Introduction: 3D Printed Flower Ring
I work at GoPrint3D, a company that specialises in 3D printing products and services based in the UK.
My 4 year old daughter kept on asking for a flower ring, so I sat her on my lap and we designed this "together".
It's really popular, everyone seemed to like the design, and it took around 5-10 minutes to print (depending on how many 3D printers you have access to).
Step 1: Measure Your Finger
Before you start designing you are going to need to measure the width of your finger.
Originally I did this by taking the circumference of the finger, but this didn't work so well as the finger isn't a perfect circle.
The quickest way to do this is to take a ruler and just measure the width of your finger, make sure you record the width in millimetres (mm).
Step 2: Create a New Design in Tinkercad
Tinkercad is a great piece of software. It's very easy to use and even better it is cloud based, so you can be up and running in minutes. If you haven't got a Tinkercad account I suggest you go signup (you can use the same account as your Instructables account - both are owned by Autodesk!)
Once you are logged into your Tinkercad account click the blue "Create new design" button.
You should now be presented with a blank canvas on which you can start creating your ring.
Step 3: Generate Ring Shape
You are going to want to generate a ring shape, fortunately there is a brilliant one created by Tinkercad that you can use as a starting point.
Go to Shape Generators > Tinkercad > Ring by Tinkercad
Drag this ring onto your Workspace.
You then need to modify the size of the ring shape. I recommend leaving the height (which is actually going to end up being the width of the ring) as 5mm and the diameter as the width of your finger measured in mm (as done earlier).
You can do this by dragging the sliders to match your requirements. You might want to make the diameter a bit wider than the width of your finger, but that's not an issue as you can always re-size and print to fit later if it doesn't fit perfectly.
If you struggle with this bit, just watch the video and it should make it clear.
Step 4: Creating the Male Connector
The next bit is a little bit more complicated, but still very straightforward in the grand scheme of things. If you get stuck, watch the video.
You need to create a male connector which will snap fit with the female connector on your flower that we will create later on in the tutorial.
I recommend using a hexagon shape as it prints quite well and it will prevent any twisting motion. To create a hexagonal prism please do the following from the side bar:
Geometric > Hexagonal Prism
Then drag it in on to the workspace, away from the ring. You will find there are no measurements, so you will need to drag in a ruler helper. To do this, do the same as you did with the hexagonal prism, but instead go to:
Helpers > Ruler
Once you drag that onto the workspace you should see some measurements - these are in mm by default.
The default measurements of this shape are: 20 x 17.32 x 20 high. You will need to change these to: 5.77 x 5 x 2.5 high.
Next you need to rotate the model so that the 5mm side of the hexagonal prism is standing vertically with a flat edge on the bottom. This will push it below the floor, so just modify the vertical distance from a minus number to 0.
Once you've rotated it you need to align it with the ring and then move it close enough so that the hexagonal prism is embedded inside the ring (there shouldn't be any gaps between the ring and the hexagonal prism, nor should the prism be sticking out on the inside of the ring).
Finally you can rename your design by going to:
Menu > Design > Properties
This is one half of the ring you will be printing, so I would call it something like "Ring - Base" (but I'll leave that up to you). Don't forget to save your changes!
Step 5: Creating the "Flower"
Feel free to play around with this if you like, the only bit that is important is that you maintain the thickness of the flower (in the middle at least where the female connector is going). Watch the video if you have difficulty.
Create new design
Firstly you need to click back on to the Tinkercad logo, this is where allyour designs are saved. You need to create a new design. This is so you have two separate files which can be printed separately, in different colours, or on different 3D printers (if you have that luxury).
Create the petals
To create the petals, I simply used a cylinder, shrank it down to 2.5mm high and change the diameter to 10mm and then duplicated it 5 times to make a flower looking item, it's works as it looks a bit retro.
To create the cylinder go to Geometric > Cylinder
To change the dimensions drag in a ruler from Helpers > Ruler
Change the dimensions of your cylinder to 10mm by 10mm by 2.5mm high.
Whilst your cylinder is selected go to Edit > Duplicate on the main menu, duplicate it 4 times so you have 5 discs.
(Tip: It will create the duplicates directly over the original, but if you drag the first one a little bit away and hit duplicate it should space them out for you a bit instead.)
Next arrange the petals so they look like a flower, ensure they overlap nicely in the middle.
Finally you need to group the petals into one solid piece, to do this select them all and click "Group" in the top menu.
Step 6: Creating the Female Connector
This is probably the most difficult bit. The measurements may depend on the accuracy of your 3D printer. I was using the Ultimaker 2 and the Ultimaker 2 Extended. If you have a cheaper 3D printer you may wish to give it a bit more of a gap, and perhaps use glue to secure it properly.
Watch the video before you get started.
So the connector we are going to create is actually going to be a gap in your existing flower. We'll use the same hexagonal shape as before, but we need it to be a tiny bit bigger.
Drag in a new hexagonal prism as before and give it the dimensions: 6mm x 5.2mm x 3.5mm high.
Then change the shape to be "Hole" using the inspector menu whilst you have the model selected.
Next position it in the middle of the flower, and adjust its position on the z axis by changing it to -0.5mm. This should mean there is a 0.5mm extra above and below the flower, this is to prevent any model errors when it comes to 3D printing.
Group all the models on your workspace and it should create a nice flower shape with a socket for your connector.
Finally, rename your design as "Ring - Flower".
Step 7: Downloading Your Files for 3D Printing
Finally you need to download your files for 3D printing. To do this go to the Tinkercad homepage, this should list all your designs.
You need to download:
- Ring - Base
- Ring - Flower
(or whatever you named them).
To do this, click on the thumbnail preview image of the design in question (not "tinker this" or the cog), then click "Download for 3D Printing" and select ".STL".
Your file should now download to your hard drive, do this for both the ring base and the ring flower.
Step 8: 3D Printing!
Finally, the exciting bit, printing your designs off!
Here is the print settings I would recommend:
Layer resolution: 200 microns (100 microns is probably better, but you won't notice much difference and it's twice as quick).
I'd turn off support and brim - it should print easily enough without these.
It may work best printing with raft, but you can try without to begin with and see how it goes.
I would select different colours for each, and I would recommend PLA as your material.
Here's a video of mine printing.
Step 9: Connecting the Parts
The final bit is fairly easy. Put your flower face down on a desk, line up the ring above it with the hexagonal connector in alignment, then using a pen through the ring, push down on the pen until it clicks into place.
If they don't fit at first you may need to trim some lose ends off with a sharp knife - be careful not to cut yourself (perhaps wear gloves in case your hand slips). You may have to push quite hard.