However, I am also making 3D prints — fabricated sculptures, which I map out in 3D-space using and then 3D print.
The process has been arduous. I’ve learned a lot. I’m not sure I’d do it this way again, since I had to end up writing a lot of custom code to do things like triangle-winding for STL output and much, much more.
Here is how it works. First, I create a model in Fusion 360 — an Autodesk application — which I’ve slowly been learning and have become fond of.
From various open datasets, I map out the geolocations locations of the hydrants or the cisterns in X,Y space. You can check out this Instructable on the Mapping Cisterns and this blog post on the mapping of the hydrants for more info. Using OpenFrameworks — an open source toolset in C++, I map these out in 3D space. The Z-axis is the elevation.
The hydrants or cisterns are both disconnected entities in 3D space. They’d fall apart when trying to make a 3D print, so I use Delaunay triangulation code to connect the nodes as a 3D shape.
I designed my custom software to export a ready-to-print set of files in an STL format. My C++ code includes an editor which lets you do two things:
(1) specify which hydrants are “normal” hydrants and which ones have mounting holes in the bottom. The green ones have mounting holes, which are different STL files. I will insert 1/16″ stainless steel rod into the mounting holes and have the 3D prints “floating” on a piece of wood or some other material.
(2) my editor will also let you remove and strengthen each Delaunay triangulation node — the red one is the one currently connected. This is the final layout for the print, but you can imagine how cross-crossed and hectic the original one was.
I ran many, many tests before the final 3D print.
The cleaning itself is super-arduous.
I haven’t yet mounted these prints, but this will come soon. There’s still loads of cleaning to do.