Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Rapid Prototyping comes to life

You may be familiar with the zoetrope used in the Spring Valley campaign using junk that comes together at night, or the soccer inspired zoetrope used by Sony Bravia featuring FIFA world player of the year Kaka - So what is a zoetrope?

It is a 19th century device used to create short films from a series of static images or sculptures. Essentially, it is a living wheel. The wheel spins in a circle and the result is a moving picture.

RapidPro recently worked with Megafun and Krome Studios to build the characters for their TY the Tasmanian TigerTM zoetrope.

From Concept to Model

3D CAD drawings of each of the characters were supplied to RapidPro; however, it was not as simple as just building the models. Several prototyping materials were tested to see which material would suit the sculptures requirements for colour and strength.

After several trials, plaster was selected and instead of printing each character in monocolour, they were printed in full technicolour. Some design modifications of each character were necessary for strength and durability, as well as colour modifications to ensure vibrancy.

RapidPro worked with John Aitchison from Krome Studios to ensure that the zoetrope was as colourful and exciting as their preliminary sketches.

Traditional methods for infiltrating and strengthening plaster prototypes were not acceptable due to the intricacy of the characters, so RapidPro devised a new method to ensure the parts were strong and the finish flawless.


The TY zoetrope contains seven different characters from the video game of the same name. Each of these characters has from 17 to 32 slight variations to simulate movement once fixed into position on the moving zoetrope. The individual characters vary marginally as they move around the wheel, and once the wheel is set in motion, the effect is illuminating.

Rapid prototypes can be used as models to show a product or part, they can be used for testing (form, fit, function), and they can be used also be used as a functioning part or prototype, just like the characters on the zoetrope.

For more information contact Rapidpro on 1300 559 454.