Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

3D Printing!

My 3D models were made with a range of software this week: TinkerCAD, Sculptris, AutoDesk Meshmixer, and 3D scanning.

Model 1 (did not print out): I first started tinkering on TinkerCAD using one of the prompts — unique dining utensils. Upon thinking about the prompt, I remembered one of my favorite Chinese parables called “A Trip to Heaven and Hell.” Chopsticks are extremely, extremely long in this story so I thought I would make really long chopsticks. If I wanted to 3D print these chopsticks, they wouldn’t have came out right, so I thought that it’d be cool to break them up and put screw parts and holes into the object. This was my first time working with TinkerCAD and for a really simple user interface, I thought it was a bit frustrating to work with because I couldn’t get things to snap or fit the way I wanted them to. It was a very slow going process. However, I eventually created a chopstick model that I initially imagined so I was very pleased about that.


Model2 (did not print): I don’t like Sculptris. The program felt like I was molding a block of clay except I think it is more difficult because I’m not using my hands but a computer mouse. Because Sculptris starts the user off with a ball, I thought I’d make a head. Initially, I thought I would try making some sort of a demon. But just like when I work with clay, as I kept molding the figure, I came up with different idea. In the end, my figure looked a bit like a cat-demon.



Model3 (PRINTED!): I printed out a dish to hold a small air plant. When I saw the prompt for something to go on a coffee table, I immediately thought of air plants. They’re by far my favorite type of plant. The thing about them is that they look even more amazing when they’re in a cool container/environment. I thought about how I might be able to make a “pro-earth” theme container. My biking helmet just so happened to be near me when I was brainstorming and I thought it would be great if I made a biking themed container. The initial plan was to make my helmet the main container (air plant would sit in it) via a 3D scan. Then I would tack on “bike things” onto the model as decoration. The first and second picture below shows my drawn concept and the helmet being set up for the scan.

I really didn’t know much about the limitations of 3D printing before these last two weeks. As you can see in my drawn concept model, I had a little bike on the helmet’s edge as extra decoration. However, as I learned more about available printers’ general inability to print small details (without taking forever), I thought it would be better that I left the tiny bicycle out. While I was in the lab, one of the fablab workers (Clinton!) noticed my chopstick model with the screws and asked me if I was going to 3D print that. Apparently, I made the right choice to not print the chopsticks because the fab lab’s 3D printing machines generally are not able to print screws well because of the detail from threads.

The third and fourth picture show the model cleaning in AutoDesk MixMesher and “tinkering” in process. In my opinion, the end product kind of looks a bit like a junk heap. I thought it looked a lot better in TinkerCAD. It might be because the model printed out so small. If I were to change anything I did, I think I would change some of the placements and size of the decorative details on the helmet and make the 3D print larger.