Step 2: First attempt

The first attempt was by Marianne, designing a napkin ring using the TinkerCAD (www.tinkercad.com) website.

Unfortunately this didn't work:

1. At the time, something about it (the complexity) meant TinkerCAD couldn't 'join' it, so instead of the STL file (that you need to print an object from) being one solid object, it was an object per letter that overlapped - which seems fine but really causes issues with 'Slicing' software. It seems TinkerCad have now fixed that though, so potentially they are an option if you want to do something like this.

2. If you think of the object sliced from bottom to top as the printer prints it, there are lots of separate pieces and in some places there are pieces that have nothing to be printed on top of (for instance if the middle of the 'M' doesn't touch the bottom). Some 3D printer software can insert 'supports' to get around this, but they take time to pull out, and even more time to print! 

Also, it would have taken ages to design each napkin ring individually...
Hi gfwilliams! <br> <br>Tinkercad here. Congrats on your engagement and WOW! This is going to be some wedding! <br> <br>We read that there were some issues with joining. If you'd like to post the link to your design, we'll take a look, or send us an email: team@tinkercad.com. <br> <br> <br>Best, <br>Tinkercad Team
I've just tried again with TinkerCad and it now appears to join everything just fine. Thanks, it's an awesome tool. I'm amazed how quickly everybody picks it up, even those completely new to 3D!
Sweet. Good to hear =) <br> <br>We are always impressed, too! It's amazing how changing the design of what is normally a very complex tool making it more user-friendly allows everyone to use it! <br> <br>Hope to see more of your designs soon.
Argh you linux uses and your dam code. :]
Problem is, you can't easily do this kind of thing quickly without scripts or a specially made program! Once you have a napkin ring in OpenSCAD, the actual code to automate it is only maybe 10-15 lines of simple scripting - a small price to pay for being able to knock hundreds of personalised 3D prints out!
And that's why coding and script will always be important. <br>I'm thinking about trying to learn a computer language to add to my repertoire, but I'm not really sure with one. Python seems good, especially because it can be used in Blender. But I'm terrible at learning languages :[ so should I read a lot of books about it or looking into learning C++ or some similar base language?
It really depends what you want to do... If you just want to automate tasks and build from there then Python is a really good idea... Once you get in the mindset of not being willing to do repetitive point and click tasks yourself then using a computer suddenly becomes a whole load faster and more satisfying!<br><br>It'll also be a good step to Raspberry PI (or writing code on other embedded devices, such as ReadyNAS).<br><br>I'd say Java was worth a look at. With Eclipse it's got a great IDE that warns you of programming errors as if they were spelling mistakes, the language itself is simple, and it has a good debugger (stepping through code is a great way to help you learn). You're also 90% of the way to writing Android apps, and it's actually quite similar to JavaScript, and a 'nice' subset of C++.<br><br>C++ is great, but unforgiving. It's dead easy to get into bad habits and do things which will cause your code to inexplicably not work or to gobble up memory, and the extra speed it provides really isn't that important for most tasks on PCs now. It'll either make you love programming or completely demotivate you :) To be honest I wouldn't recommend it unless you wanted a career in computing...

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Bio: I enjoy making things - both hardware and software. I run a small company that does consultancy, and also makes the Morphyre Music Visualiser (http://www ... More »
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