3D Printing with Shapeways.com and Sketchup - Secret Decoder Wheel !

Picture of 3D Printing with Shapeways.com and Sketchup - Secret Decoder Wheel !
Summer 2013 update: I reprinted this decoder wheel in Stainless steel for a cost including shipping of $28.30. Very happy with the quality and feel of this material, very hard to tell that this is made via 3D printing

I've wanted to try 3D printing for quite some time but I also didn't want to spend a bunch of money on it. So when I found out about Shapeways.com and how I could use the free 3D drawing tool Sketchup to create 3D printed objects at a reasonable price, I was in!

What to Create?
One of my hobbies is Geocaching, so when it came to choosing something to create, I decided a coder/decoder wheel would be neat. This is a little desk toy which makes it easy to work with the ROT13 encryption commonly found on geocaching.com logs (but I really just wanted another cool toy to display on my desk :-) )

This Instructable will:
  • Describe 3D Printing, Shapeways.com and Google Sketchup
  • Walk you through the steps of creating a 3D CAD style drawing (including installing some required plugins)
  • Walk you through the steps of exporting, uploading and ordering your 3D printed design
  • Give you some additional background info and references on my experiences with 3D printing.
  • I'll also provide you with the google Sketchup design so you can get a headstart and customize it to your liking
Let's design and print something!