Transforming Art: From 3D Sculptures to 3D Prints May 26, 2017

Pop My Mind has teamed up with a group Computer Game Design students from the University of Suffolk to produce 3D printed models of our artist’s works here on the platform. In this collaboration the students took were asked to create 3D printed models of works created by artist Martin Swan and Mary Jones. Aaron and Rob chose Martin’s Hate, Lee and George selected Martin’s piece Toy whilst Junior, Jay and Ryan modelled Mary’s Along the Way.

On the choice of their selection, Aaron commented that “we chose this model as we thought it looked very interesting and unique whilst giving us a challenge to work on with printing”. All three of the models presented a challenge to the students and in this article we will look at how the students took on the task to reproduce these works in 3D printed format.


Top Left: HateMartin Swan       Top Right: Along the Way – Mary Jones 

Bottom Image: ToyMartin Swan


The first stage for the students was to scan in the models that they would be recreating. Aaron and Rob decided that they would use a close range scanner as it would give them the more detail and precision, this is a key factor in Martin’s Hate as the model is intricate with close detail around the mouth and bullets. Lee and George’s scan was a bit trickier due to the shape and issues with scanning the knife at the end of the rifle. Because of this Lee and George decided that modelling their own knife would produce a cleaner and more accurate scan of the piece Toy.

Here are the students scanning Martin and Mary’s art!:

(These images are taken from the student’s blogs: Top and Bottom Right images: link here,   Top Left image: link here,    Bottom Left image: here)


Printing the models

The students used a 3D printing software called Cura when printing off their 3D models. The printing process can take quite a while; for Rob and Aaron their print took around 9 hours. With their first print Rob and Aaron were pleased with the initial results, saying that “the model came out very successful. Again, the bullets were a big concern before we started printing as we didn’t know how they would turn out”. However the second print Rob and Aaron did had a few complications, with the support structures that were connected to the back of the models head extremely difficult to remove meaning that they would have to reprint the model in a standing position to fix the issue.

(Left image: link here ,  Right image: link here)


Lee and George’s print had to be made using a mini printer, as a result the model that they produced was quite small in size. Lee said that “We might have to do a bigger reprint of the model to try and make it the original size if we have the time, but I like that the detail we had and put into the model has come out well even if it’s a tiny version”. Because of difficulties in scanning the blade at the end of the knife, Lee and George did extremely well in reconstructing Martin’s piece with such detail and accuracy.

(Bottom Left image: link here,  Right image: link here)


Junior, Jay and Ryan’s model came out extremely well and close to Mary’s original piece. Junior had mentioned that he, Jay and Ryan had “chose to scan the hand as it was easy to use and not very complicated to fix up any problem”. Junior, Jay and Ryan’s printed model has successfully captured the realistic and detailed look of Mary’s piece, see the finished product below!


The finished prints!

Pictured above are some photos we took of the students final prints compared to the original models! Rob and Aaron’s final print succeeded in removing the issues that they had previously encountered with their first and second prints. Also shown above is Lee and George’s print of Martin’s piece Toy and Junior, Jay and Ryan’s print of Mary’s work Along the Way. We think it’s fair to say the student did an exceptional job in reconstructing these great pieces!


The students managed to take on our vision and idea of Popping to create these fantastic prints, encouraging them to try something they had not had much experience on in the past and to also get inspired by the artists they were working off of. We thank them for taking on this task and completing it in such good fashion, to see more of their work you can find their blog pages below:

Rob and Aaron: Blog link here

Lee and George: Blog link here

Junior, Jay and Ryan: Blog link here


If you feel inspired by what the students have created, why not join Pop My Mind today? To sign up please follow the link here and allow your creative spirit to be inspired from what you see, hear and read on the platform.

Get Popping!


Written by Jack Bailey