This instructable will show you how to make the "Eye of the Ocean" decor piece, using Sketchup and a 3D printer (or printing service such as Shapeways or Sculpteo).

This is designed to allow a light/LED to be installed in the middle, so this can be a lamp/glow toy too! The instructions for the electronics will be in another instructable, though.

Step 1: Make Pearls (spheres)

To make a sphere in sketchup, follow this instruction:


but make one modification: from the center of the horizontal circle, draw a vertical line (blue axis). Then when you create the sphere, you can find the middle of the top. Draw two small lines that intersect at this center point. then you can delete the vertical line. (You may need to right-click on the sphere surface and select 'hide' so you can see if any geometry was leftover inside the sphere. If so, delete it. Then click EDIT-->unhide ALL)

Make the sphere into a component (double click it to select all, then right-click and select 'make component', and give it a name). Make a few copies, and scale them to the right size:

For example:




We can fine-tune the sizes later

Step 2: Make Tentacles

To make tentacles, we will first need to create a segmented cylinder, then make that into a segmented cone (tapered cylinder), then bend that shape around a curve.

Segmented cylinder: draw a circle, use push-pull to turn into into a short cylinder. Use push-pull again, press the ALT key to create a copy of the face, and extrude it further. Repeat this until you have 5 to 7 sections or more.

Segmented cone: use the scale tool to shrink each circle, making each one smaller as you go from one end of the cylinder to the other. Its easiest if you hold down the ALT key while scaling, so the scaling happens around the CENTER of the circle

Now make this into a component.

Make curves: using your favorite arc tool (2-point arc, 3-point arc, Bezier curves plugin, or CurveMaker plugin), make a few different arcs that are the shape of the tentacles you want. Notice the tentacles in my design, some are made from one long arc, others use multiple connect arcs to create a complex back-and-forth wavy tentacle, some even with a spiral at the end. Keep in mind, some tentacles will need to be legs, arms, and some will for a chamber and support a top pearl. Be creative!

Bend cone (component) around a curve: For this, we will need the plugin "Shape Bender" from Chris Fullmer tools. You can download this from the extension warehouse. Once installed: orient your component long-ways along the red axis. Draw a straight line next to it, about the same length as the component. Now: 1) select your component 2) select the shape bender tool 3) click on the straight line, then 4) click on the curve of your choice. It should show a 'start' and 'end' on the curve. If it got it backwards, press the UP arrow on your keyboard and it will flip it. Press enter when you are ready.

Repeat this for all the curves. Now, make a component from each tentacle, and give it a unique name.

Step 3: Make a Disc for the Middle Section

A simple circle, extruded to a cylinder, can join everything together.

1) make a circle at the origin.

2) push-pull it up to 1" or 2" or so, till it looks good.

3) draw a line on the top of the disc from the center to the edge. This will help you locate center, which is VERY helpful for the following steps.

4) Make this into a component

Step 4: Make Arrays of Tentacles

We can use the array copy feature of Sketchup to easily make multiple copies of our components. Further, sketchup will let us do this around a circle! Radial arrays are easy to make.

1) Move a tentacle near the origin, somewhere near (or on) the edge of the disc you just created. (The picture above has the disc HIDDEN, but you can leave it showing to help you with this step)

2) Choose the rotate tool. Click on the origin, or center of the disc.

3) A line will radiate out from center. Make this pass through your component, and click somewhere beyond it (or ON it, if you prefer)

4) begin rotating around. Notice the component moves. press the ALT key so that it will COPY the component instead of moving it. Now we are just moving a copy.

5) move it to approximately 15 or 30 degree mark (or degree of your choice). Click to place.

6) if it wasn't at exactly `5 (or 30 or x degrees), just type the exact number right now. It will move it to that spot.

7) now we need to tell Sketchup how MANY copies of it we want. If we want a full circle, at 30 degrees for example, of these tentacles (as pictured), then we need 12 total. Type 11x (11 copies, plus the 1 original that we left there). For different degrees, we will need different multiples: 360 / (x deg) = total #.

Now repeat this for any tentacle arrays you want. You will need some for legs, like above, some for the sides, some for the top. Be creative! Experiment with different degrees (15, 10, 45, etc) and different number of copies. Don't worry about the middle part yet, we will join it all together later.

Step 5: Make Arrays of Pearls/spheres

Now we get to use the sphere components we made.

Make the arrays just like we did with the tentacles. Very easy.

Place one pearl on the very top. Its helpful to use its center mark to line it up perfectly with center.

Place a small pearl on the edge of the disc (above picture shows disc HIDDEN, but you might want to leave it showing to help with this step). I chose to place mine so it was 1/4 buried into the disc. Size it to desired size, then make an array of it like we instructed. Since you want a whole lot more of these, you probably want a small degree step (5 degrees, 7, 10, whatever) and a lot of multiples (35x or so).

Place a medium-size pearl on the edge of the disc. I placed mine so it was 1/2 buried in the disc. Size appropriately, then make an array.

Step 6: Make a Center Hole

In case you want to add a light/LED, lets make a center hole in the middle of the disc

1) from bottom view, double-click the disc component to enter its edit mode, then use the HEXAGON (or the CIRCLE) tool, and click center

2) make it as wide as you like. At least half an inch big.

3) use push/pull to push it through the disc.

Step 7: Make Leg Bracing

We can copy the disc component, and shrink it a little, to make it a good bracing for the tentacle legs

1) select disc component

2) select MOVE tool

3) click and begin moving the disc. press ALT to make it copy while we do this, and then press the UP arrow to lock it to the BLUE axis (vertical, or z-axis).

4) when its about the right height, click to place

5) now use the scale tool to size it. Click on the corner tab, then hold the ALT key while sizing (so it scales around center). Stop when it looks good.

Step 8: Make the Center Eye Chamber

This is a simple pyramid with a hexagonal base.

1) make hexagonal base, size it correctly

2) make a triangle on one side. Height you can approximate, we will scale it later.

3) Using Bezier curves, make the eye curves

4) Using a circle, make the pupil of the eye

5) use push-pull to make each section a different depth

6) add a back to the triangle, so it will be a solid piece. Cleanup any internal geometry that might be left.

7) Make this into a component

8) array copy this around the center of the hexagon, 60 degrees and 5x (for total of 6 faces)

9) delete hexagon

10) make this hole thing a new component

11) move into place at the center of the tentacles on top of the object

Step 9: Tying It All Together

Finally, we have to merge all the components together, to create a printable model.

(first its a good idea to save a backup copy before proceeding)

1) go into each component and clean up any unwanted geometry: guide lines, construction lines, internal geometry. It saves time to do it at this stage, because it will be replicated across ALL identical components,automatically.


2) select all

3) right-click and select EXPLODE. Give the computer some time to work.

4) right-click and select INTERSECT FACES. select OK for all pop up boxes. Give the computer a LOT of time to work

5) We will have to clean up the internal geometry, the same way we did for the sphere. hide different faces to allow yourself to see whats going on. Don't forget to delete any guidelines/construction lines that were used for centering, etc).

6)when complete, save the file.

7)Scale it to the right size: select ALL, then use your scale tool to size it to the final size you wish. This can be hard to judge, as the scale tool only lets you enter things in relative terms. To scale it to an ABSOLUTE term (i.e. 3 inches, or 10 inches, whatever) use the Tape Measure tool. That is, click across the entire length of the object, then type in the size you want that dimension to be (10 inches, for example). Sketchup will prompt you if you want to scale the entire model to this new size. Say yes.

8)Export as STL, OBJ, DAE, or whichever format your printer/print service requires.

DONE! Enjoy your "Eye of the Ocean", with your own special style mixed in! :)

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