Category Archives: 3D Modeling

Tour of my 3D Printed Houses

Greetings! I am starting to build up quite a collection of 3D Printed buildings! Today I thought I would give you a little tour of them and my design process and share some of my design guidelines and tips.

I’m from Prince WIlliam County Virginia which is outside of Washington, DC. With the exception one gazebo from New York, all my buildings hail from Prince William County, Virginia and most of those right smack from my town, Occoquan. So far, I have

  • Mamie Davis Gazebo in Occoquan, Virginia
  • The National Museum of the United States Marine Corps from Quantico
  • Mill House Museum in Occoquan, Virginia
  • Rockledge Mansion from Occoquan Virginia
  • And then, a custom piece, My Old Neighbor’s House, Occoquan Virginia.

All of these I modeled in Blender and they all start with one thing.

Reference Images
I go out and take reference images. In the case of my neighbor’s house, the prints were a gift and I needed to exercise stealth, so I actually tromped through the woods to snag some pictures of the back of the house. In the case of the Rockledge Mansion, I emailed the home’s owner which allowed me to open up a dialogue with them and I scored an amazing tour of the outside and the inside on the mansion.

Front

If I needed to supplement my own images, I found Flickr and Google Streetview to be a great resource for finding images of the more famous buildings

And…. there were two cases, where I really needed an aerial view to really get a good grasp of the building. The National Museum of the United States Marine Corps is a great example of that. I had all these side images and I just still could not figure out the geometry of the building. Something wasn’t right. Google Earth to the rescue! The aerial image was the missing piece I needed and suddenly everything clicked together.

Google Earth FTW

Base Model
Blender does have the ability where I can create what’s called an Empty and import in an image. I can rotate these, scale them, make them translucent, so it is very helpful for me as I’m trying to get the proportions of my base shapes right.

Detailing
With the detailing, I have done it a very formal way where my windows and my doors are actually a part of the base model. I used a tool called Loop Cut and Slide to make segments in my house where I’m going to put my windows and doors and then I extrude and subdivide accordingly. What I’ve decided I preferred is do model these details as separate objects. I’ll have Window Model, a Door Model, a Light model, A Railing model. I rather enjoy how easy it is to copy and paste that way.

Tip – When you are doing separate models with your detailing (and you aren’t going to do formal Boolean Unions in Blender), you want to make sure they are exactly flush with the base house. At least in Simplify 3D, if there is overlap, Simplify 3D will leave gaps between the two objects– whereas if you have them lined up exactly, you can be super lazy in Blender and Simplify 3D will recognize them as objects that should be one and slice accordingly.

Detailing Design Guidelines
With my detailing, I tend to keep them 0.3mm – 0.5mm high. With my 0.35mm and 0.40mm nozzles, those “90 degree overhangs” have no trouble on my printers, don’t need supports and still render very well in the final print.

Detailing Tour – Windows
Like most things the window detailing is about 0.3mm – 0.5mm high. In my neighbor’s house, for example, the panes are 0.4mm high and then the shutters are another 0.1mm above that.

Window Sizing

Tip – Slice as you go
When I’m working with small details and I want to make sure they translate, one thing I do is slice as I go. A perfect example of this is window panes. My Mill House Museum, the windows came out fine on a Shapeways fancy Sand Stone Printer. When I went and printed it on my FFF printer, I noted the vertical panes were too thin so the printer didn’t bother with them. In subsequent models, I’ll preslice sections to see how it is going to look on my intended printer.

If you don’t slice as you go and you find some missing details, there are options. In Simplify3D, you can try to adjust Horizontal Size Compensation (It’s under the Other tab) to get a better slice.

Horizontal Size Compensation

Detailing Tour – Outdoor Lights, Bay Windows, Garage Overhangs
I modeled the light, but there was deviation from real life— if you look at it from the side, I taper the bottom up– I give it a nice 45 degree angle to help with the overhangs. I did the same thing with the Bay Window and also you’ll see a small triangular wedge between the car port and a screened in porch. This is just to give the printer some solid overhangs to work with.

Outdoor Lights

Detailing Tour – Railings
The biggest trick to the railings is coming up with the dimensions with the slats. I didn’t want something too delicate. I have found 0.65 – 0.85mm to work.

Railing Mrked U

And I reused through measurements on my neighbor’s house. I just got and pasted to get their detailing for their screened in porches.

Reusing Railings

Detailing Tour – Supporting Posts
When I got to my neighbor’s house, I had some posts that would be supporting an awning. I went ahead and increased that to be over 2mm thick on each side so there was more strength and stability.

Awning Posts

Detailing Tour – Awning Hack
And with the awnings, I wanted to print those without supports. What I ended up doing there is I had two small layers connecting the main house with the posts. My very own support beams. They were just 0.5mm high which meant my printer would print two layers for it. Then, the rest of the awning came in and bridging settings kicked with ample parts to “bridge to”

Awning Hack

Textures
There are other approaches you can do with textures. You can, for example, use a grey scale texture map and use the Distortion modifier. I have found that to be a little intensive on my machine resources and making it difficult to continue to the tweak the model.

Textures - Laying Out

I do have a few “textures” I add to these models — stonework, brickwork, shingles, and finally siding. These I believe are mostly 0.3mm high. The Stonework I did slightly as purist. I actually used Bezier Curves to trace out real stones from one of the historic buildings in my town (Note– there are many ways to skin this cat). For bricks, siding, and shingles, I modeled one piece and then used the Array Feature in Blender to make an entire sheet.

Remember with the Spinning Pokestop, I talked about the Power of Intersection? This is an example of that. By Duplicating key vertices and separating them, I would make a template of the part of the model I wanted texture for. Let’s take the front of my Rockledge Mansion. I wouldn’t want Stonework where the windows and doors were. So I make an object of just want I want textured.

Texturing Template

I put my textured piece, in this case, the Stonework in the middle of it and then I take an Intersetion. Viola! Texture.

Textures - Intersection

Texture Piece

And just like my other details, I make sure that is flush exactly with my base model, so it slices nice and fine in Simplify 3D.

Hack – Use Layer Lines To Your Advantage
I had been doing shingles for everything… until my very last model, my Neighbor’s House. I was doing a “Slice As You Go” and I noticed, the natural layer lines looked remarkably like shingles, so I rolled with it.

Layer Line Shingles - FinalLayer Line Shingles -Small

Making an SVG File 3D In Blender

Despite some earlier blog posts on the matter, I have become fond of using Inkscape to make SVG files for my 3D Models.  (My breakthrough came when I started saving as a “Plain SVG” format instead of an “Inkscape SVG” format).

I figured I should document my process at pulling and prepping those files in Blender.

  1. Import the SVG file.  File->Import->Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)IMport SVG
  2. It looks like nothing happened, but your SVG is there.  It’s just really really really small.  If you look to the right in your Objects listing, you can see a new “Curve” that was not there before.
    SVG Tiny
  3. Resize the object so you can see it better.
    Resize
  4. Sometimes resizing it takes it off the screen and the Object’s Origin is not very intuitive  For that, I change the Object’s Origin to the Center of the Mass.  I do that by going to Object->Transform->Center of Mass
    Object Transform Origin to 3D Cursor
  5. Then I can change all the Transform coordinates to 0,0,0 to center my new SVG
    PUt ot 0 0 0
  6. SVGs pull in as Curves.  You’ll want to convert it to a Mesh before doing anything with it.  You can do that by going to Object->Convert to->Mesh from Curve/Meta/Serf/Text
    Convert To Mesh
  7. OPTIONAL – Get Rid of Black Color
    When I was new to Blender and Inkscape, I could not figure out why my Inkscape SVGs were all black… and I just did not know enough to find the right keywords to Google.  Later when I learned about Materials, it will started to click.  The SVGs import in with a Default Material.  If you want to get rid of that, click on the Materials icon for your object, click on the black material and hit to get rid of it.
    Getting Rid of Black
  8. With your newly converted Mesh selected, switch to Edit mode.Switch to Edit Mode
  9. Click A to select all vertices.
  10. Go to Extrude->Region to give your 2D Object some Depth.  If you can you the mouse to size or type in a measurement– for example 0.5 for 0.5mm.Extrude Region
  11. And then you have a 3D Object in Blender from an SVG file.3D Object

What I Have in the Works for #MakerFaireNova

At the time of publishing this video, I have about 8 days left until Maker Faire Nova on March 19, 2017. More information about the event and tickets can be purchased at http://nova.makerfaire.com/

For my third time participating, I am focusing on 3D prints with embedded elements. With the help of my MakerGear M2, the Wanhao Duplicator i3, and my ever trusty Simplify3D, here’s what I got brewing:

Embedded Prints Within Prints

  • Glowing Anglerfish
  • Multi-colored Gyro Cube
  • Giant Spinning PokeStop*

*I may have attached it differently had I seen Joel Telling’s 200mm bridge first over at 3D Printing Nerd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL0nWJ__PNM : )

Embedded Mirrors

  • The mirrored candleholder
  • A mirrored vase*

*The mirrored vase can also be seen on A Pyro Design’s channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IL3q7-osqE

Embedded Nuts

  • Taphandles (as seen in my last video)
  • WIP – Rhododendron Drawer Pulls

Embedded Sand!

  • Standing Cancer Ribbons
  • A dramatic 131 gram difference with Rockledge Mansion Christmas Ornaments

Embedded Split Rings

  • Work In Progress – A long chain of “Kinetic Houndstooth”. What I’m doing with that…. Phew, to be determined.

Embedded Corks

  • A Wine Holder…Made of Old Wine Corks! : )

Embedded Magnets

Embedding Nuts for WORKING Tap Handles!

For this video, I get to share a fun project I did for a new brewery called Heroic Aleworks! You can find them at http://www.heroicaleworks.com

The owners of Heroic Aleworks, don’t just consider themselves brewers, but nerds as well! As a great compliment to their very geeky tasting room (they even have a bathroom painted like a tardis), they have 3D Printed Tap Handles.

This is a great illustration of the “rapid product development” 3D Printing is touted for. They approached me on a Tuesday and we had working Tap Handles by Friday!

To make the tap handles functional, we embedded a standard 3/8″ nut into the print itself to screw onto the keg hardware and that’s where the project got fun!

This video talks about how thinking about the printing orientation ahead of time impacted the design, particularly with the consideration of the hole for the nut.

Nut Animation - Step3

It also goes over my multiple processes in Simplify 3D and my custom starting and end scripts (same old, same old– very similar to what was used for embedding mirrors and the multi colored Gyro Cube).

Design Notes:
Final Dimensions for my Hole for 3/8″ Nut – 15mm x 17.8mm x 9mm
Final Dimensions for Octagon Hole for Bolt – 11mm Diameter

Custom Ending Script for my processes:
G91 ; relative mode
G1 Z100 ; lift 100mm

Custom Starting Script for Third Process
G90 ; absolute mode

Custom Starting Script for Final Process (After Color Change)
G92 E0 ; zero extruder
G1 E25 F225 ; purge nozzle
G92 E0 ; zero extruder
G90 ; absolute mode

Thanks for watching!

My Model at CES!!!

Well a hat tip to the impressively, eagle-eyed Joel Telling for noticing this. One of my models, the Spinning PokeStop Ornament, was one of the showcase prints at a booth at CES. I’m not sure if they followed the attribution clause of my Creative Commons Licensing…. but I’m still excited that a model of mine was used.

Slides for 3D Printing and Crafts Presentation

Last Thursday night, I had the delight of participating in a Meetup with the Delaware 3D Printing Group. The event was hosted by Printed Solid. The group was kind enough to let me yammer on about my 3D Printed Crafts. :) I very much enjoyed chatting with other printing enthusiasts and left the event invigorated. I should make it a point to do an event like this every November when the fatigue that accompanies Cyber Week looms in my brain. :)

For those who missed it, I do have all my slides up on SlideShare.

Using Inkscape and Tinkercad to Customize Halloween Pendants

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

My very first Thingiverse upload was glowing pumpkin pendants/pins for kids.  This video hits briefly on how I print these via Multi-processes in Simplify3D (Spoiler alert – they are three separate prints).  It will also show you how you can import in the pendant template into TinkerCAD and quickly make your own customizations.  Finally, have a drawing you want to use?  I’ll go over using Inkscape to make a SVG file from a black and white image/photo/scan that you can also pull into TinkerCAD to “carve” your pumpkin.
All the pumpkin models, including the template are up on Thingiverse at:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1074202
Need help with Simplify3D Multiple Processes?  I learned from THIS Joel Telling video:
https://youtu.be/ZHe2_h1nQG4
TinkerCAD is free with nothing to install– http://www.tinkercad.com
Finally, Inkscape is also free and can be downloaded at http://www.inkscape.org.
The Starting and Stopping Points of My Processes
0 – 1.5mm – Black or Green
1.5 – 2mm – GlowFill
2mm – rest – Orange

What in the World Has Vicky Been Up To?!!?

I’m back with 3D Printings after a bit of a hiatus and I have a lot to catch you up on!

Printed Solid Grand Opening!
A freaking wonderful, invigorating event. Joel Telling’s overview of the event can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnZqMnokjpw

What does TGAW stand for? That is answered in Joel’s interview with me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REvIWbER_Gc

Anglerfish
Blog post with more details on the creation of my bronzeFill/GlowFill Anglerfish. I do have one more if you happen to covet one. 😉
http://tgaw.com/wp/?p=307

Bow Ties!
I’ll work on a video about their design in Blender and the attachment design in OpenSCAD. It’ll use words like “Texture”, “Baking”, “Displacement Maps” and “Boolean Intersection”. In the meantime, I do have some listed on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/VickyTGAW

Land’s End Gazebo
The real live gazebo in Sayville, NY can be found here http://www.landsendweddings.com/

Geocoin
Check out the AMAZING family I am designing for. You couldn’t get better inspiration than that!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znnSSlJF79w

Make Your Empty Filament Spools into a Shelf
As promised, the model is up on Thingiverse as well as the original OpenSCAD code.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1677024

Print in Place Gyro Cube!
Wanna beta test my version of the Gyro Cube on YOUR printer? Lemme know!

Thanks for watching! Happy Printing!

Fixing a KidKraft Deluxe Garage Playset with Tinkercad!


Watch or Listen to This Blog Post Above

For Christmas, we got a hand-me-down KidKraft Deluxe Garage Playset.

3D Printing - Elevator Fix - KidKraft Deluxe Garage Playset

Wonderful! There was only one minor issue– it was missing some kind of piece at the top of the elevator. As a result, the elevator did not go up and down. This caused some discontent for my two year old. At first, I would tie a toothpick at the end of the string and that would allow him to raise and lower the elevator for a while… but it frequently came undone. I thought, “Hey. I have a 3D Printer. I had TinkerCAD. I can do a lot better than a toothpick.”

One Saturday morning, the kids and I did just that. Our first step – calipers, which both children love to play with.

3D Printing - Elevator Fix - Calipers

I…uh…. I retook all the measurements for myself after they were done.

Then we pulled up the free and web-based TinkerCAD. As you may know, I do a great deal of modeling in Blender. I have found the colorful interface of TinkerCAD to be much more conducive to “keeping the attention of my kids.” In this case, they sat in my lap and we modeled it together.

The Model
This was a very simple design. We just had three pieces:

  1. A cylinder that I sized to the exact width of the hole we measured in the playset. Usually I put in 0.5mm clearances, but for this, I wanted a snug fit. It would even be okay if I had to force the part in.
    MainBarrell
  2. There was also a second flat cylinder in the bottom. This was to make sure we couldn’t just pull or push the part all the way through the hole.

    StopperCylinder

  3. At the top, I used a tube. I used the Rotate handles (the little arrow icons) to rotate the tube 90 degrees.

    Tip– If you hold down the Shift key while you rotate, you can rotate at 45 degree intervals.

    Hook

Tip: Since I was working with exact measurements, I dragged a Ruler object to my Workplane which allows me to type in the dimensions of my parts.

Once I had all the parts on my workplane, I selected them all and went to Adjust->Align…

Adjust Align

This allowed me to center them all with each other.

Aligning

AlignAfter

Moment of Truth
We made pancakes while the part printed and then we had a moment of truth. I was happy to discover our calipers did not lead us astray, the part fit AND the elevator worked.

InstalledPiece

SaganUsingElevator

Between the pancakes and this toy fix, it was a very productive Saturday morning. My Mom self esteem was at an all time high. Don’t worry– I was back to normal by the afternoon (after unsavory Mom tasks like “saying No” and “wiping butts”). : )

P.S. If you happen to have a KidKraft Deluxe Garage Playset in the need of the same part, it is free for download and use on TinkerCAD!

Embedding Mirrors Into Prints with Simplify3D

My sister turned 40 this month and get this– I have never, ever, ever printed her anything. I printed something for her husband, but not her. Bad Vicky! That definitely needed to change. Her house is a very visually stimulating house. They have a variety of lighting and effects– think blacklights, giant flatscreens with screensavers dancing to the music, lasers making patterns on the walls, lava lamps. I wanted my design to fit in and interact with the lighting in her house. I wanted something with mirrors.

Designing
At Michael’s I bought little mosaic mirrors– 35 of them for $1.99.

3D Printing Mosiac Mirror Tiles

Then I got out the trusty calipers. There was some variance in the measurements, but the mirrors were pretty much 15 millimeters by 15 millimeters and 1.75 thick. I designed in cavities into my model for the placement of the mirrors. I used 0.5 millimeter clearance– which meant my “hole” came out to 16 x 16 millimeters and 2.25 thick.

All my design work was in Blender. I decided my design was going to built out of a series of 18 x 18 millimeters squares– each ready to hold a mirror. I used some simple math to figure out how many mirrors I would need to be a good stand for a 3″ pillar LED candle and the ultimate radius of my final product.

3D Printing - MATH!

I made one template square and put in the proper placement of where it would be in the final holder. Another simple math equation told me how many degrees I would have to angle each piece.

360 degrees / # of Mirrors

So for example, in a design with 15 mirrors, each piece would be angled 24 degrees from the previous one. If I did 14 mirrors, each piece would be angled 25.714 from each other.

In Blender, when you rotate items, you are rotating around the Point of Origin of that object (where the little yellow dot appears when you select the Object).

Usually this is the Center of Mass of the object, but guess what! You can control it and the origin doesn’t have to be in the object itself. Once I had my template square in its proper position in the final candle holder, I placed my 3D Cursor at 0,0,0.

Blender - Setting 3D Cursor

I went to Object->Transform->Origin to 3D Cursor.

Blender - Origin to 3D Cursor

This meant the origin was right smack in the middle of my candle holder. It also meant, when I rotate, I rotate around that point.

So I proceeded to Duplicate the square, hit R (for Rotate), hit Z (for around the Z axis) and then type in my angle (25.714).

Blender - Rotate 25.714 along Z Axis

I would then Duplicate that square and Rotate it and so on until I had my entire ring. I did Object->Join to merge all my panel pieces into a single object.

Blender - Object Join

I switched to Edit mode and did some cleanup. I Merged Vertices that were close together and then added in new Faces to fill in the gap.

Blender - Vertices Cleanup

Blender - Filler Faces

The inside of the candle holder is a 14-sided Cylinder. When you add a new Cylinder, you can specify the Number of Sides. I made it match the number of mirrors.

Blender - Inside Cylinder - 14 Sides

I cheated with the placement of the three feet. I added a 3-sided Circle and used that to help me determine where the place my feet.

Blender - 3D Sided Circle To Help with Foot Placement

Under Modifiers I did a Boolean Union on my panel piece, my inside cylinder and my feet and voila– I had a model!

Slicing – Simplify3D
In Simplify3D, I set up two separate processes. The first process ran from the 0.00mm – 17.00mm (You can set that up in the Advanced tab under Layer Modifications). That is the point right before my mirror cavities would get sealed up.

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Layer Modification Settings for the Bottom

Usually when a process finishes, it’ll run a default ending process– turning off the extruder and disabling the motors, completely dropping the bed. I didn’t want that to happen. In this case, I just wanted the bed to drop down enough for me to put those mirrors in without burning myself and more importantly, get that hot nozzle off my print so it isn’t melting and deforming it and making it hard for me to slide my mirrors in. I went under Scripts and customized my Ending Script. Instead of the usual process, I did two simple steps:

1) I changed it to Relative mode, so my next instruction would use the nozzle’s current position as it’s starting point
2) I told it to move the nozzle up 100mm.

G91 ; relative mode
G1 Z100 ; lift 100mm

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Ending Script for Bottom

When I prepared just that process for printing, you could see how it was going to stop while I still had openings for my mirrors.

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Selecting the First Process

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Preview of First Process

My second process was set up to run from 17.10mm on (again under the Advanced tab)
3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Layer Modification Settings for the Second Process

When a process begins, there are a number of things the printer typically does at the beginning such as turning on the extruder, turning on the fans, homing the axis’s, running off the side of the bed and oozing some filament. I didn’t want to do this for my second process. My axis’s are already homed, my extruder is already heated up, my filament is already flowing. All I had to do was set my printer back to Absolute mode and go. So for this second process, I went under Scripts and customized the Starting Script.

G90 ; absolute mode

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Starting Script for Second Process

A preview of the second process, illustrates how the mirrors will get sealed in by the print.

3D Printing with Mirrors - Simplify 3D - Preview of Second Process

The process worked out fantastically (Watch it in Action in the YouTube video above– starting at about 7 minutes in).

All in all I did three different designs for my sister.

3D Printing - Embedding Mirrors in Prints

I loved the final product so much I had to make another for myself.

3D Printing with Embedded Mirrors - Heart and Reflection

They ended up looking fantastic stacked. My sister used them as a platform for her Venom action figure. : )

3D Printing - Venon is Victorious on the Mirrored Candle Holders