3D | Project 1 : Pandora’s Box [Final]

This post marks the end of the first foundation 3D project – Pandora’s Box.

This post will be written in the following sequence:

Point 1 Brief Overview of the Project
Point 2 Thought Process of the Given Word
Point 3 Experimental Process
Point 4 Finalised 2D Sketch Model
Point 5 Process of Making the Final Model
Point 6 Final Model


For this particular project, we are to create a 3D sketch model that composites of rectilinear volumes.

Definition of Rectilinear: Moving in, consisting of, bounded by, or characterised by a straight line or lines.

Essentially, we are to organise 3 rectilinear volumes, establish the dominant, sub-dominant & subordinate relationship among them and create a composition that exhibits the word given to us.

However, we are to identify the principal axis of each rectilinear volume and keep the principal axis of the volumes perpendicular (90 degrees) to each other.

For a better understanding of the terminologies involved, you can check it at my previous post: https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/engj0007/3d-2d-sketch-analysis-of-interesting-object/#more-111 

                       ' Z I N G '

I momentarily blanked out the moment I opened the slip of paper that I reached out from the pandora box. I have never heard the word zing before and it got me really panicky as I had to create a composition with the word. In an instant, I whipped out my phone and googled the definition of it.


The only thought that came to my mind was ‘Crap’. I honestly had no idea how I was going to come up with a composition that exhibits zing.  Using the boxes that Cheryl instructed us to bring, I started organising them to the word while keeping in mind to establish the dominant, sub-dominant and subordinate relationship among them. Photos of the experimental process will be shown in the following point.

After several fruitless try, I went on to consult Cheryl on how I could improve on my composition. She told me that Zing also means magic and went on to provide me with various ideas on how I could go about organising the boxes to exhibit the word magic. One of it was to have either my sub-dominant or subordinate seem like it’s floating or levitating. Having settled on that direction, I decided to create a mind-map to consolidate my thought-process.

                  EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS

Using the boxes, I wanted to portray the initial definition of Zing that I googled. As the definition states, Zing meant liveliness and enthusiasm, hence I had the sub-dominant and subordinate extend outwards to two different directions. I was also toying with the idea of using colours to further create liveliness in the composition.

Nevertheless, this was one of the more satisfactory composition before I actually came up with the final model idea.


After all that conceptualising, I finally came up with my 2D sketch model. In the below, are 3 different views of the 2D sketch model.

                    2D SKETCH MODEL

There are essentially 6 views to the model – (1) Front & Back, (2) Left & Right Side and (3) Top & Bottom view. However since the model is symmetrical, there are only 3 views to it.

The 2D sketch model is pretty clear-cut and simple. The model itself is made up of a black structured border that is the dominant. In the middle of the model is a clear acrylic piece that is the sub-dominant and pierced through it, is a silver foam piece that is the subordinate.

In the below, is the 3D sketch of the model.

                3D SKETCH OF THE MODEL

Key points to note:

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is being applied to the sub-dominant and subordinate relationship. This is where the silver foam piece (subordinate) is being pierced at 1/3 height of the clear acrylic piece (sub-dominant).

Wedging Technique  

The wedging technique is being applied to the sub-dominant and dominant relationship. This is where the clear acrylic piece (sub-dominant) is wedged into the top and bottom of black structure foam (dominant) so that it’ll be able to stay in place.

Piercing Technique   

The piercing technique is being applied to the dominant. This is where the individual foam pieces (dominant) are pierced through a skewer stick to keep the structure together.

With the sketch model of the final model settled, I went ahead to estimate the rough measurements for the actual model.


It took me a total of 10 hours with a whole lot of wrong calculations, measurements, wastage of materials and several cans of coffee to complete the final model.

Dominant – Broad structure made of foam

Sub-dominant – Clear acrylic piece

Subordinate – Small piece pierced through the acrylic

First, I went to mark the various measurements on the foam in accordance to the sketch. Once done, I went ahead to cut the foam using the foam cutter in the 3D studio. Sadly, my technical skills failed me as I did not manage to cut the foam to the measurements as marked. Nevertheless, I did some re-adjustments and successfully cut out the foams to the new measurements.


Then, I went ahead to fix the foam pieces together to form the broad structure (dominant). To fix the pieces together, I used a skewer stick and stuck it through the two pieces. I repeated the same step for the other pieces till the broad structure is completed.

Moving on, I measure the height of the broad structure and went ahead to cut the clear acrylic piece (sub-dominant) to the same measurement. Using the piercing technique, I pierced the small foam piece (subordinate) through the clear acrylic. Using the wedging technique, I had the clear acrylic piece wedge through the top and bottom of the broad structure. With that, the rough structure of the model is completed.

                 CUTTING THE METAL WIRE

Thereafter, I went ahead to cut the metal wire according to the height of the structure, with an additional 3 cm of length factored in for the piercing to take place. Once done, I started coating the entire structure (dominant) with black coloured paper and the small foam piece (subordinate) with silver coloured paper. That took the most amount of time.

                  PIERCING THE METAL WIRE

With the structure all coated in black, I began piercing the metal wire to the top and bottom of the structure. I repeated this step till the four sides were pierced with the metal wirings. With that, concludes the entire making of the model.

                       FINAL MODEL

The final model turned out to be slightly different from what I expected. This was due to the fact that I failed to take into consideration of the choice of materials.

As seen, the metal wire pieces aren’t as straight as I would like it to be. This was because the metal wires are sold in a coil and there wasn’t a way for me to straighten it. Nevertheless, the metal wire did served it’s purpose as a distraction to create the illusion that the silver piece (sub-dominant) is levitating when in actual fact, it is being supported by a clear acrylic piece (subordinate) that blends in with the metal wire pieces.


Macro-application: Bird Cage

                  IMAGE FROM GOOGLE

The macro-application of my model would be a bird cage. This is mainly due to the rectangular structure and the metal wire that’s pierced into the structure.

Micro-application: Earrings Holder

                    IMAGE FROM GOOGLE

The micro-application of my model would be an earrings holder. If you tilt the model sideways, the metal wire would form a horizontal support for the earrings.

That’s about it for my final model!

Thank you!

2 Replies to “3D | Project 1 : Pandora’s Box [Final]”

  1. What are two possible large & small applications for your model Jia Yi?

    I liked the optical illusion that the vertical wires gave to make the SD invisible to the eye but thought that the thick black frames could have been reduced to just a thin & obscure wire frame, thus having the same material language as the vertical wires…

    1. Hi Cheryl, I just added in the possible macro and micro application for my model! Thank you for your feedback. I will try to make the adjustments and post it when completed! 🙂

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