Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Low or High Tech?

For the next show at Circle Theatre, Soccer Moms, we need to cut out a bunch of over-sized leaves.

Expecting our usual bunch-o'-guys-cutting-foam method, I prepared drawings of free-hand leaves that fit within standard 4' x 8' sheets of thin building insulation foam or 2'x4' sound insulation ceiling tiles.  (Sound may be an issue on this show.)  These sketches would be copied onto clear sheets, blown up using the overhead projector (most shops have one), then cut out by hand.  To aid all this, my drawings showed how the leaves fit on each sheet - nesting together not to waste material - and I included a 1' x 1' grid for reference, just in case a projector wasn't available and the leaves had to be enlarged by hand.  Very old school that -Michelangelo used the grid method to enlarge his sketches for his murals.

Then the Tech. Director had a bright idea: lasers!  Laser-cut foam can be very cheap and fast, because it uses little manpower.

But the foam cuttin' place can't use hand drawings because line weights are too fat to guide the thin precision of a laser.

After experimenting with scanning, photo image programs and Sketchup, it became clear that only true computer drafting would work.  So we found an AutoCAD wiz to draw them with a very fine line of .0004.

So now a zippy high-tech laser is doing a job that at many other theaters would be days of hand labor.

I wonder if Michelangelo would be miffed when told his hand drawing was useless?

The Creation of Adam (with God + Laser) by Michelangelo, hand drawn BTW 

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