and control point curve to create straight and curved vector lines.

Once I traced the audio sections I wanted, I rotated the curves using the gumball function to change my curves to be perpendicular to my top view.

I used extrude curve and typed in the width to be 3 inches wide and hit enter.

Once I had my 3D shape I used transform- align and selected bottom to align the bottom and side of each surface to the C Plane.

To imagine how I wanted my final piece to look I placed a backboard to slide the acrylic into another piece of acrylic. Thinking about sound being the unseen, I decided to use clear acrylic to make my piece

After creating my template I had to measure each of my cuts. I used analyze and dropped down to distance and length. Length allowed me to measure the curve distance of the wavy parts and distance would measure the heights of the straight sections. I used annotation dots to label each measurement and wrote out the distances.

I used the measurements to create planes 3 inches wide and the length being the measured distance. Below the image shows the red surfaces as the curved pieces that will have living hinges added to them. The white planes are the straight portions copied and rotated. The yellow plane is the back board with the curves extracted to create the cut to slide the other pieces through.

I had my layout and proper measurements I extracted curves to export as an illustrator file. I checked the boxes to allow for 1 to 1 measurement transfers.

I went to cut my material with the laser cutter. My first cut of living hinges were too wide to curve into the acrylic piece. I then had to free transform my hinges 1D to not alter the width of the pieces so they would fit into my back board properly.


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@ 2020 All photographs by Shelby McAuliffe 

Prints available upon request

Boulder, Colorado Artist

Available for travel worldwide