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

Assignment 4: 3D Printing

For this two-week project, we utilized TinkerCAD and Autodesk Meshmixer, as well as 3D scanning software, to build models we could then 3D print. The first week was dedicated to familiarizing ourselves with the different software, so I created a silly little alien model in TinkerCAD.

My alien model

For the second week of this project, we learned how to use 3D scanning software to scan random objects and people. We each took turns scanning ourselves, then using Autodesk Meshmixer I was able to convert the 3D scan of myself into a model that could be ready for printing. The conversion included features in the software such as auto-fixing holes and other flaws in the scanned model and plane cutting.

3D model of me

The third and final assignment was the most challenging part but fun to do. While we were given a variety of prompts to choose from, I chose the one where I selected a piece of traditional art from a culture I am a part of and made personal alterations to it that made it my own unique design. In a previous week’s assignment, I made a matryoshka doll (or Russian nesting doll) layered sticker to reflect my Russian heritage. This time I decided to continue extending off that identity but with a different piece of traditional Russian art: The Faberge egg. These are jeweled eggs that were once manufactured for the royal families during the Imperial Russia era. There is only a limited number that exists in the world and the ones that do are often viewed as a symbol of nobility.

Because my family doesn’t own any Faberge eggs of our own (as we are far from royalty), I ended up designing and creating one completely from scratch. I first designed a decorative, hollow egg model in TinkerCAD which I then transferred into Meshmixer.

Faberge egg model in TinkerCAD

Most Faberge eggs have some sort of small object or figure inside of them that you can open up or look inside the egg and see. In my design, I used my 3D scanned model of myself as said figure and inserted it into the inside of the egg, which also helped satisfy the scanned object requirement. 

Final model

Unfortunately, when it came time to printing the final product, something must have gone wrong during the printing process as my model did not finish printing all the way through. If I had to change anything about this project, I probably would choose a much simpler and smaller design, because this definitely took way more time and effort than what was originally intended. The print itself took 10+ hours and as you can see, it did not even finish. I definitely learned a good lesson that it’s better to start off with the basics rather than jumping the gun and trying to build a more complex design with 3D printing.

The final (albeit unfinished) product

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