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

Author Archive

3D Printing

The 3D printing assignment is a biweekly project. We’ve learned TinkerCAD and MeshMixer during the first lab session, and 3D scanning during the second. 

Alien on the Wall

For the first project, I used TinkerCAD built the alien-on-the-castle model. The castle was built mimicking a station on the Great Wall. Pretty straight forward–stacking cubes together, cut out the windows, and cut the shooting cutlet on the top. I used the stock rocket man model as the basis for my little alien. Then, after imported the .stl file into MeshMixer, I added horns, arms, and other features from its stock models to the alien. Then I used the sculpture tool for some final finish/smoothing on the details.


Art Piece

For the second project, I chose the third option–turning a famous painting into a 3D model. The original art piece is the iconic portrait of Napoleon — Le Premier Consul franchissant les Alpes au col du Grand Saint-Bernard (The First Consul crossing the Alps via the St. Bernard Pass). This painting projected an idealistic portrait of Napoleon during his campaign to northern Italy in 1800. He led his army crossed the Alps and delivered a surprise attack to the invading Austrian army and further established his status as a liberator and general in Europe. The original art piece was a gift from the reigning Spanish king to Napoleon as a display of goodwill and a starter to improve the diplomatic relationships. The artist, Jacques-Louis David, is a loyal fan of Napoleon himself. Many elements in the painting showed his fond of the rising general. On the rocks in the bottom, he painted the name Bonaparte, Hannibal, and Charlemagne putting Napoleon into the greatest generals hall of fame. The artists portrayed Napoleon on the horse with a posture similar to a sculpture of Alexandar the Great. Such an arrangement, with the flying cloak and many other touches, made Napoleon’s figure glowing in the viewer’s eyes and thus the “short Corsican” is yesterday’s news.

Here for the model, I made a modified version of that painting. The work was done with a 3D scanned upper body of myself, a stock horse model, and some basic geometric shapes. I imported both the horse model and the scanned upper body into TinkerCAD. Then added the torso, right forearm and both legs using primitive shapes with some help of the second working plane and rotations. After imported into MeshMixer, I used sculpture tools smoothed the surface and made joints looked more natural.

I took the design to the MakerLab in BIF. They use Ultimaker 2+ in the lab and PLA as the default material. The entire process took about 4 hours. Cura, the default 3D printing code software at the lab added supports automatically, and a lot was added as a result of the hanging body of the horse. I used the default setting for the printing: 0.6mm nozzle, 20% insert. As shown in the second and third pictures below, it took an hour to remove all the supporting structure. It was difficult for the large portion of supporting and delicate parts on the end, like the two front hoofs.

A Reflection

Crack on Knee

For the modeling part, cracks appeared quite often during the inflation (draw) processes, especially around joints. My solution was to repeatedly inflate and flatten around the crack. 

For example, there was this crack when I was trying to join the two tubes (as the thigh and calf) to create the left leg. It was removed by the repeated treatment in the final model.



And for the printing part,0.6mm could deliver a satisfying satin finish on some surfaces. Therefore, for an easier after work, we should definitely consider this during the design process. It could still be fine for a slightly negative angled surface, but the result would be miserable after a certain threshold. For example, the horse belly is still very good, but the bottom of the arms and boots are really rough. Also, the support generation algorithm might not be the best way to go. I would definitely try to design the support as part of the model next time, especially when there are lots of tiny corners. 

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Copper Tape Paper Circuit

This week, the assignment was about using copper tape to craft three circuits including coin LiPo battery (3V), LEDs, and resistors.

1. Simple Circuit

I named this design the “Sunrise”. It was inspired by the graphic on the piece of paper–a rising sun. The flipped corner is served both as a battery case and the switch. The layout of copper tape is shown in the first photo above, and there are two ports for the tape piercing through to the front side of the paper.

2. Two LEDs with Quote

For the second design, I think this line by the great philosopher Goethe, actually, his last words, fits the scene in a way of beauty. “Licht, mehr Licht”, “Light, more light”. I planted two red LEDs in the back of the paper, one behind each “Licht”.

With the experience from the “Sunrise”, I felt that the back side of the copper tape, with the layer of adhesive, has a lower level of conductivity. So I applied a reversed layer of the copper tape where lines contact. One caveat that I am not quite like was my layout, the far line is put between the two lines of the quote, so there appears a dark black line when it’s activated. Negative for the appearance, I should have thought about the effects from both side.

3. Multi-colour LEDs Layout

Thinking of origami, this old game came to my mind. I planted 2x green LEDs and 2x red LEDs for the design. In a premier testing, I found that 39-ohm resistor will do the work when red and green LEDs are set in a parallel layout. There are two parallel loops, each contains a switch and two LEDs in a parallel setting. The layout is not in a fine form. I used short papercut as a shield for bridging the copper tapes. The two resistors are used as bridges as well. It took me some time finding this functional design.

The circuit layout is shown in the first photo above. But when it’s folded, there will be unintended contact among the copper tapes. So I planted a folded facial tissue for blocking such contact. And it works great in actual playing. Here is a short video (as a gif) showing the design in play.

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Vinyl Sticker

For the vinyl assignment, I’ve tried various techniques. Started with the one in class, simply merging two graphics into a hybrid one. I picked a tiny dragon and a skull for their simple and curvy outlines. Thought it would be cool to have that dragon grow out of the skull.

The end result looks nice and I have put that onto my water bottle.

For the logo sticker, I picked a logo of Star Wars theme. It has three different colours, so that I can exercise my taste of layering vinyl print.

This one took me quite some time in the lab. For a 4 -by-4 print, the letters were really tricky at the time. The hollow areas in letters like ‘P’ was painful. Also, i found that the glossy white vinyl is much harder and thicker the the rest, and the printer was not very well adapted to it. I tried printing it with default setting twice, no way to get it off. Then tried change the blade to 2, instead of 1. Finally made it off the back. Looks not too bad though.

For the final sticker, I picked this owl. Reminds me of DuoLingo. The process in InkSpace was not as smooth as it was for the previous one. Took lots of time manually fixing the outlines. Finalized to a seven layer design with each dedicated to a colour. With practices from the Darth Vader, the assembly took less time and the finish was quite cute.

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Laser Cut Name Tag

During the first lab hours, I made this name tag. The outer shape is mimicking ninja with head cover. The logo in the back was downloaded from the Internet as a vector image. I tried using raster to create shades in the background. But the finish is less than perfect. Although I set the letters of my name as pure black, and the background shades as 50% black (or gray). The burnt effect is not emphasizing the letters from the background. Actually, way different from what it looks like in the software. However, this is a valuable experience, and I enjoyed the process. The burnt smell of the wood was good, as well.

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