3D Printed Jewelry Tree

For this project we were prompted to sketch out ideas for four different prompts: a new take on dishware, a cultural item with a personal flair, a 3D version of a work of art, and an original item that we need in everyday life. My sketches for these prompts included utensils and a cup for your enemy (looks like they work but they don’t), a fan that looks like piano keys, a 3D version of Hokusai’s Great Wave, and a jewelry tree.

Then for the two required 3D designs I chose to create the piano fan and the jewelry tree. I constructed both designs in Autodesk TinkerCAD, whose interface I found easier to work with than Autodesk Meshmixer or other programs. Additionally it’s online, so there’s no need to worry about transferring files when working on different machines. The fan surprisingly took quite a bit of time to make, but only because I didn’t realize you can move objects vertically until much later. Just the process of learning a new program I guess.

As you can tell, if I were to actually build this in real life I would need to make the individual slats much thinner, but for the sake of ease of working with them in the software I left them at that width. A small hole was bored through where all the slats connect to put them all together with a string tassel. 




After finishing this design, I then chose to create a jewelry tree for my final project; I’ve always needed somewhere to store my earrings instead of just throwing all of them into a metal box. I got to work breaking up my design into the circular base, the “trunk”/base, the branches, and the leaves. In the process of figuring out how to create the unique leaf shapes, I learned from other creators’ videos that you can use shapes as holes to refine/smooth out existing shapes, e.g. using an elliptical cylinder to clean up the leaf edge. Here’s the final design for all of the tree’s components. Looking back I’m really not sure why I printed all the leaves out separately instead of already connected to the branches, as this ended up being a little cumbersome to work with later, but overall I think this design was simple and elegant enough. 





I exported the design to an STL file and loaded it onto a Flash Forge. The whole set of components took an hour to print, and most of the parts turned out ok. However, about 40 minutes in, unfortunately the base trunk warped and popped straight off the platform, perhaps because the cylindrical shape was more susceptible to bending. I had to go back in TinkerCAD to create a rectangular prism base and print that, which took another 15 minutes.

Luckily the parts printed pretty cleanly and didn’t break as I was concerned for. Once I got everything I just needed to assemble it, which just took some good old super glue and patience. 




Here’s the final result:

The final product turned out a bit smaller than I had anticipated because I overestimated the size of the printing bed. I realized I should’ve put in two holes instead of one for the leaves (as earrings come in pairs.. forgot to consider that), and I would like to make a bigger base so I can put hold other jewelry inside it. Additionally I should’ve printed four branches instead of three, but I didn’t anticipate having to print a four-sided rectangular base. Overall though I’m pleasantly content with the result, and look forward to using this practically.