Dan Baines

Fairy Rings and Monstrous Things

Filtering by Tag: Dolls

She's Alive!!!

Here's the long awaited Dolly Darko update you've all been waiting for. I know that I said that this would be Dolly Darko MkII week, however I totally forgot about the bank holiday and that we had family visiting. This means my usual studio time has been spent entertaining the troops, although even given the limited time I have made great leaps forward in the design process.

Dolly's new cracked ceramic finish still retains the nasty pallor of the original but gives it a new look that I think is an improvement. The previous painting method could not be used as it would melt the 3D printed doll parts, this method also produced inconsistent finishes. Once painted there's no way of telling she's a 3D printed model, in fact she feels a cross between delicate porcelain and traditional paper mache.  The original Dolly weighed a ton, this new one is a fifth of the weight. In true Wurzel Gummidge fashion the heads are also swappable allowing users to tailor performances and it also gives me the opportunity to exploit a marketing opening and produce a collection of heads!

Without giving too much away technically the chips I use inside Dolly can be programmed very easily, by simply plugging in a USB cable you can define -

  • The angle the head turns

  • The delay from pressing the button to the head turning.

  • The time it waits looking left or right before returning to centre

  • The speed in which her head turns and much more

I'm also working on making her arms raise as is she is begging to be picked up. Space inside the doll is limited but theoretically the triggers that make dolly move can be either manual, remote control or by sensor .i.e movement or light. The programmable chips also mean that future updates, new features and custom performance programs can be installed by the user with ease.

The floating version of Dolly Darko will be a separate product. The prototype at this stage can lift her head, stand, walk and then float seemingly unassisted. Some clients have contacted me worried that this turns bizarre performance into some form of strange puppetry. I have reassured them that the story that accompanies Dolly Darko MkII gives a certain validity and reason for the 'puppet show' whilst still maintaining a visually disturbing yet entertaining performance.

Those attending Doomsday VII in Whitby in two weeks will hopefully be able to see Dolly Darko MkII on display. You never know, she may even look at you and wave...

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Guys & Dolls Part 3 - Head like a Hole

After some tinkering in MeshMixer the first Dolly Darko head 3D print was faultless. As the print is completely hollow the print time was less than an hour which opens the possibility of printing a full doll in a single day.

The print is also extremely light with the fully painted head weighing in at only 24 grams which means a complete doll should weigh around 200 grams fully clothed. For people worried about the weight and feel of the doll, you'd be surprised it was made of plastic as the material once painted feels more like traditional paper mache. In no way does it feel or look like it was made using cutting edge technology.

The paint finish on the head is slightly over the top but I wanted to see how battered and nasty I could make her. A more toned down, cared for antique look will also be available to the more faint hearted.

The printer is currently churning out the torso so a full doll might feature in next weeks blog.

Guys & Dolls Part 2 – Dolly Darko goes digital

Dolly Darko has come a long way since I discovered her dusty body in a Parisian antique shop over a decade ago.  She's been entombed in silicone and cracked and dropped so many times the original bisque doll is a sorry sight. The moulds used to create the forty or so Dolly Darko dolls are also on their last legs and have begun to fall apart.

In an attempt to immortalise Dolly in the digital realm I have started the task of 3D scanning all of the parts. Not only will this allow me to reproduce Dolly once again without the need of casting and moulding equipment but I will also be able to digitally restore any damage thus making her perfect once again. At some point in the past her right thigh was totally destroyed however, through 3D scanning I've been able to scan the left thigh and mirror it via the software editor to make a brand new right thigh.

Once all of the components are scanned and saved I can print Dolly in any size and colour but more importantly, I can print her with a hollow torso and head. This gives me the opportunity to install servos and other gadgetry that will make Dolly even scarier than her resin counterpart. It will also make her 80% lighter than the original which introduces the possibility of puppetry. A doll version of Losander's floating table anyone? By implementing this amazing new technology it is all possible, although the journey to get this far has been one hell of a steep learning curve!

As well as capturing Dolly Darko digitally I have also started to capture all of my other existing antique doll and vent doll heads for future projects. Even if one should become lost or damaged I'm only a few hours of printing away from a new one. It's a facility that will become invaluable in the studio and I'll never have to endure my collectibles to the rigours of silicone and latex ever again. As strange as it sounds, the ability to scan and reproduce any object leaves you with an almost god like feeling!

Next time I will compare a few test prints with the original parts of Dolly Darko in terms of detail and weight. It finally looks like Dolly Darko MkII could be a chilling reality, only this time she'll be much scarier than before...


© Dan Baines 2016