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Thursday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
(Textiles) Making Ethafoam Mannequins using a CNC router

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After 35 years of building mannequins by hand using a stacked disc or cross sectional slab method, Gail Niinimaa, Niinimaa Enterprises Inc. had the opportunity in 2016 to build 20 mannequins for the new National Music Centre in Calgary, AB, within an 8 week time frame. Collaboration between Nils Sundstrom, Solid Woodwork Ltd, a Calgary company that had both the CNC router and the computer expertise, resulted in a very successful project. Measurements taken from the actual costumes were used to create the correct body type and size for each costume going on display. Nils interpreted the 2D measurements and created the 3D files that were needed and transferred them back to the CNC cutting process. The CNC router was used to cut the 2” planks of ethafoam 220 into 5 sections per mannequin. These sections were hot glued together with 3M low melt hot glue to create the 3D forms. Gail finished the mannequins by completing the final fitting, cutting the ethafoam by hand where necessary, covering with fabric and adding arms and legs when needed. The use of this technology enabled the project to be completed quickly and provided a better starting point for building a safe mannequin compared to traditional mannequin making methods. Overall there was less handling of the costumes and a better fit was achieved with much less time and effort. A variety of finishing methods were completed on the mannequins including padding with fiberfill batting, covering with jersey knit and several different solutions were used for the arms and legs including fossshape, ethafoam and soft sculpture. The collaboration between a Textile Conservator and an Industrial Designer helped this idea of making mannequins with the CNC router become a reality. The opportunity to work with an upcoming exhibition allowed us to develop a range of body types that would work for this project. The paper will share the details of the project and the process of using the CNC router for mannequin construction.

avatar for Gail Niinimaa

Gail Niinimaa

President/CEO, Niinimaa Enterprises Inc.
Gail Niinimaa has worked on textile conservation and collection management projects both in museums and private practice over the last 35 years. After graduating from the University of Alberta, she trained at the National Museum of Denmark, the Textile Conservation Centre at Hampton... Read More →

avatar for Nils Sundstrom

Nils Sundstrom

Technical Director, Solid Woodwork Ltd.
Nils Sundstrom has a BSc. in Computer Science and has been the main CNC operator/programmer/drafter at Solid woodwork since 1995. From custom code thru 2D and now 3D, Nils has been at the forefront of the latest emerging processes and technologies in computer aided manufacturing... Read More →

Thursday June 1, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Crystal Ballroom C Lobby Level, West Tower