3D-Printing adventures

The hanger in all its glory, easily taking on the load of my wireless headset. The colors match too!

Our task for the past 2 weeks was 3D Printing! Here’s my design process from start to finish:

Week 1 was our time to experiment with 3D software and design some ideas for week two. To do so, we made a castle and an alien in TinkerCAD and Meshmixer, respectively:


My historical recreation of some castle I just made up. It’s got a die on top, perhaps it was home to a king with gambling problems.
The model for the alien, pre-meshmixer.
The new alien, modified with meshmixer’s tools and resulting in… something I don’t want to come back and haunt me in my dreams.


With our initial practice complete, I drew up some ideas for my project:

A concept for modifying Abraham lincoln into someone like me, a modern college student at UofI. My family tree has been rooted in the midwest for a long time, so I don’t feel that I have much of a culture outside of the US that I can relate to. As a result, I used Abraham Lincoln as a cultural icon, more specifically the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The statue was built to symbolize Lincoln’s strength and determination, as well as his warmth and compassion. For the sake of the sketch I transposed aspects of my own life onto the statue, notably glasses, earbuds, and a smartphone. Perhaps I could argue that being a CS major at Illinois takes a lot of hard work and mental strength, but I’d still consider myself to be a compassionate person as well. Comparing myself to Abraham Lincoln feels a bit strange though, so I decided not to pursue this concept further. 
My concept for utensils that hold a compartment for anything you’d like, such as toothpicks, Lactaid pills, or the secret plans to destroy the Death Star. The compartment is held closed using a screw cap. These utensils would be very useful for people such as my girlfriend who often forget to take lactaid pills to work with them. Now they’re included with the utensil! This is also useful for a variety of other objects that you may want to hide away in your utensils. I initially had the concept of a compartment designed specifically for toothpicks, but then I realized I could just make more space inside the utensil and allow for more objects to be stored away. 
A sketch of a 3D model based on Andy Warhol’s art, with a Campbell’s soup can be modified to include an etching of Marilyn Monroe. I’d model this by scanning an actual campbell’s soup can. Andy Worhol’s art was well-known for it’s critique on mass production, and making a 3D-print of a modified version of his art is a modern twist on his artistic efforts. I chose monroe and the soup can to be the particular works of art used for the model because they are two of the most well-known works of art made by Worhol.
Two sketches for devices that I could make use of at home: a hanger for my headset and a dishwasher sign. I wanted a headset handger because I used to have one back in the Chicago suburbs, but my current apartment doesn’t have any sort of hook and I don’t want to drill into the walls! I made a special hanger that goes off on a 45 degree angle so that the headset wouldn’t head directly in front of my computer monitor when I didn’t have it on. I felt that this model was a bit too simplistic, so I also made a dishwasher sign for my apartment. My roommates and I have tried using postits in the past to denote if the dishwasher was clean or dirty, but it became a bit of a hassle. My design was inspired by dishwasher signs I found online, but I made my own unique twist by putting little indentations on the sides of the sign to give a better grip. The tinkercad links are provided in the captions for the screenshots of the models later in the blog post.





Of these 4, I found the utensils and my utilitarian ideas to be the most interesting, so I modeled and presented those. 


Onto Week 2! 

In class, we created 3D Models of ourselves! I elected to try a pondering pose for the second model attempt, and I think it turned out quite well. 

For my final project, I decided model both of my practical designs! I felt that I could handle that since the models themselves weren’t too complex, and I’d stand a better chance of success in case one of the models failed while printing. 

My refined model for the dishwasher sign included a triangle-shaped cavity to give users a better grip. This became a little tricky when creating the scaffolding for printing, as we’ll see later on in this post. 

My model for the headset hanger had a 45-degree turn to it, which brought some structural integrity challenges. In addition, 45-degree angles became surprisingly difficult to work with in TinkerCAD. Luckily, I came out on top with a viable model, and I talked with Niel at the Fab Lab to ensure that I had the right print settings to make a strong piece. 

I’ll demonstrate the process for each model separately, starting with the Hanger: 

The final model for my headset hanger (link available here)
The model for the hanger just before printing, with a large support structure to ensure the print goes well.
The 3D Print for the headset hanger, coming along well.
The hanger, fresh out of the 3D printer.





Another view of the hanger’s scaffolding structure.
The refined hanger, stripped of scaffolding and sanded down on some rough bits.

The hanger in all its glory, easily taking on the load of my wireless headset. The colors match too!


Now let’s move onto the dishwasher:

The revised design, with handles and a cleaner text font. (link available here)
The sign ready for printing, including mini-scaffolds inside of the cavity on either side of the model.



The print for the dishwasher sign seems to be going well!
The dishwasher sign, which printed without any spaghetti disasters!
A head-on view of the scaffolding in the sign.



The cavity on the sign, (mostly) cleared of the original scaffolding through the use of pliers and elbow grease.
The nameplate magnets from assignment 1 were adapted for the purpose of my dishwasher. these things are crazy strong!
The Completed sign, resting securely on our dishwasher. Roomates approved!



This project was one of the reasons I signed up for makerspace, and I’m glad the project turned out so well.