Despite being raised Jewish, I came across the 3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge, and naturally was completely stoked!
Through my experience with 3D modeling and printing, I have acquired a true appreciation for forms that are simple, yet elegant. For my ornament, I decided to create an ice skate because of its stunning, recognizable form, along with it's seasonal appropriateness. I applied a pattern to the ice skate's surface inspired by lace that I believe embodies the aesthetic of the season.
This ornament was modeled using Rhino. While I would love to write a detailed Instructable describing each step of the modeling process, I decided against it due to its complexity. Despite this, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding how I went about modeling this ornament.
Step 1: Print the File (with a Professional Grade 3D Printer)
This file is intended to be printed with a professional grade 3D printer. When I say "professional grade", what I'm really trying to get at is that you will get the best results printing this model on a 3D printer with easily removable support material. A printer such as a Z-Corp or Objet would work wonderfully. Sending the file off to Shapeways to be printed with any of their materials is also a fantastic option.
Step 2: Print the File (with a RepRap Printer)
While I will admit the ornament pictured in the cover photo of this Instructable was created using a RepRap Printer, I don't recommend printing it this way. Having designed this ornament, I wanted to create a prototype to verify that printing the ice skate at the scale specified in the description for the 3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge would work. A Makerbot Replicator 2 was what I had access to for creating my prototype, so that is what I ended up using.
To create the prototype for my ornament, I printed the ice skate in two halves using a raft and support material. I then removed the support material using tweezers and nail scissors. Removing the support material was a very tedious process, and took a very very long time. At the model's current scale, the model's surface is very fragile, and removing the support material can cause parts of the surface to break off. After removing the support material, I used gel super glue to fuse the two halves together.
If you insist on printing this ornament with a Rep Rap Printer, I suggest scaling the model up a bit. This will help in making the outside surface less fragile, therefore much easier to remove the support material.
Step 3: Attach Ornament to Tree
To attach the ornament to a tree, I used a piece of thin wire. Wire works great because it can easily be strung through the cut-outs in the surface of the ornament. There is a clear path at the top of the back of the ornament where you can string your piece of wire through. Once you have done this twist the ends of the wire together so that your ornament is now attached by a loop. If you have cut your wire long enough, this should leave a decent amount of wire left to wrap around the tree branch.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this Instructable as much as I enjoyed making it! Happy Holidays!