Sean Charlesworth is a digital designer from New York, and no doubt, 20,000 leagues beyond his colleagues. His OPUS V is a 3D printed, sea-punk submersible, his final project for his Masters at NYU. Complete with LED lights, moving parts and flexible tentacles. Bar none, it is the most impressive 3D prints we’ve ever seen here on SolidSmack. Thus, I contacted Sean and asked him a few questions about the OPUS V… and when a full-scale one was coming (probably not).

Jules Verne would be Proud

The inspiration is fairly obvious.

At the time I was planning  a digital underwater scene for a lighting exercise and wanted to include some objects.  I’m a hard-surface modeler and didn’t feel comfortable tackling creatures so decided to make some kind of craft but didn’t want a typical submarine, etc.  I’m a big fan of the Nautilus sub from Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” because it had an animal-like look while remaining really mechanical.  Using that as a springboard I came up with the Octopod and tried to design it to be as practical as possible while being fantastical. The underwater scene never did materialize but I ended up using the idea for my thesis.

The biggest challenge isn’t just the CAD legwork – it’s the CAD tentacle-work.

Overall the biggest challenge was designing everything to fit together and work mechanically.  Since my background is in modeling for the entertainment industry I was using Cinema 4D and Maya which are probably not the best choice when designing something so mechanical. I knew CAD would probably be a better choice but wanted to stick with what I know and also didn’t have the time to learn something new. This made things more challenging but was a valid workflow since so many different industries are using 3D printing now.

Out of all the mechanical  bits to work out, the tentacles were by far the hardest and required the most test prints.  I knew the tentacles had to really come alive or the model would be a flop.  I rejected traditional joints for various reasons and ended up printing a flexible core with tango material and fusing vero knuckles to it for detail.  I modeled a small shaft down the center and inserted brass armature wires afterward so the tentacles could be posed dramatically. It took about four versions to get it right.

Those Objet printers are amazing. Do away with traditional joints and go with a rubber core printed within the piece? Redunkulous.

Source: Sean Charlesworth