This is a fully functional 8-bit big money piggy bank! My 3yr old daughter need a safe place to keep all her high-stakes rock/paper/scissors winnings. She sat down with me in-front of a clean Sketchup session and we began to construct a piggy bank that Mario would approve of.
Basic 3D printer high level steps (standard for most Printers/Software suites)
1.) Design or download an "STL" file: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STL_(file_format)
2.) Open said "STL" file in a software suite that slices Gcode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-code
3.) Send Gcode to printer for physical object creation
I will attempt to explain my standard workflow in creating 3D prints at home:
1.) I use Sketchup to design my object (.skp)
2.) I make sure the object is "manifold" meaning solid with no holes into the cavity or reversed faces (check my reference below on suggested ruby scripts for Sketchup)
3.) I export the selected object/group in Sketchup then use a ruby script to export the components to a .stl file
4.) I take that .stl file and open it in ReplicatorG (free): http://replicat.org/
5.) I position the object on the virtual build platform and rotate/scale if necessary
6.) I then generate my Gcode from my specified Skeinforge settings: http://fabmetheus.crsndoo.com/wiki/index.php/Skeinforge (don't let this scare you too much, most 3D printers have templates to utilize)
7.) Once I have my Gcode I click "build" and the instructions are sent via USB to my 3D printer and it begins its extrusion process
8.) Smile knowing you are turning digital designs into actual working physical objects!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is a little bit deeper process you could follow to try out 3D printing for "nearly free": http://www.instructables.com/id/Basic-workflow-for-3D-design-in-Sketchup-and-3D-pr/
8-bit Piggy Bank Instructions:
1.) Print the pig PiggyBank body*
2.) Print the belly pan and tail parts
3.) Slide the pan in from the rear and install the tail
4.) I would say "Profit" for this step but you actually store "Profits" in your new divine 8-bit swine!
I tried to optimize this long print with specific platform orientation and internal break-away support columns* to keep structure integrity but if you know of more efficient ways to design large open volume objects do post back! The Sketchup master file is available below for your own piggy pleasures. I tried different mouths and side body art but decided to upload my 3yr old approved vanilla version for dispersion.
*Once your Pig is done you can hand snap the 2 pillars out of the belly to make room for more delicious coins (or anything else you can fit through the slot)!
This is for the Make It Real Challenge!
Grab the Sketchup master file here: http://www.123dapp.com/skp-3D-Model/8-bit-Piggy-Bank/597684
Oh, and for those making solids (.stl) in SketchUp for 3D printing be sure to add an stl export plugin ( (skp_to_dxf.rb) guitar-list.com/download-software/convert-sketchup-skp-files-dxf-or-stl ) and then export in mm for Gcode creation. You also really need the ruby script called "Solid Inspector". It makes chasing manifold issues 200 times easier in SU! Pick it up here: forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=323&t=30504 . There are tons of free ruby scripts for Sketchup out there that totally ROCK!!
If any one is interested I can upload my exported stl's to this instructable for imediate Gcode creation!