It all begins with a 3D scan. Harriet stands stock still while our engineer Thom runs his infra-red zapper over her face and body. Each dimension of Harriet's body is mapped as a point in a 3D space.
These 3D points are then stitched together into a 3D 'mesh', a process known as 'tessellation' for the word nerds among us. It's this tessellated mesh that creates the 'skin' of our 3D model. Think Minority Report meets Matrix... clever stuff, this.
The data is uploaded into milling software with a programmable robot, then digitally smoothed and sculpted to create slices which can be machined. Fiddly bits like toes, faces and fingers need a fine filament printer to get the right level of detail. Larger areas like the torso, legs and head are milled out of high density polyurethane foam, using an industrial looking robot.
It's all surprisingly labour intensive. We'd naively assumed the computer would do all the hard work but there's a steady process of programming and refining. And drinking coffee (he drinks a LOT of coffee). Harriet's face and hands alone take 18 hours to print, during which time Thom is constantly on the go.
Harriet's head is removed from its support and joined to her neck with the seams blended. Magnets are embedded into her joints and the process of hand sanding and spraying with a polyester hardcoat begins. Thom applies several fine layers which seep into the pores to create a hard, smooth finish. And, ultimately, an uncanny resemblance to the real Harriet.
Harriet's mannequin was scanned and printed by Thom Bridle, Studio Forty Three