Introduction: 3D Printed Box With LED

These step-by-step instructions will guide you through the basics of creating a mini box using Tinkercad and preparing it for 3D printing. Add a small hole for an LED and you really have a project that lights up!

Tinkercad is a free web based CAD program:

Step 1: Make the Lid & Base

1. Under the “Geometric” tab on the right hand side, click and drag a “Star” shape onto the workplane. While holding the SHIFT key, click on the small white box in any corner to change the dimensions of the box. By holding the SHIFT key, it will keep the proportions of the original star. Make the WIDTH of the star 70mm.

2. Select the star and copy and paste (by pressing CTRL+C, and then CTRL+V on your keyboard). Now there are two identical stars. The left star is the lid of the box, and the right star is the base of the box. Adjust the height of the left star to 2mm.

3. To create the base of the box, adjust the height of the right star to 15mm.

Step 2: Hollow Out the Base

4. We are now going to add a hole in the right star to create the hollow shape of our box. Select the right star and copy and paste a new star onto the Workplane. Adjust the height of this star to 20 mm.

5. We want the hole to be slightly smaller than the original star, so that it doesn’t cut away our entire star. With the newest star selected, change the dimensions so that the width is roughly 8 mm SMALLER than the original (in our case, this means that it will be about 62 mm).

6. Select the “hole” button in the top right corner (under Inspector), to convert our new star into a hole.

7. We now need to raise the hole up off of the Workplane, so that we have a base to the bottom of our box. Select the star, click on the black arrow (as shown) and drag upward until the star is 2.50 mm off of the Workplane.

8. In order to align both stars, select both the hole and colored stars (as shown) and click Adjust--->Align…When prompted with the align tool, select the two black dots in the center of the x and y axis (as shown) to align the two stars.

9. When you are finished aligning, click on the “x” next to the “Dismiss Align Tool” to close out of the tool.

Step 3: Create Lip on the Lid

10. In order to prevent the lid of our box from sliding around, we can create a lip that will help it to stay on securely. To do this, the dimensions of the lip need to be slightly smaller than the size of the hole we created in the base. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste the hole, and drag it on top of the lid.

11. Convert the star you copied for the lip from a hole to a shape by simply selecting it and clicking the “color” button under the Inspector tool. Your lip should now look like the picture below.

12. While holding down the SHIFT key, change the dimensions of the lip so that the width is 2mm SMALLER than the hole for the base (in our case, the width should be about 60mm).

13. Adjust the height of the lip to 2.00mm.

14. Again, we need to align the lip and the lid so that they are centered on top of each other. With BOTH the lip and lid selected, click AdjustàAlign on the top toolbar.

15. When you are prompted with the align tool, select the two center black dots (as highlighted in red) to center the lip on top of the lid.

Step 4: Create Holes for LED

16. Now we need to group some items together. Select the two stars on the right that create the base, and click CTRL+G on your keyboard (or click the “Group” button on the toolbar). This will group those objects together so that they are now one object. It should also give you a preview of what your hole looks like.

17. Select the two stars on the left (the lip and lid) and group those together as well.

18. Lastly, we need to create the small hole that fits our LED. First, in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, change the “Snap Grid” from 1.0 to 0.25. Simply drag a “Cylinder Hole” from the side bar onto the workplane. While holding down the SHIFT key, change the dimensions to 5.25mm.

19. Align the hole with the lid the same way that we did earlier. Be sure that both the hole AND the lid are selected prior to grouping. Select the center circles as indicated in red.

20. With both the lid and hole selected, group these two objects together and be sure that the preview looks like this.

Step 5: Printing Your File

21. When you are ready to print your file, under “Design” select “Download for 3D Printing.”

22. Save your file as a .STL

23. Convert the file using Autodesk Print Studio, or your printer’s software.

24. Print your design!


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