Happy Holidays, #NationofMakers!
I designed a holiday ornament based upon the US highways that connect our great nation. I started with a line drawing, to scale (aside from road width) of every highway in the United States. I then used apps and the 3D printing service Shapeways to make my design come to life.
Step 1: Trace or Draw Your Map Boldly
I chose the continental US, you can choose any map you'd like!
Trace the highways our route that you want to highlight in your ornament or coaster or pendant (this particular model works as all three).
I started with a thin point sharpie and it wasn't enough to translate the way I wanted into 3D printing, a thicker tip and a larger drawing plane proved to be the best solution for me.
Take this line drawing and convert it to black and white. Save as a jpg or png. This mutes other roads and lines you may not have used.
Step 2: Upload Your Image to Shapeways 2D to 3D Creator
Shapeways 2D to 3D creator app lets anyone become a designer by converting 2D line art into 3D .stl files.
All you have to do is:
Upload your image file to the Shapeways 2D to 3D app & scale the size of the final product you want to create, both in thickness and in width across.
It's very easy & worth a try! A fun way to get the family 3D printing as well.
Step 3: Select the Material You Most Want on Your Tree & Print!
Shapeways offers nearly 50 different materials and finishes. Take a look and see what suits your tree best.
Most affordably, their nylon plastic is a great place to start. The Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic is also fun, allowing you to put lights behind it to shine through its semi-transparent finish.
With a bit of tweaking, I'd love to print this ornament in steel, but for this year's tree, I chose two options: white, strong and flexible plastic and Frosted Ultra Detail.
Step 4: Enjoy and Attach to Your Tree!
While I haven't set my tree up yet, I have a batch of these currently being printed to be strung around the branches. I have a bigger one I'll be hanging from my mistletoe, just for fun.
We are a wonderful #NationOfMakers, celebrate our collaborative creative force and adorn your tree with our great nation :).
Here is the .stl of my original for your download should you wish to create your own at home.