Category Archives: 3D Modeling

Print Diary – July 26th – Icterus galbula

On the printing side of things, I did 3 Sharkz and 2 3D Hub Marvin keychains in colorFabb’s GlowFill. I had company over, including a 6 year old, a 9 year old, and a 10 year. Of course, I had to show them the 3D Printer and what’s better for kids than GlowFill?

The 3D Printer was a hit. I knew I was really connecting with the oldest child, but as they were departing, the youngest told me, “I’m going to ask Santa for a 3D Printer… so my Mommy can save her money.”

“Thanks Vicky!” The mom joked when she heard that news.

P.S. I added some new cooling settings and now my 3D Hub Marvins are better than eva!!!

On the modeling side, I do have a working model of a new bird – Icterus galbula, better known as the Baltimore Oriole. I do reside near Maryland, but really I was drawn to this bird because my translucent orange filament is fabulous and I thought the black and the orange color combination was going to translate well to a print. We shall find out if I’m right tomorrow! : )

WIP - Oriole

Print Diary – July 23, 2015 – The Orphaned Swans and the Lost Mobius Strip

One of the things I started designing this summer was for my cousin’s wedding. Like me, he is a computer programmer and like my husband and I, his nuptials also celebrated geek culture. Need proof? Final Fantasy was part of his wedding music and he wore Star Wars crocs during the ceremony.

I had tossed around numerous projects. His wedding was in held in The National Aviary. I love “Hearts in Nature” and have seen stunning photographs of two swans making a heart. It seemed like a perfect thing. I pulled up my Blender and started modeling my swans. My process was very similar to what you would find in
Jjannaway3D’s Modeling A Velociraptor in Blender Series.

3D Modeling - Swan

And then… I had a tough question… “Okay, now what do I make out of these swans?” Napkin rings (and the swans did look great curved)? Napkin holder? Hook for oven mitts?

Then I thought, “Oh, he’s into computers, how about I make them into a USB/Sandisk holder.” But then I closed my eyes and really tried to picture my cousin with these swans on his desk. I just couldn’t see it. I loved the swans– I was happy with where they were going, but they no longer seemed to be a good fit.

What *did* seem to be a good fit was a Möbius Strip. And how cool would that be? A Möbius Strip USB holder! *I* want one! My process of modelling the strip itself was very similar to John Malcolm’s Modeling a Mobius Strip Pendant In Blender 2.73. My cross section was a little more stylized (instead of a straight square). After I applied the Bend Simple Distort, I made placeholder cubes for my USB slots (I did that afterwards as I wanted them to retain their measurements and not get distorted during the bend) and voila! I had my model!!!

All along I intended this to be a Shapeways order, but I decided to give it a go on the MakerGear M2. I printed with 0.25 layers and 30% infill in my fabulous new Mint Turquoise Filament from ColorFabb (via PrintedSolid).

Six hours later, I had my print.

I was really digging the print lines on the top. I thought they were neat and added an additional pattern to the mix.

Holy crap, I thought, Maybe this isn’t a Shapeways order!

Mobius USB Holder- Top

Then I turned it over, removed the supports, and looked at where the supports were.

Yikes— Maybe it *is* a Shapeways order

Mobius USB Holder - Bottom (Before Sanding)

Some quick sanding with 120 grit paper, however, changed my mind completely. I didn’t even get to the 220 or 400 grit. After just that first sanding, my husband and I had to concentrate to figure out which was the top and which was the bottom. AMAZING.

“Where are the ‘after’ pictures,” you may ask. “Document your claim!” You may say.

Well, there aren’t any.

I let my kids play with it… outside…in the yard… where there is all this green shrubbery.

They lost it. Three adults scoured the yard and that Mint Turquoise filament has done an excellent job of concealing itself. Interrogations of the two year old and the four year old, “Do you know where Mommy’s green toy is?” was just as much of a dead end. I suspect it’ll be winter before I find it again.

A reprint is in my future (an advantage of 3D printing– you can always print another one). Regarding the reprint, ColorFabb has an amusing suggestion:

Playing with Shapeways’ CustomMaker Tool

A faux pas I sometimes make is I value my own designs based on how I perceive their complexity. I am continually surprised at how many people delight in the breastfeeding pendant. Now, it did take me months to make, but that was because I was tending to an infant and learning Blender. : ) It’s probably my simplest design… and the one that is purchased most on Shapeways.

This past May, I may have undervalued another design. With graduation season coming up, my Mom suggested we print some little graduation caps for some family friends. I wasn’t too enthused by the items on Thingiverse, so I spent about an hour one Sunday designing my own. I added a little bit of personalization to each cap by adding the graduate’s name on the top. In my mind– pretty simple. Hey, I did it AND ate a waffle at the same time. I didn’t even consider uploading it anywhere.

Grad Cap

But it turned out the little caps were well received, particularly with one high school graduate…whose friends suddenly wanted their own (two days before graduation). I just did not anticipate such a simple design would provoke such interest.

Last week, Shapeways announced a new pilot feature– the CustomMaker. I had set up personalized products before with Shapeways (School Bus Wine Stopper, Cancer Ribbon, Woven Heart Ornament). Previously, it was a fairly involved process where you would set up what variables you wanted to prompt the customer for. The customer would submit those details with the order. You’d manually make the model and upload it back up to fulfill the order.

CustomMaker automates that process– it modifies the model for you. Not only that, it’s much easier to setup and gives the buyer instant previews of how the product will look!

And I had just the model to test out the new feature! So this past Sunday (after eating waffles, it’s our Sunday tradition), I tried my hand at setting it up. It was super easy.

You can add a Text Box and/or an Image Box (where the customer can upload an image) to your model. You get to drag and drop and resize as needed, pick whether you want it engraved or embossed, and you get to pick the size of that detail (I went with 0.5 mm)

Shapeways Customizer

If you have a hard time visualizing or decided between engraving and embossing, you can click on Preview Settings.
Shapeways Customizer- Preview

The top of my graduation cap is angled. I was curious to see what the text would do about that. I was delighted to see the feature was smart enough to angle the text so it was flush with the top of the cap.

Shapeways Customizer - Angles Text

Then you simply Save Changes are you are ready! When the customer comes to my graduation cap page, he/she can fill in the text and the preview on the screen refreshes right away. With CustomMaker, the guess work is eliminated. The customer has an immediate feel for what he/she is ordering.

I went ahead and ordered one to try it out. It turns out, there was one very special grad I overlooked in June. I owe him a gift card… and a little cap to boot.

Shapeways - Customizer - Ordering

Wanna Learn More?
Check out Shapeways’ Getting Started with Custom Maker Tool Tutorial

Print Diary – July 14, 2015

M2 Lubrication
Today I did something scary (for me). My comfort level is more in the modeling and the software side, but the MakerGear M2 was due for some monthly maintenance. According to the documentation I received with the printer, I needed to:

Clean the X and Y linear rails, and the Z leadscrew, of grease, then apply a fresh coat to each – a dot of white lithium grease in each of the long grooves on the X and Y rails, and a dot in four consecutive troughs of the Z leadscrew; once applied, move that axis through its full travel multiple times to spread the grease.

Okay. So first step. I needed to confirm what I thought was the X and Y rails and the Z leadscrew was accurate. With that, I did some poking in the M2 Assembly Instructions. My conclusion seemed accurate (I’m happy to consider evidence to the contrary).

M2 Lubrication - Rails and Leadscrew

The M2 What’s in the Box manual that shipped with my printer helpfully had pictures of the Lithium Grease and the Applicator, so I knew exactly what supplies to use.

M2 Lubrication - Supplies

I did my dabbing.

M2 Lubrication - Z Leadscrew M2 Lubrication - Y Axis

Then I opened my Simplify3D, went to Tools->Machine Control Panel and then clicked on the Jog Controls tab. I used the various X, Y, and Z movements to move the printer around to spread the grease.

M2 Lubicration Process Via Simplify3D

It turned out to be pretty easy and not very scary at all.

Cardinal Progress
I did a test run of my two-color Cardinal. With a item like this, the point of focus is going to be on the top, so when I slice in Simplify3d, I give some scrutiny to the my top level (As opposed to say a 3D scan of a person– there the top of the object isn’t the center of focus). I noted with my cardinal there was an oddity in the top.

Top Layer - Cardinal - Why This Section

Even though that section was going to be all red, I didn’t want that odd texture in the mix. I wanted a nice, smooth surface for viewing pleasure. I’ve seen this issue before and I knew what I was up against– I didn’t have a completely flat surface where I wanted one.

I opened my modeling software back up (Blender) and the issue was I had a number of vertices that weren’t exactly the same as the others of that level. In the example below -0.00933 instead of 0. This caused the surface to not be exactly flat and when it came to slicing time, the printer has to translate that into layers. To adjust for the non-flat surface, part of the cardinal’s chest did not go as high as everything else.

Top Layer - Vertices

I adjusted my vertices to make them exact and make a nice flat surface. When I sliced again you can see the difference.

Top Layer - Much Better

My test print is coming along. The cardinal is cute, though this doesn’t represent my vision. He’s supposed to have red on his wing with just snippets of black poking through. I had a lapse of concentration during the last filament change to red and ended up mucking up the exchange by going the wrong way on the Z axis.

3D Printed Birds - Chickadee Has a Pal
The Chickadee and His Friend

Live and learn! Tomorrow is another day and another print. : )