Introduction: 3D Papercraft Heart -- Without a 3D Printer!

Picture of 3D Papercraft Heart -- Without a 3D Printer!

3D printers are great. They are also expensive. Which makes them less great. So here is a method of hand-making geometric art without a 3D printer. I'd be lying if I told you this process isn't hard. I'd be lying if I told you that the end result would be perfect. But I'd also be lying if I told you that making things like this isn't extremely fun and rewarding! It is. And it's fun. Did I mention that already?

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

For this project, you'll need both MeshLab and Pepakura. Both of these programs can be used for free, but Pepakura projects cannot be saved unless you buy the full version.

You'll also need to choose something you want to make. For this project, I got on thingiverse.com and found this heart.

Step 2: Adding Facets

Picture of Adding Facets

Open MeshLab and import your mesh (3D model downloaded from Thingiverse). Next, go to "Filter," select "Remeshing, Simplification, and Construction," and select "Simplification: Quadric Edge Collapse Decimation."

Then, change the number of faces from 31,000 to about 100. This makes folding the project manageable. It also adds a geometric beauty to the heart.

*Be sure to export your project.*

Step 3: Flattening the Heart

Picture of Flattening the Heart

Now open Pepakura and import the saved version of the faceted heart. Once it loads, just click "Unfold" and the program will automatically flatten the 3D model. Now print off the heart model on pink/red cardstock. Cut out the flattened heart along the solid lines, then crease along the dotted lines.

Step 4: The Fun Part

This is the fun part. Once you've started to fold the heart, the shape and location of tabs should become obvious. Glue the heart together. This step cannot really be explained, but I'll show it happening (very quickly, and probably unhelpfully) in the video above.

You can now give it as a gift, write a note on it and give it as a 3D card, or stick magnet tape to the back and attach the heart to the refrigerator. Whatever you decide to do, have fun!

Thank you for reading this instructable! If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement please leave them below.

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Bio: I am a maker. As founder of MakerBlog, I enjoy sharing my creations with others.
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