The alien created, which was then added to further in Meshmixer
Before working on my final piece for this assignment, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of different tools/platform in order to try and create well designed, 3d printable models.
These various methods of developing models had their pros and cons — using iPads and scanners didn’t work very well, but I could see how this would be a super easy and convenient way to scan models if it was working 100%. Using the Kinect was very interesting, seeing how it captured motion somewhat accurately, but was prone to duplicating or leaving off fine details on a model. TinkerCAD was cool to use because it had a lot of very basic tools and simplified the modeling process down to its bare bones in able to kind of push you to think about how to make the things you want to in the most straightforward way. Using Meshmixer allowed me to shape models more carefully, as well as giving me the ability to analyze them in different capacities and discover problems that might make my models difficult/impossible to print.
The 3D model of myself captured with the Kinect!
I created a small alien model within class using TinkerCAD and a bust of myself using the Kinect and Meshmixer before I even began preparing for the assignment. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best possible pictures of what these ended up looking like because my Epique folder was deleted from the server and I lost the files because of that. But imagine the alien with more detail and horns and imagine the bust being more consistently filled.
This assignment was quite the undertaking for me, but eventually I was able to persevere through it and make a prototype for a necessary object that I think is pretty cool. I experienced a lot of technical difficulties along the way, but in terms of my own design decisions (and decisions on what prompt I wanted to take on) there were also some things that snagged my build process.
The eagle I half designed, residing patriotically on his pedestal.
I originally started this project by deciding that I wanted to create a 3D print for the 2nd prompt, creating a cultural artifact. I had started the
A rough drawing of my initial and final designs.
design of an eagle on a pedestal that I planned on adding more shapes and edits to by the time we went to lab for our midterm report in. Around this time, I realized how difficult it would be to print the specific thing I wanted and how much care/time I would have to put into changing up my model. After thinking things over some more I decided to work on a different prompt.
A very rough beginning design for my sketch pad.
I decided to work on prompt #4 at this point, designing a custom-built object from scratch to serve some purpose in my life. A
problem that I consistently run in to is that I want to draw in bed often. This may seem like the type of problem that can be easily solved with a notebook or a hard object to lay paper on top of, but things
My design, a little more fleshed out
aren’t always that simple. One problem I run into is that I like to be able to use a variety of different gauges/colors of pens/pencils when I am drawing, and neither a notebook or a hard object really have a place to lay more pens when in the types of positions you lay in a bed in. I then realized I could create a tray that could hold multiple sheets of paper within a lipped area, allowing me to draw and store some drawings, while also having a surface to work on. This surface would be able to support pressure on it regardless of if it was laying on something or not, making it some what different from drawing on top of a book or something, for example. I also realized I could include a pencil holder and a tray for an eraser, all while keeping this drawing pad extremely light and travel-friendly. Finally, I decided to add the personal touch of writing a message to myself to keep on the pad at all times — appropriately, “Draw More”.
Adding the adjustments to the “Draw More” design
The TAZ crapping out on my 14 hour print!
I, at first, hoped to create this design using the TAZ, as it was the only printer I had access to that could print something as large as a piece of paper (8.5″x11″). After realizing that other people typically use it for larger prints as well (and these take a long time, therefore making it unavailable) and trying to use it myself (and having it fail on me), I decided to shoot for a slightly smaller final product. I created the same drawing pad, but decided to size down the tray so that it would fit typical 3″x3″ sticky notes. All other features were reincorporated into the design, with a slightly shorter pencil holder (my other one topped out at about 6″) in order to make the design printable on the Flash Forges. I also decided on making the “Draw More” come out of the pad in a way that would allow it to be more accurately printed (rotated along the Z axis).
My absolute final design for the sticky note sketcher.
I did all my designing initially within TinkerCAD and then would pull the files into Meshmixer to either slightly alter them, fix holes, or look for structural weaknesses that needed to be fixed. After multiple, multiple iterations I finally found a design that was pleasing to me and a machine that could print it out given its size and accuracy requirements.
My final product, all printed out and in use!
All-in-all, I had a super interesting experience with 3D printing for the very first time. I obviously ran into a bunch of issues with being able to get tech to work properly, as well as be available enough to troubleshoot all the problems I was running into (I had a large midterm project due the same time as this assignment, along with a bunch of assignments in other classes). I also had a hard time specifying in on what prompt I wanted to take on and I definitely think that was kind of a process of just attacking 3D printing head-on. I understand the ‘iterative’ process behind 3D printing much more thoroughly after this assignment as well. I can see how 3D printing is definitely within the stage of just trying designs out for the most part right now, but I think that those designs, as simple as they can be, can be very successful in solving unique problems.
I think the process of printing itself is actually pretty simple, just time-consuming and hard to access in a way. The design of models and especially the process of refining models can be extremely tedious and is definitely a skill that I think would take some time to develop. I don’t think that there’s anything I would really change about how I attacked this assignment, as it really gave me a broad perspective of the different challenges you can run into with 3D printing and how to take those on in a variety of different ways. This was a really fulfilling assignment to receive a final product for! The link to my final design can be found here, as required by the prompt I chose: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/5Q00ya7LvL3
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.
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
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.
Alien on the Wall basis from TInckerCAD
Alien on the Wall, modified in MeshMixer (front)
Alien on the Wall, modified in MeshMixer (back)
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.
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.
During class for the castle and alien projects, I created the following:
I decided to make a structurally sound castle with the round corner towers and adjoining walls. I also have a central tower with a giant skull on top to be intimidating to both the residents and outsiders of the castle. The alien that is inside the castle there has some kind of cylindrical body with pointy weapons/swords sticking out of it’s side, and with semi-circle head gear.
For my main designs, I made the following in TinkerCAD:
My first design was a set of flatware type things for people who just really don’t like circles. As such, my flatware is quite square. The bowl below is completely devoid of circular form, to appease any circle-hating people. The only problem this presented was the ability to eat with a spoon. Since a spoon is rounded, it would not fit in the corners of the bowl.
To solve this, I created a squared spoon. This spoon is quite superior to a normal spoon, as it allows the user to eat in the corners of any object, such as the square bowl above.
As a fork and knife and both already devoid of circles, I didn’t design them, as they would look very similar to a normal fork or knife.
I did design a square plate though, as most plates are circular, so it was definitely necessary. It has a square base with slightly raised edges, to more easily keep the food on the plate.
My next design was something that I need. I decided I needed a monitor stand to be placed under my monitor at my apartment, in order to give me some extra desk space.
The monitor stand is designed to be box like and structurally sound enough to support my monitor. I first created a rectangular prism and proceeded to cut out useful holes and slots in it. From the front view I have a lower slot for papers and larger flat items. I also have a thinner slot above that in the middle for pencils, pens, and such. I didn’t create a hole in the back for both of those, because I don’t want things falling through the back. On the upper right, I have a hole from front to back that is large enough to support electronic devices like phones and maybe a smart watch. It has a hole in the back, so wires can be placed through the back without having to awkwardly go around the hole structure. On the top of the stand, I made a small cutout for placing smaller items that I keep on my desk, but don’t want to get lost. On the left side, I placed another slot for anything on my desk that I don’t need often such as USB sticks, a portable battery, or such. I tried to keep the edges large enough that the stand would be able to support a monitor. If I were to actually print this, I would definitely need to double check to make sure it would be thick enough to provide this level of support.
For my third design, which I printed, I decided to create a 3D version of a famous piece of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man.
Da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man is famous due to both the artist and what it depicts. It portrays the Proportions of Man by inscribing a male figure with two sets of arms and legs in a circle and square. It’s famousness also comes from that the design was based on a famous Roman architect, Vitruvius’s writings that relate the human body proportions to those of architectural designs. This is also how the piece of art got its name.
In order to create this, I needed to scan in my head, torso, an arm, and a leg. I got help from my friends in lab to take scans of these.
Once I had those four, I worked in Meshmixer to combine them into something that represented the Vitruvian Man, but with only the circle and not the square. For each I began by making them solid objects and plane cutting off any unnecessary parts. I cut off my head and attaching it to my torso. I smoothed it out a bit with one of the sculpting brushes and moved on to my arms. I plane cut, made solid, duplicated, and rotated them until they were about where I wanted them and then combined them with my body. One issue I encountered here was that I only had a scan of my right arm. When I went to do the left arm, my thumb was in the wrong place and my arm bent backwards a bit. I had to smooth out the thumb side and tried somewhat successfully to pull out a thumb on the opposite side with the sculpting tools. For the arms bent slightly backwards, I had to do a lot of smoothing and pulling it in the opposite direction to make it look presentable. This was all a huge pain and if I were to do it again, I would definitely just take scans of both of my arms to avoid these problems.
Next came the circle. I created a circular object in TinkerCAD, exported it from there, and imported it into Meshmixer. I had to rotate it and resize it in multiple dimensions, but I was eventually able to place it in the right spots and in the right size around my body.
Next came the legs. I didn’t have quite as much of an issue here as I did with the arm problems, as it was much easier to make a right foot to look like a left foot. It was just pushing in on one side and pulling out a bit on the other. If I were to do this again, I would get scans of both legs though. I would only really do this to make putting it together without having a slight bend to the leg, which wasn’t able to be fixed too much.
I then created the other legs and changed the sizing and position a bit on everything and it was pretty much done.
I combined it all into one object and exported it as an stl file. Then, since two of the machines at the Fab Lab broke when I went in to print, I went to BIF’s 3D printing lab to print it instead. I was advised to print it flat like below, but I think it may have turned out better if I printed it upright. The supports were extremely difficult to remove as it was, but if I had printed it upright, I think cutting them out in the middle of the object would have been easier and would have left less of a mess on the back.
For this two-week assignment, we were assigned to design three of the following four projects: a set of flatware with a specific purpose, an art piece relating to our culture combined with ourselves in some way, a famous painting turned into a 3D model, including either ourselves or an object, and making a specific part that we need. After designing three of the four projects, we would then print one of them.
Before working on the projects, we were given a tutorial on how to use Tinkercad and Meshmixer by making a castle and alien (pictured below this paragraph). It took a few minutes to get used to, but I found Tinkercad relatively intuitive for combining structures for a print.
Castle and Alien
The first project that I will talk about is the part that we need. I created a simple case for an aux cord case (pictured below) due to the fact that I constantly just shove my chord into my backpack, likely damaging it. In order to keep the cord contained properly, I decided ahead of time to use a spiral within the case. To add more versatility, I added a second spiral. The case is 12in. x 6in. and can hold either two small aux cables or one large one. I decided not to print this part because there was a project that I wanted to print more. The project file is not public yet on Thingiverse, but will be by 12 p.m. on Friday March 8th at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3475858.
Simple AUX Cord Case
For my second project, I designed a set of flatware for my worst enemy, including useless utensils with plates and glasses with holes in them (pictured below). The spoon has a hole in it to prevent it from holding anything. The fork has no points to pick food up with, and the knife has no sharp edge to cut with.
Flatware for My Worst Enemy
For my final project, I decided to recreate the famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. A portion of its fame likely comes from how universal its meaning is. I chose this painting because I relate to it. To incorporate myself into the model, I decided to scan myself in the scream pose. I started by making a 3in. x 3in. plane, used a block-shaped hole to create a path in the plane, and made a fence out of 7 blocks.
I wanted to make it look more realistic, so I found a “terrain” shape in Tinkercad to make it look like a plain.
By far, the most difficult part of this project was scanning myself. In order to get my full body into the print, I had to scan my torso and my lower body separately, run them through Meshmixer to fix any errors and plane cut them, then attempt to stitch them together in Tinkercad. I did the best that I could with them, but there is a small seam in the back.
The print came out nicely. I thoroughly enjoyed making it.
Overall, I enjoyed the entirety of this assignment. It was fun thinking of ideas for a terrible flatware set and aux case. Although, I had the most fun with designing my Scream model. There were probably ways to add even more details into the model. It was difficult trying to get all of the pieces to work together to form one object to print, but it was definitely worth it. I am proud of my print and the effort I put into it.
For ease of writing, the write up can be found as a pdf here.
This week’s assignment was that of two parts, an in class introductory 3d model and, a batch of different prompts that we had to complete using 3D modelling software as well as print one. The three prompts I chose to complete were: 1. cutlery for your enemy, 3. insert yourself into a piece of famous art, and 4. make a part you need. The prompt I chose for my one print was the part that you actually need.
Overall this project was tough! I definitely spent more time thinking about the prompts then actually working in Fusion. Oddly enough the part I needed and printed took the least time to plot out. To be fair though, my printed object was just a rectangular prism that has had two subtractions. The other two models I made use different functions like loft and editing face meshes. The printed part was more plug and play while the other two were a design challenge.
In class we were given 15 min to design a castle in tinker CAD. I spent 10 of these minutes trying to figure out how the heck to make an arch. Turns out that you cannot rotate faces in tinker CAD so, in a mad panic, I threw up some castle wall and made concept art for a white castle. We then took our shoddy models into mesh mixer to toy around with various tools. The amalgamation shown below was the final product at the end of the session.
Picture 1: Castle walls made with extruding blocks, connected using the union function.
The next pictures will be answers to a few of the prompts that were laid out for us a couple weeks ago.
Pictures 2 & 3: Bumpy Whisk (left) is modified in mesh mixer. Metal Disk Whisker (right) made in fusion.
Ok, so this prompt, Cutlery for your enemy, ended up a bit weird but in a way I accomplished what I wanted to do. I included both the meshmixer picture and the fusion picture because the small metal disks (right) did not show up as well in the meshmixer picture (left). The original design was to make a whisk with metal disks at the top where one’s thumb would go and a bumpy sticky looking handle. The metal disks are placed where the user’s thumb would go, or where the most pressure would be applied. After some use these metal disks would probably slice the users hand. Moving on to the second modification, the handle was meant to be sticky-looking because that’d be terrible. I thought that if I were to use meshmixers’ brushes I could achieve some sort of residue looking pattern. I ran into the same issue we did in lab with there not being enough polygons, so I tried to remesh. Remeshing ruined everything so I had to revert everything. I ended up playing with the brushes at random and came up with the bumpy handle (left). So, this metal-slicing-disk-bumpy-sitcky-handle-whisk is the perfect gift for your latest enemy!
Pictures 4 & 5 Me 3D scanned using fusion and a piece of famous art found on google images.
This 3D model addresses prompt number three on the assignment sheet. We all scanned ourselves during last week lab and, when doing so, I made myself as low as a polygon render as possible because I knew I wanted to do some sort of bust. Through my googling I found that busts are WAY more detailed then most images. That is not to say that the image on the right is low detail because I chose it, but it was the easiest to incorporate into my 3D model. The bust was sculpted by Chris Mitton and is supposed to be modern iconography in a classical medium. I was already wearing a hoodie so having two hoods would look weird thus I had to find another way to make me look anonymous. I was able to make a complex mesh and seemed as though it was a bandanna wrapped around my face. Then I threw on some shades because I thought it was lacking.
Picture 6 Complex 3D Mesh
This was the mesh that I made using two center arcs connecting with a line. I then added a anchor point in the middle of the top line so it can be bent outward. I then used the face mesh editor to pull some vertices out, creating the warps you see above. All of this made it seem that the bandanna was kinda attached to my face.
Pictures 7 & 8 Battery Pack Wall Mount in Fusion(left) and Battery Wall Mount Printed(right).
The final prompt was to make a part that I needed. Would be silly to do this one and not print it thus is why I printed it. Starting out, I took measurements of the orange battery pack (right). Once I constructed a prism with the dimensions I needed I made two subtractions. One was to make a cavity for the battery pack. The other was so that I could snake a micro USB through the bottom. The picture on the left has the small hole in the wrong spot, I fixed it in the right picture. Where I messed up (I guess) was making the fusion model in inches instead of millimeters. When I imported the .stl into the flashware it came up as the inch measurements but in millimeters, so it was tiny as heck. I googled the conversion and scaled it. The right was the end result, didn’t print right at all.
Picture 9 Attempt at salvaging.
The height and depth were manageable but the width was not. So, I tried to clip them off with clippers. The model was too sturdy though so it just snapped and broke.
Overall I don’t think the biggest challenge was designing for 3D modelling but actually navigating the software. My prior experience in 3D modelling was using 3DS MAX, and its was more of a sculpting software, (atleast that how I used it). When making an arc, not have to sketch a line and loft it. I could just keep extruding the same circle and rotate the face a little bit to form a curve. the process of getting there is always the hardest, never the execution. The battery pack wall mount is a contender for my iterative project for sure. I have these modular slots on the front face of my computer tower and could possibly make a charging try come out of it. Would be really cool if I pull it off tho.
This week’s assignment was about 3D-printing and scanning. It consists of two parts:
- One design using Tinkercad and Meshmixer.
- 3D model, which followed the fourth prompt. I created the part that I needed.
For the first part, I created an alien in Tinkercad, and did some modifications to it in Meshmixer.
Alien model in Tinkercad
Modified alien in Meshmixer
The first part was straightforward, because we just had to design a model and not print it.
For the second part, I decided to follow the fourth prompt, where we had to create something that we needed. I decided to create a phone holder for this assignment. The central idea was that, while eating it becomes very difficult to use phone, and it is very uncomfortable to look at the screen and operate the phone through touchscreen. I thought about creating a phone stand that would be helpful to me while eating. I would not need to place the phone on the desk or the table. The phone holder in the stand would be rotatable, this would help me in either browsing on social media or watching a movie. The end goal was to create a smart phone stand that would allow me to operate phone without touching the screen. I realized that it would be difficult to implement that because of the time constraint, so I decided to create just a phone holder.
For the first prototype, my goal was to have basic design of the phone holder. This was my first design in the process, and rest of the prototypes would be modifications to this prototype. With this design, I got a general idea about the look of the phone holder.
For the second prototype, I decided to add a rotation functionality to the case. With the help of that function, user would be able to rotate the phone 360 degrees.
This was very important step, because at this step the design for the stand became a bit different. In the first prototype, the entire stand was one piece, but in the second prototype, the entire design consisted of phone stand and phone holder, which would be connected to the stand.
Second Prototype – 2, with redesigned phone case.
For the third prototype, I worked on adding one more functionality to it. I also worked on increasing the size of the case and stand. For the first and second prototypes, it was not capable of holding the phone because of its size, so I tried to modify it so that it can hold actual phone. I though adding the functionality that would help user move the phone case up and down.
3rd Prototype, with up/down functionality
Later, I realized that it would become much more complex and a bit difficult to print the third prototype. So, I decided to print the second prototype. Time was also a very important factor in printing. To print the second prototype, which is a smaller version of the actual phone holder, it took four and half hours. I realized that to print the actual, bigger stand, time and cost both would increase.
4(1/2) Hours to print
This assignment was very interesting, and I learned a lot of stuff from it. Building the first prototype was straightforward, but it took me few hours. There were a lot of factors that were very important to consider in the designing process. The alignment was very important, and I also had to consider the balance of the entire stand. My plan was to design the stand such that I don’t need to stick it to the table. Another challenge that I faced in the process was to design the phone case. It was very important to create the case so it fits the phone stand. It took me few hours just to get done with that step. I had make sure that the sphere in the phone stand fits the hollow circular region in the phone case. So, if I would change the size of the circle then, in order to make it fit the case, I would need to change the design of the back part of the case. Because of that problem, it was very difficult to increase the size of prototypes. If I plan to print the bigger version of the phone holder, then I will have to make it from scratch, everything with larger dimensions. The final print was okay. There was a hollow region in the phone case, to hold the phone. To print the case, the top part was facing downwards, and because of that the entire hollow region got filled with the supports, which became nearly impossible to remove. I faced another problem because of which I was not able to insert the hollow part of the case to the stand. The hollow region needed to be larger or adjustable.
Regardless of the outcome, this project allowed me to learn a lot of new stuff, and the entire process was very interesting and enjoyable.
For my 3D printing project, I decided to follow prompt two and picked an item from my heritage. I have had this doll for a couple of years since my great aunt gave me something that my grandpa had bought it Europe. During the 50s, my grandpa was stationed in Germany and everywhere he traveled, he sent dolls to his sister. I received this one, that was from Switzerland.
I wanted to use this item because it’s an item from my heritage and my relatives that meant a lot to my great aunt. I wanted to keep the doll similar to what she normally looks like, but just make some adjustments to modernize her a little. Once I scanned her, I realized that this would be more difficult than I had intended. The scanner did not capture the details that I wanted it to, especially her face. It got the fold of her clothes and hair pretty well, which are items that I spent a lot of time on later modifying. When I got my scan into Meshmixer, there were a lot of immediate problems that had to be worked out. First, since the doll is on a stand, I had to edit it out, which was especially difficult around her legs. Her legs were the most difficult thing to edit, and I ended up deleting most of them since I felt the more I attempted to fix it, the worse it became. Another detail that was erased was the doll’s hands – I scanned her many times in different positions, but the hands always came out like blobs. I ended up finding hands on Tinkercad and Meshmixer which worked well for the doll.
Designs I used for my model on Tinkercad.
Editing was the hardest part of this project by far. I was way out of my element doing this very detailed editing and spent hours making very simple and small changes. I ended up downloading Meshmixer on my computer so I could work on it outside of lab hours. The first thing I changed was the hands, which were clearly absent from my scan. The one that was on Tinkercad was incredibly detailed, so I reduced the points on that a lot. It took a while to change them so they were of equal size and placement. I also had to make sure they were in the correct spot – so that they could be seen on the model, but not sticking out so much that they wouldn’t be supported. I ended up cutting the thumbs off of the hands and making them a separate aspect so I could get the configuration right. The second thing I changed were the shoes – the feet and legs were disastrous from start to finish – no matter what I did, they were unrealistic looking and always hideous. I found a Converse shoe on Tinkercad, which I had to mirror and fit onto each foot of the doll. Converse are the shoes I wear all the time, so I felt this was an accurate representation of me. Once the shoes were in the right place, I realized I could get rid of most of the feet that were causing me trouble. Because of the position of the stand, I had to edit the legs individually so the inspector tool would understand that I wanted each leg separate instead of together, like it kept doing. That alone took quite a while because no tool was the right thing I was looking for. And because of the heavy editing of the legs, the bottom of the skirt took a lot of damage and I had to repair that. This was easier that the legs because of the flatten tool.
I did various editing all around the doll, particularly on the sleeves and stomach to make it more natural looking. The other edit I took a while with was the hair. The original doll has her hair mostly in a bun on her head and it’s very short. To make it seem more like mine, I used the inflate tool all around her head and neck to make it look more like natural hair.
I made these changes to make a small representation of me in an item from my heritage. It was interesting to find aspects about yourself and incorporate them into something familiar, but I learned from this project that 3D printing is not my thing. It’s an incredibly interesting concept and technology and the fact that so many people get to show their creative side on places like Tinkercad is unbelievable. But I was out of my element for this project and spent hours agonizing over simple decisions to make. I’m not one to focus on details, nor to get artsy with something and I think this project proved that. Using very detail-oriented software like Meshmixer was really hard for me and I felt that I could have done a better job if I had a lot of help from people more comfortable with the software.
I ended up printing my model much smaller than the actual doll since I didn’t want focus to go to the problem areas. I had a lot of problems that I spent a while fixing – so while it was interesting to get to work with 3D printers for the first time, I was not in my comfort zone.
Motivation and Initial Design:
I like to work on plastic models as one of my hobbies. I started around junior year of high school, working on plastic models of Gundam Mechs (often known as ‘Gunpla’ – a portmanteau of ‘Gundam’ and ‘Plastic Model’). While their size is often small (the most common ones stand at a height of ~4-5 inches), they are rather complex:
An example of a typical Gundam inner skeleton (~30 parts)
This small size and complexity can make them a challenge to work with at times, and often require a steady hand as well as precision cutting and finishing to give the parts a decent fit. To do this I often touch up parts with an X-Acto knife to eliminate excess plastic after cutting them out of the sprue trees.
For one of my recent models, I ended up pruning a little bit too much plastic and eliminating a connection point by accident:
The model in question – note the hole in the upper arm section
Since I would not be able to order a replacement part (at least not easily or cheaply) I decided to use the 3D resin printer to patch up my mistake.
I started by taking the damaged part into Fusion 360 and attempting to reconstruct it, but it soon became apparent that the part in question was far more complex internally than expected:
The damaged part (seen in white). Note the grooves and small details
Without a reasonable way to measure the spaces between the lines, coupled with the part’s large amount of curvature, I decided against reconstructing the entire piece, as I could only make relatively inaccurate estimates using the calipers provided in the Fab Lab. Instead, I sought to create a small part to simply patch the hole for me. This led me to this relatively simple piece:
Kind of underwhelming, huh?
Although the design was simple, it was also small (dimensions are 1.5mm x 1mm x 2.5mm). Nonetheless, I was about to find that even this small part would give me quite some trouble.
Build Process and Modification:
During the first build of the patch part (referred to as a ‘nub’ from this point onwards), I wanted to use white resin since that was also the color of the part I was patching. However, I ran into an issue with the curing process for the resin, which according to Emile had been acting unusually recently:
Nothing solid came out – just globs of sticky resin…
Under Emile’s insistence, I decided to switch to the clear resin, which was much more consistent in quality and curing times. The result was an extremely small nub:
A nub being sanded using tweezers. The clear color makes it hard to see.
Yeah. It’s really small. After the initial prototype I realized a few things:
- There are small inaccuracies in the printing process, even with resin, which made most nubs come out slightly oversized. Through testing, I estimated the error to be about 0.1mm off, which is fine for most prints but in my case made fitting difficult.
- The nub’s small size and clear color made it really easy to lose track of.
I worked around the first problem by sanding down the nubs until they made a decent fit, using tweezers and 200-grit sandpaper. The second problem was more difficult to solve, given both the size of the piece and its material were not easily adjustable, so I decided to make several copies of the nubs as backups (I created 9 backup nubs, 6 of which were lost). Luckily given the piece’s small size and sole reliance on z-dimension for print times, (I flipped the nubs on their sides to make the z-dimension even smaller) each print batch (the single-nub prototype batch and 9-nub production batch) each took only 25 minutes.
Testing the nub’s fit. Note the darker piece poking out of the white one.
After sanding and testing the nub’s fit, I took the mostly-completed nub and coated it and the damaged piece using contact cement. It took a bit of time and some prodding with a paper clip to get them to fit in snugly (given the scale we were working at), but ultimately the patch was complete and I set it aside for a few hours for curing.
A pretty good fit, if I do say so myself.
Even though this project was fairly fun, (and helped me out with my hobby, after all) I decided that my next projects should probably be on a larger scale. I personally would like to reconstruct the entire model with CAD, but this time using my own designs and dimensions instead of trying to estimate another designer’s work. Other than that, I would definitely add improvements in considering the printing errors and manufacturing tolerances, as well as developing better ways to keep track of each component.
Motivation: I do a lot of digital art and as such I own a drawing tablet. However, I problem I had recently is I lost the holder for my pen. This means that most of the time my tablet pen is just sitting free on my table, which occasionally means I knock it onto the floor. Because of this I wanted to make a simple holder for my pen.
Build Process: I started by making a few 3D models in TinkerCAD, which can be seen below.
While most pen holders orient the pen vertically, my designs revolve around holding the pen horizontally, I did this primarily because I wanted to make a holder that differed from the one i initially had. Out of these three designs I ultimately decided to go with the pyramid-shaped one. After I settled on this general design I wanted to make sure it’s dimensions would actually fit my pen, which to my surprise the measurements of the original design ended up being nearly perfect.
After finishing the designs I went in to print out my object. The my initial print failed, the PLA was oddly bunching up on the printing nozzle, so we cleaned off the nozzle and started the print over again. The second time printing went smoothly and I was surprised the printer was able to accurately reproduce my model, specifically how well the semi-spheres on the corners turned out. The finished product can be seen below. (Ignore my mouse pad…you’re not a loser.)
Reflection: The design of my models was interesting as I had to keep in mind what the printer was capable of printing, which meant I had to adjust my designs accordingly. I also learned I to always double check the machine before printing, which would help me avoid the strange issue I ran into.
Even though my model turned out how I wanted it to and functions properly liked, if I had the time I would have liked to explore making the design slightly larger or even modifying the angle the pen was held. Also I fell like I played it pretty safe with my design as i picked a model that I was pretty positive would print with no issue. With this in mind maybe in the future I might try and test out designs that might not be able to print so I can better understand the limitations of 3D printing.
My goals for this project were to learn more about 3D printing/scanning and 3D modelling software (namely, blender, since I’ve been wanting to learn it for a long time). As for the work I put in during class time towards learning these, this is what I have to show:
A tinkercad castle, and
A 3D scan with some meshmixer work done on it.
As for the assignment, I did the silverware part, where the idea was to create a set of silverware that are impossible to use. I used Blender to do this, and learned about the basics as well as some more specific tools, like the object modifiers tool.
Obviously, these would be pretty difficult to deal with.
For the 3D print that I did, I made a part that would help to organize my desk a bit better. This was a fitting to the edge that I could hang light stuff from, like earbuds. Or some other small and light items.
The tolerances were off, so it doesn’t fit super well. Either way, the print worked! We had to flip it on the side, which means the layering would probably cause the hook to shear off with much weight applied. Something to consider for next time.
Finally, I attempted to scan and change a piece of traditional Peruvian art, a necklace that a friend had given me a while ago. Unfortunately, it was a bit small. I tried scanning it on a larger object, but it still didn’t pick it up well. So, I decided to go into blender. My “scan” was putting the necklace on the screen and tracing the outline. Unfortunately, my intended changes to the surface didn’t work out, even though I’d been able to successfully take the differences of objects earlier. Oh, well.
I tried to upload the tinkercad .obj file, but the site was undergoing maintenance when I tried to post this 🙁 .