Wrapping up in 3-d

As the summer comes to a close, I’m taking stock of all that I’ve done and learned. I’ve lost count of the number of museums I’ve visited, but I enjoyed every one. I’ve shopped in local boutiques and spent time in various parks. I’ve also learned some new skills that apply to my field. The first is 3 dimensional photogrammetry. In this process, you take multiple photographs of an object at different angles and then use a special software to stitch them all together. After calibrating the overlap (some the software does, some the user), the end result is an accurately scaled, 3 dimensional model of the object in virtual space. It’s exceptionally useful for documenting carved details because it gives you the ability to look at it from any angle and to have it always be accurate.

My regular drafting is on the printed paper next to me. My 3-d model is on the screen in front of me.

My regular drafting is on the printed paper next to me. My 3-d model is on the screen in front of me.

The second major skill I’ve been learning is 3 dimensional drafting on the computer. Using the same software that I’ve used to do all my other drafting, I was shown by a very patient architect in the office how to take my flat drawings and make them into a virtual model. The staircase I’ve been documenting was built by very talented riveters in the 1920’s and they were so ingenious with their solutions to assembling the structure. In order to show future generations just how they solved the trickiest problems, I will be creating an exploded axonometric drawing. If you’ve ever assembled furniture that relies on images to show where everything goes, you’ve seen one of these drawings. By creating a model in 3-d on the computer, I can then set it to the correct angle, move all of the elements apart, and draw them so that they are properly scaled and angled to each other. In the end, someone should be able to cut apart my “pieces”, put them together, and get the same assembly that currently exists on site. This type of drafting is equal parts fun and intimidating, and it certainly takes a lot of time, but I am very glad to have learned some basics since I think it will be helpful in my future career! Even if these were the only two things I’d accomplished this summer, I would be thrilled…but I’m happy to say that I’ve done and learned so much more!

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