Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Illinois Informatics and School of Information Sciences
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

3D Print Assignment

For the 3d print scanning assignment, we used TinkerCAD to create an alien by playing around with the tools and features in the program and then transferring the file to MeshMixer where we played around with the tools and features there like the sculpting tool.

In the second lab, we used iSense scanners and the XBOX connect to scan objects and ourselves. Then, we took those files and played around with the scan on MeshMixer in order to become more familiar with the program and its capabilities like inspector, where we were able to identify and fill the holes that our scans picked up.

For the final assignment, I chose the prompt that aimed to create a 3d print of a famous painting. I chose René Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images” (1929) painting. It is a pretty straight-forward painting with a large pipe at the forefront and a cursive styled font with the French words: “ceci n’est pas une pipe” centered under the pipe, which translates to “this is not a pipe.” The oil on canvas emphasizes the gap between language and meaning. The painting itself is not a pipe, it is only a representation of a pipe. Magritte explained it best himself: “The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe’, I’d have been lying!”

First, I created a platform as the background of the painting on TinkerCAD and found a similar style font on the program. This was fairly easy. The next step was to get my hands on a pipe in order to scan the object for the assignment. I went out and bought a costume prop pipe at a costume store. It wasn’t exactly shaped as the pipe in the painting, but it closely resembled it. As long as you could tell it was a pipe, I was happy. 

The base.

Isn’t she cute?

After, I was able to scan the pipe with the iSense scanners. This was a bit difficult because the pipe could only lie down horizontally and the scan ended up picking up the entire stool. Luckily, I figured out how to quickly get rid of parts of the scan I didn’t need on MeshMixer. Then I ran into another issue. There were a few holes in my scan. The auto fill didn’t really suffice to keep the shape of the pipe so I mirrored the image. Although the base of the pipe looked great, the tail of the pipe completely disappeared. Luckily, I remembered the sculpt tool and was able to draw the tail.

An unsatisfying auto fill.

Mirroring the object.

The tail disappeared.

Then, came another problem. I the hole in the base of the pipe was pretty bad. I couldn’t find a tool in MeshMixer to hollow/refine the hole or a feature that might be able to invert a cylinder to create a hole. I asked a Fablab member for help and they suggested using the program Fusion 360. This was really difficult to navigate because I had no familiarity with the program and a lot of the tools and features used language that I was not familiar with. With the help of the Fablab members I was able to place a cylinder and create a hole through the shape at the center of the base of the pipe to make a really clean hole.

A pipe of many faces.

While on Fusion 360, I was trying to find a tool that could similarly sculpt in MeshMixer in order to clean up the edges of the cylinder, but couldn’t find anything so I switched back to MeshMixer to do so. Then I had to export the platform of the painting from TinkerCAD to Fusion 360 in order to combine the two objects because TinkerCAD was having issues importing STL and OBJ files. Finally, I was able to combine the finished pipe onto the platform on Fusion 360 and after five hours I had finished my assignment design!

The next day I came into the Fablab to print the design. The print job took nearly three hours and although the design isn’t as complex as I initially wanted it to be, I feel pretty accomplished and satisfied with how it came out. If I could improve the end product, I think I would want to create two separate prints, that of the platform and that of the pipe so that it could be removed from the platform! I really enjoy the process of 3D printing, it was a bit intimidating at first, but since I’ve gotten through it, I feel more comfortable with it.

The end result!

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