Wysiwyg 3D scanned Parkinson’s Disease sufferer Bernie McGrath and 3D-printed him as a miniature wobbly dashboard doll, as part of a project to raise awareness of the illness.

It’s Not Funny (INF) is a collection of people with Parkinson’s disease celebrating the positive aspects rather than dwelling on the negatives. The INF team thought it would be a great idea to make a dashboard wobbly doll, as a good representation of a positive attitude to living with the condition.

“We wanted to create a wobbly doll, Australian-made and with a genuine look to it, somehow linking it back to real people and Parkinson’s,” says John Peplow of INF. “I investigated getting a doll made but soon realised this was a mammoth exercise. I soon realised that getting a 3D scan and a 3D print was not that easy. Not because of the technique, but because I was confronted with a maze of unsuccessful attempts until I found someone who knew what they were talking about.”

That someone was Shane Rolton, Managing Director from Wysiwyg 3D, who listened to the idea with interest, in part because his grandfather had Parkinson’s. Rolton saw an opportunity to use Wysiwyg’s expertise to contribute to a good cause.

The whole process was completed at Wysiwyg’s offices in Peakhurst, in southern Sydney. It only took around ten minutes to scan Bernie with an Artec portable 3D scanner, with the data aligned with Artec software. Post-processing was undertaken using Geomagic Software, before the model was printed on a 3D Systems Projet 4500 printer.

“It was fascinating to see how quickly the 3D model appeared on the computer screen,” says Peplow. “And Bernie had fun looking at his digital ‘mini-me’.”

Using 3D printing allowed Wysiwyg to print various smaller versions, which were subsequently modified with a little spring so that the figure would wobble when moved. Using the Projet 4500 printer meant Wysiwyg could ensure parts were strong enough to be attached to a car dash, yet light enough to achieve the right wobble . It could also be printed in full colour.

“The thing that’s special for us is its realism,” says Peplow. “This was very important for our project because INF is about real people with a larger-than-life challenge, coping with Parkinson’s.”

Parkinson’s is recognised as one of the worst degenerative illnesses, but it is not considered a national health priority. By raising funds through the sale of the Bernie Dashboard Doll and an accompanying book, INF hopes to raise public consciousness about the disease in a light-hearted way.