Grant Diffendaffer

Design. Make. Educate.

I had an excellent reception at Maker Faire with Steadcraft last year and I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be returning once again this year! Mark your calendar and come on down to the Maker Faire May 20th-22nd.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m still plan crowdfunding to enable me to enter low level production with the new jewelry line and distribute it more widely. Stay tuned for more information on how you can be one of the first to wear my vintage inspired digitally designed jewelry and accessories.

For the time being, enjoy this gallery of photos of my new earrings.

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Sometimes there is no substitute for hands. Ask potter Tortus Copenhagen, who’s “Making Gestures” photo series defines handmade.


says Tortus:

“We believe that value begins with the mastery of making. Throwing vessels on the wheel requires the use of a number of carefully controlled ‘gestures´, each suited to shape and guide the clay in a different manner as it spins on the wheel. Each has is own distinct shape, function, or even design one could say. These gestures, nearly artworks in themselves are perfected to sense and lure the best out of material. Sturdy yet delicate hands, shaped by time and clay, apply the careful yet impulsive pressures that give each piece its own unique character. These are just a few of the gestures we use every day.”

I first started working with clay in the early 90’s, under the tutelage of Ken Stevens and Reid Ozaki at the University of Puget Sound. I quickly shifted my focus to working with The New Clay, which offered exciting opportunities to work with multiple traditional craft techniques with one simple material and virtually no tools. Thus I launched a career of handcraft, using for many years just my hands, a mayonnaise jar, a tissue blade, and a convection oven.  My tools and techniques have become much more complex over the years. Now I work with virtual clay. I 3D print. I use metal clay.

Seeing these photos, I can feel the spinning lump of wet earthen clay,

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I can’t get over these incredible lifelike sculptures made by combining traditional sculpture techniques with digital modeling and prototyping. Artist Rey Hernandez has published a fascinating expose on his techniques. Peek inside Scientific Art Studio and see how they created the Animal Learning Plaza for the San Francisco Zoo. Envisioned as tactile exhibits, photos give scant clues that the sculptures are not living and breathing.

It may be that not every home needs a 3D printer, but Rey aptly demonstrates the advantages conferred to artists by digital design. After designing in Zbrush, the models are either 3D printed, or cut from foam on CNC machinery, then cast in bronze, concrete, or resin. Note the intermediary clay model:

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In keeping with the dinosaur theme in yesterday’s post, I thought I’d follow up with this look at how the world’s favorite digital sculpting software is used by the masters. I.L.M was founded by George Lucas in 1975 and continues to be at the forefront of motion picture visual effects.


This interview with Digital Creature Model Supervisor for Jurassic World, Geoff Campbell, explains the I.L.M. digital modeling workflow. The base model for the famous T-Rex was 3D scanned from the physical maquette used in the original Jurassic Park movie and sculpted in ZBrush. This is the sort of hybrid workflow that I especially enjoy.

How about you? Do you move back and forth between digital and physical when you are designing? What sort of digital tools do you use?  Let us know in the comment section!


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Further evidencing that 3D printing can play a part in a manual craft process rather than simply replacing it, Adam Beane Industries has announced a forthcoming sculptable 3D printing filament.

The material hardens at room temperature but becomes sculptable at 125 degrees F. Check out the video of Adam sculpting a printed dinosaur using hot tools. That low set temperature means that malleability could be restored using a warm oven, hot water, or a hot air blower. Also available in raw block form, Cx5 and Cx5s are premium sculpting materials designed to be used in place of sculpting clays, finish waxes, and prototyping plastics.

This is the type of tool that enables an easy creative flow in and out of the digital world. Perhaps you started out creating your model in a simple iPad app like 123D Creature and then print the sculpture so that you can give it a handmade touch. Or maybe you started with a small lump of clay or toy model and brought it into the digital realm via 3D scanning or by photogrammetry software like Autodesk Memento. Adding a digital step allows the artist to add photo-realistic detail, to scale and work effortlessly at different levels of zoom, and to benefit from the priceless technology of undo. 3D printing can bring re-scaled and detailed iterations back into the physical world again–either towards the end of final fabrication or simply to add a tangible step to improving a digital model.

via Fabbaloo

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Are you enjoying Autodesk Memento? Now is your chance to give some feedback to the development team via the Stanford Creative Ignition Lab.

We would be grateful if you would Take the Survey.

What might you do with Memento? I modeled these giant freighters automatically from just 150 photos:

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This video was created automatically by Memento by setting “Key Frame” views for the camera to fly though (an option presenting opportunity to filmakers and animators). Video can be exported at ultra high resolution (up to 4K).

The original model was a carved wooden horse. I used the photogrammetry option in Memento, to make an automatic 3D digital recreation from a collection of photos. Once the model has been generated, the user can export video or still images, directly 3D print, or send the model to digital sculpting software or CAD.

Here are a few examples of the various views available to you for Memento 3D models. Note the shift between Textured (layered with photo detail), Wireframe (displaying polygonal surface geometry), and Solid (white with shadows).

Have you tried Memento yet? It’s free, and the Stanford Creative Ignition Lab is asking for your feedback.




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I’ve been having a great time viewing and downloading models of the ancient artifacts that have been  3D scanned and posted at Smithsonian 3D and African Fossils.  I can’t wait to print this lion skull.  Great stuff to mash-up into my own 3D designs.  Reality computing and 3D viewing is coming to an internet near you!  What do you plan to do with digital 3D? Did you know that you can make your own 3D models from photos?  Check out Memento and let me know what you think!

by anvesoft
on Sketchfab


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