After a long time of having Queens our country finally has a King again! (read up on the royals) Tomorrow we are celebrating the first Kingsday since 1890. For the occasion, we decided we were going to 3d-print our king and queen in the form of chess pieces. 

Photo Scanning in Madame Tussauds

We wanted to make it easy on ourselves, and because contacting the King and Queen personally seemed like a stretch, we decided to go into Madame Tussauds to scan our royals. Why go through the trouble of modelling if someone has already done it for you? 
123D Catch is by far the best solution for scanning objects (or people) without a scanner. Do you remember efforts like trimensional? Besides hacking a Kinect, affordable scanning hasn't been around that long.
There is still a downside to the method: you need to have a good lighting situation and a proper sequence of photographs around your model. Otherwise the software cannot "stitch" the photos together. You're also left to the mercy of their server for the processing rather then having standalone software. 
Unfortunately, because we had to be "sneaky" in order to not act too suspicious in front of the cameras, our photos were no good. We did however manage to get a good scan of Charlie Chaplin and Gorbatsjov. And actually, we thought that the wax sculpture in Madame Tussauds did not really resemble the King we know... 

Madame's sculpture.

Madame's sculpture.

Willem Alexander (Not Willem IV. Het belangrijkste is dat je authentiek blijf)

Willem Alexander (Not Willem IV. Het belangrijkste is dat je authentiek blijf)


So we turned to another tool in order to get the job done. Sculptris is the free version of ZBrush and lets you create 3d models on the computer in the same way that you would with clay. We hadn't used the tool before but it was our last resort. Youtube education goes a long way and thanks to Ryan Kittleson we got up to speed. The model is still not perfect, consider it's my first sculpt ever, but when printed out at the scale of a chess piece there were enough people that recognised the king. 

Pulling out the basic shapes.

Adding another object to create the hair piece.

The final steps were to combine the head with a crown and a chess piece. A Rotterdam design studio "Tweetonig" has created an instructable on how to put your head on a chess piece using 123D Catch. They were so good to also supply the chess models. On Thingiverse we found a cool looking crown that seemed printable for the scale we were aiming at. We used Rhino (for Mac) to put all the pieces together. We didn't create a completely merged mesh from the 3 different objects but instead decided to take a shortcut and use the Combine Everything Type B option in Cura's expert settings. This prevents the overlap of the meshes from forming holes in the printed model.
note: We did have to MeshBooleanUnion the hair and the head in Rhino to prevent holes.

What Next?

Well, obviously we don't have the queen yet so if anyone feels like going for it, let us know. Otherwise that might be a nice second sculpt for me.
Besides that we want to let everyone have a go at it so we uploaded all our files to Thingiverse.
We didn't have time to put a beard on him, so whoever has some time left, please do!
In the meantime we're printing out a bunch of them to sell on the market in Rotterdam tomorrow. The ones that are left we will donate to the Chess Piece museum in Rotterdam.

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