Objet is a company that specializes in rapid prototyping. They produce machines that use inkjet print-heads to spray layer after layer of a UV curable liquid that hardens into a solid. Using a software developed by Laica (not to be confused with camera-maker, Leica), animators were able to create scenes in 3D animation software like Maya and send the results directly to the printer.
Unfortunately, the cheapest printer at Objet will set you back $40,000. Probably out of the range of most props shops. And by “most”, I mean “all”.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use this new technology. Bucknell University, where I got my BA, had these kinds of machines for their Small Business Development Center. If you work at a university theatre, or are still in school yourself, you may find another department has one of these. You may even be able to gain access if you develop a good relationship with that department.
For those of you who are hip with this whole internet thing, I am on Twitter. You can follow me if you want. It’s not as focused on props as this blog, but I’ll occasionally throw up a link to something of interest to the props community. These are some sites I’ve tweetered about in the past:
Vintage Printables – A fascinating (and organized) collection of public domain artwork and graphics suitable for printing (and making paper props).
Craft Rooms and Organizing – An ongoing series showcasing the spaces of crafters. It’s a great inspiration for setting up work and storage spaces in tight quarters.
Photos of my Models – A photo gallery of Michael Paul Smith’s incredibly detailed models of a mid-century American town.
75 years of Band-Aid – A brief history of Band-Aid with a great gallery of their bandage packages throughout the years.
Louvre database – A (still incomplete) database of all the artworks in the Louvre museum.
So if you can’t stand missing out on future links like this, as well as my unparalleled humor, go ahead and check out my Twitter.
I just started looking at The Internet Craftsmanship Museum. It’s a great museum featuring highly crafted miniatures of any number of objects. A large portion of the collection can be viewed online. I like the miniature gun section, although the aircraft are pretty cool, too.
If you want to do your own miniatures, or if you just have extremely limited space for a workshop like I do, you can find any number of tools from either Micro-Mark or Sherline. I’ve been looking at a number of machines from both of these places for awhile.
I’m often tempted to get one of those cheap mini machines, like a tabletop table saw, from any of those discount tool outlets. But then I read reviews for them and realize they’re just utter crap. The tools from Micro-Mark or Sherline are built like real tools, only smaller; they aren’t toys. Of course, this is reflected in the prices. Ah, well.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies