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In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the steps of designing a crown for Macbeth. To give the prop a bit of symbolism, we’ll make it up of red and black daggers, to represent the violence and ambition it took Macbeth to ascend to the throne.

If you’re a teacher, designing unique and meaningful stage props is a great way to engage students in the dramatic arts, while putting more quantitative design skills to work. The Dramatic Props as Metaphor project is intended to help you see how a combination of Autodesk software, the digital skills tutorials, and the Design Thinking process can be used to enhance understanding of a literary work and strengthen writing and speaking skills.

You can find a complete lesson plan devoted to this project, as well as instructional materials like learning objectives, test materials, and evaluation rubrics attached below. Additionally, here are a couple introductory videos to get you started on the right foot.



Step 1: Download 123D Design and Meshmixer

Before you start, download and install Autodesk 123D Design (it’s totally free). 123D Design makes it easy to manipulate all kinds of shapes and create viable designs using numerous materials. You will also need to download and install Meshmixer (also totally free). You can find general tutorials on Meshmixer here, and for a general tour of the 123D Design interface and commands, see:


Step 2: Sketch the Dagger

Draw a line the desired length of the dagger for frame of reference using the Polyline tool. Use the Spline tool to sketch the outline of the blade. Edit and drag the anchors until you have a shape that you like.

Use the Polyline tool to close the base of the blade. Again, use the Spline tool to sketch and edit the hilt.

Sketch half the handle using the Polyline and 3 point arc tools. Adjust the sketch as necessary, and separate the pommel from the handle using the Polyline tool.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:


Step 3: Create a 3D Model of the Dagger

Use the Revolve tool to revolve the pommel. Again, use the Revolve tool to revolve the handle, but be sure to revolve it as a new solid to keep it separate from the pommel.

Use the Extrude tool to make the hilt 3-dimensional. Again, be sure to create new solid.

Next, extrude the blade as a new solid.

To align the blade and hilt with the center of the handle, use the Move tool.

Give the blade an edge using the Chamfer tool. Modify the handle and the hilt using the Chamfer and Fillet tools.

Lastly, add materials.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 4: Group and Duplicate the Daggers

Select all of the parts of the tagger, and click the Group button. You can test whether or not it’s all grouped together simply by dragging the dagger.

Move the dagger away from the sketch plane the radius of the crown. If you’d like to make the crown a little creepier, tilt the dagger at an angle.

Using the circular pattern tool, and the vertical line used to create the handle as the axis, pattern the crown.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 5: Create and Pattern the Connectors

Use the Measure tool to measure the distance between the daggers (24mm in this example). Use the polyline tool to sketch the cross piece longer than the distance between the daggers. Sketch the rest of the piece as desired using the Spline and Polyline tools. Clean up the sketch using the Trim tool.

Use the Extrude tool to make the connector 3D. Add Chamfers to make it more ornate.

Use the Move tool to move the connector into position, and add Material.

Using the circular pattern tool, and the vertical line used to create the handle as the axis, pattern the connectors.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 6: Export and Open in Meshmixer

First, save your crown as a new file. Use the Combine tool to combine all models into a single part. Save this as a different file, and export as .STL.

Open Meshmixer, and import your .STL file. (If you don’t have Meshmixer installed on your computer, download it here)[SCREEN SHOT]

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 7: Prepare for 3D Printing

Use the Edit>Transform tool to rotate the crown, and set it into the ground plane. Use the Edit>Plane Cut tool to trim off material below the ground plane.

Use Analysis>Overhang to identify all of the sections of the crown potentially in need of support. Support all overhangs. Add additional supports beneath the pommel of each dagger, and reinforce weaker looking supports.

When you’re satisfied with your model, export it as an Object file.

For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 8: Print!

In order to print your crown on your MakerBot, you will need to download and install the latest version of the Makerware™ software from MakerBot. The software is free of charge and can be downloaded here.

Now, open your crown in Makerware. Adjust your prototype as necessary, and click the "Make" button. Select your printer and materials, and send it to the printer! If your printer doesn't run Makerware, you can try opening the Object file with whatever software it uses, or export an .STL file, which will allow you to use any software your printer requires.

Lastly, if you don’t have a 3D printer, places like TechShop have the tools to turn your design files into physical objects, and staff the people who can show you how. Places like Shapeways can even print them for you.

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