making a 3D wireframe animal shape
March 23, 2008 11:38 AM   Subscribe

A couple of years ago for an art project I made a couple of four foot long geckos out of conduit and fence wire. It was a lot of work and the end result, while pleasing, wasn't quite as finished looking as I would have hoped. I got the idea from looking at beaded wire frame animal shapes you can see for sale in artsy stores. How can I make a frame for animal shapes that represents the original more accurately with less guesswork?

I've seen various ways to create 3D animal shapes that were interesting to me. You can buy topiary frames for cheap. Zoos will put on light shows that feature animal shapes festooned with lights. At Christmas, you can buy snowmen, or deer shapes that are made from plastic rod bent to shape and hot glued.
I took an 8" wire frame art piece and photocopied it, blew up the pictures and mapped out the conduit from that. I used a brazing torch to bend the pipe, and cyclone fence wire to rib the frame and make it 3D, then brazed everything together.
I'm looking for information on how to do this more effectively. I want to take an image of a plant, animal or insect and recreate it in a 3D wireframe shape that's bigger than life-size, strong enough to withstand weather and life in a garden.
There's two pieces to this question: how to make a 3D shape that is accurate to the original, and what's the physical medium to do this?
posted by diode to Technology (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Use chicken wire. Smaller matrix, more flexible material. (used for topiary) Yours sounds cool, though. Do you have pictures?
posted by nax at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2008

Here's my flickr set. I thought about making an instructable out of the project, but never got it done.

The LED's in the eyes on the geckos were run by a small microprocessor that altered the color slowly. The rest of the body was slathered with inexpensive LED strings that pulsed in in a variety of patterns.
posted by diode at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2008

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