SLA Lets Kids See Like a Bug

Sept. 24, 2009
Rapid prototyping (RP) helps in developing a large replica of dragonfly eyes for an Insectarium, an interactive outdoor exhibit about insects.

Axis Prototypes,


The Montreal Insectarium,

Where does a person go for an oversized but realistic model of insect eyes? Montreal arts design company Prisme 3 went with rapid prototyping (RP) to develop a large replica of dragonfly eyes for the city’s new Insectarium, an interactive outdoor exhibit about insects.

“For the exhibit, we wanted to build an instructive game that lets kids see the world through a bug’s eyes. We developed a CAD model of dragonfly eyes and then made it much larger than life,” says a Prisme 3 designer. “Axis Prototypes in Quebec then built the eyes in a transparent stereolithographic (SLA) resin.” Exhibit personnel decided the originally clear eyes needed a green tint for a truer representation.

“It took several design iterations to get the best demonstration of bug vision,” says Axis Prototypes General Manager Robin Clifford. “With RP, we just needed to tweak the CAD model and reprint the revised design.”

Permanently mounted outdoors, the eyes withstand direct sunlight as well as harsh Canadian winters. “The installation demonstrates significant improvements made in SLA resins over the last few years,” says Clifford.

About the Author

Leslie Gordon

Leslie serves as Senior Editor - 5 years of service. M.S. Information Architecture and Knowledge Management, Kent State University. BA English, Cleveland State University.

Work Experience: Automation Operator, TRW Inc.; Associate Editor, American Machinist. Primary editor for CAD/CAM technology.

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