The 3D printed armour in action.
When costume designer Wojciech Dziedzic, at the Royal Theatre of Madrid went in search of a new way to freshen up a classical stage production, they enlisted Tomasz Dabert, a communication design student at the School of Form in Poznań, Poland.
Working on 3D models for architecture projects, product designs and animation work Tomasz’s 3D models caught the attention of fashion and costume designer Wojciech Dziedzic, who envisioned one of his costumes for the Teatro Real de Madrid to be 3D printed.
Making his 3D printing debut, Tomasz was tasked with creating a 3D model and 3D printing an armour for Wolfgang Rihm’s “The Conquest of Mexico”, an opera about the relationship between Native Americans and the Spanish Conquistadors.
Taking inspiration from three key sources, Tomasz got to work inspecting the original armours of the Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonisation of the Americas. He primarily focused on the main character of the opera, Hernán Cortés (1485–1547). Cortés led the expedition that brought large portions of mainland Mexico under Spanish rule and caused the fall of the Aztec Empire.
Fast forward a few centuries and Tomasz studied the famous bespoke 3D printed dresses from artist Iris van Herpen to discover what was possible with 3D printed garments. The final source was an architectural installation by Sou Fujimoto: a minimalist semi-transparent pavilion constructed out of fine steel bars.
The main idea behind Tomasz’s design was to create armour in which the silhouette remained a historical XV century cuirass, but was actually built out of modern pixel-like cubes. Yet one of the biggest challenges was making sure the design had fluidity to allow Austrian actor Georg Nigl to move freely. Tomasz explained: “The most challenging constraint on my project was working on exact measurements of the actor. The 3D printed armour had to be designed in a way that it would not hinder the wearer’s movement, similarly to real life – [it had to be] well-fitted and personalized armour.”
Tomasz began with hand-drawn sketches, which he then scanned and used as a reference to create a 3D model of the armour with the modelling software Rhino.
Once the model was complete Tomasz uploaded the file to i.materialise and ordered his 3D print in rubber-like material. Tomasz said: “In the beginning, I wanted the armour to be printed in polyamide but the i.materialise team suggested rubber-like material, which, in the end, proved to be great as the actor was able to move and sing much freer.“
Since his first dip into the world of 3D printing, Tomasz’s has completed a 3D model of a floating house designed by Pawel Dabrowski and he exercising his 3D printing skills once more on a board game project that uses 3D printed parts.
From sketch to 3D design in Rhino.