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bridegroom

The bridal couple. Photo by Jaramie Shoda.

It might just be me, it might just be David Tutera, but, well… weddings? They’re kind of a big deal. With my own looming on the horizon next year, I won’t say I have wedding brain exactly, but hey, they’re on my mind. With the influx of 3D printing in my life since I started working for 3DPrint.com, my fiancé and I have tossed around the idea of getting a 3D printed cake sculpture… of ourselves. We would not be the only bridal couple to do so, and blogger Kathleen Tuite and her bridegroom Adam ended up having a bit of an adventure in their quest for the perfect cake topper.

The couple were married this past July, and recently Kathleen documented their adventures in 3D printing on her blog, appropriately titled “Kathleen’s projects and stuff.” They started out excited to get on board with Shapify, which makes Shapies… but their experience turned out to be maybe more of a quest than they’d initially had in mind.

I should probably mention at this point that Kathleen decided to title this blog post “Bride hacks into website, decodes proprietary 3D model format to save wedding!!”

scanning

A practice (pre-wedding dress) Kinect scan

The couple decided to ignore the old adage that it’s bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding day and scan themselves in full wedding wear. If you’re superstitious, you might trace their problems back to this early dress sighting… if you’re not, maybe it’s more realistic to look to some tech issues.

Their first step was to scan themselves using their school’s Kinect — an adventure in itself, requiring Kathleen to quick-pin her dress in an impromptu bustle so she could turn, since they didn’t have any help in holding the Kinect up for the scan. Shapify has a scanning program which walks users through the process, including when to turn. On their second try (the first computer they used crashed), they got a successful scan and sent the files out to Shapify to 3D print their wedding model; they spent $70 to get a color model.

However, as Kathleen explains:

“The problem was that the color of the 3D print was kind of icky, due to the lighting in the capture room. The cream color of the dress turned into a dingy gray, especially where the black of the suit bled into it. Our skin had a greenish tinge. My aesthetic bar for this wedding was not that high, but this model did not meet that bar.”

color model

The Shapify model wasn’t exactly ready to top the most photographed dessert of Kathleen and Adam’s lives. But they couldn’t download the files for their model directly from Shapify without being a pretty big investor. Kathleen thought that maybe she could beg to see if they’d let her have it anyway, since the model had been paid for… but this was when she decided to go another route: “I wanted to be a badass computer bride instead.”

makerbot

The new model printing on a MakerBot 3D printer at Metrix Create:Space

Kathleen, it should be mentioned, seems to be a bit of a technophile. She has a background in Javascript, Chrome debugging, reading and rendering 3D models, Canvas, and Actionscript, among other programming applications. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for her, then, to discover that the Sculpteo 3D model viewer that Shapify used had Javascript and some binary language. So she set to work finding her file.

Armed with the code, Kathleen and Adam turned next to Metrix Create:Space in their native Seattle to have a new model created. This time, they opted for white plastic and a bigger size — and the company even fixed a glitch in the design where Adam’s right foot was too skinny. The day after ordering the new, improved model, they returned to discover two models — it turned out so well Metrix Create:Space made their own to display.

This experience was everything the bridal couple had hoped. The staff at Metrix Create:Space were helpful, Adam’s foot was normalized, and the MakerBot 3D printer produced a usable model with which they topped their wedding cake. Check out photos of a side-by-side comparison of the two models:

compare compare back

What do you think about Kathleen’s hacking to get the 3D file from Shapify? Let us know what you think about how both models turned out in the 3D Printed Wedding Cake Topper forum thread at 3DPB.com.

caketopper

The final cake topper at the wedding

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