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Just in time for Halloween, we wanted to show you how to make scary, but very cool, glow-in-the-dark ghosts fridge magnets. This Instructable is super easy and is aimed at total beginners to 3D printing. It can perfectly be done as a small weekend project with your kids.
The published tutorial on Instructables is the short version of our original, more in-depth article.
These are the materials that you will need for this project:
- A 3D printer or access to a 3D printer;
- A spool of glow-in-the-dark filament (PLA or ABS);
- Magnetic tape strips or flat magnets;
- Glue (Universal glue or superglue, the choice is up to you);
- Optional: Fine sanding paper (80 - 240 grain will all do the job).
- The model of 3d printer is not relevant - you may use any model that you may have access to. If you have no 3D printer yourself, you should check if there is a 3D printer in your neighbourhood by using 3D Hubs. Alternatively, you can check with your local library, FabLab or HackerSpace. Then, you must just check whether the 3D printer is equipped with a heated print bed or not. Some printers need to heat up their build platform, so that the prints will not start to warp. If you don't know what a heated bed and warping are, please read our comprehensive introduction to 3D printing, especially the part about the printbed.
- Depending on your answer to the above, you will have to use either PLA or ABS glow-in-the-dark filament. To learn the differences between these two plastic types, please read our filament primer article. If your 3D printer has no heated bed, do get a spool of glow-in-the-dark PLA. If a heated bed is present, you can work either with glow-in-the-dark ABS or PLA.
Step 1: First Step: Sourcing the Files for Your Ghosts
Download the ghost files from the Thingiverse repository, a special file library publishing (mainly) file designs for 3D printing. For this project, I have set my eyes on the following files: the Simple Ghost Pack by infrafox and the Scary Ghost Keyring by Fido.
Hit the "Download This Thing" button in Thingiverse and download the relevant "*.stl files" (a special format, which is readable by your 3D printer) to your computer.
Step 2: Step Two: Preparing Your Prints in the Slicing Software
After downloading the stl files, open them in your printer's slicer software. We recommend Cura, because it is very user-friendly, very quick and easy to use.
Open your stl files in Cura and put in your settings for the print. If you are a complete beginner, just use the following settings:
- For PLA: Infill : 100% - Speed: 50mm/s - Shells: 1 (or shell thickness: 0.4) - Temperature: 215°C - resolution: 0.2 to 0.3 (up to you).
- For ABS: Infill : 100% - Speed: 50mm/s - Shells: 1 (or shell thickness: 0.4) - Temperature: 235°C - resolution: 0.2 to 0.3 (up to you).
We also recommend using a raft, as this will get you around any potential warping problems. If you are a bit short on filament, you can choose to only use 20% infill for the 3 ghosts of the Simple Ghost Pack. The Scary Ghost keyring however, as it is very thin already as a model, should be printed with 100% infill.
Cura enables you to put all the ghosts on the printbed in one go, then print them one after the other. Although this may look practical, it quickly becomes messy if there is even just a hint of a problem. So just print one ghost after another.
Step 3: Step Three: Preparing Your Printer
Before sending your sliced file to your printer, you will need to do the following check-ups on your printer.
Level your printbed.
Install the spool with the glow-in-the-dark filament.
Check your printbed again, so you are 100% sure it is perfectly level!
The use of blue painters tape to make the first layer stick may be necessary. Optionally, we recommend using Elmer's glue (or a Pritt stick) and put some glue on the exact spot where your ghost will be printed.
You are set. Turn on your printer, the printbed (if applicable) and let it all heat up.
Step 4: Step Four: Print All Your Ghosts
Print as many ghosts as you want or need.
Step 5: Step Five: Removing Your Prints & Post-processing Them
After you have finished printing your ghosts, let them cool down and take them off the printbed. Use a spatula on one of the print's edges and gently push the spatula forward and under it, until the 3D printed parts pops off the printbed.
Take your ghosts, gently break away the rafts (if you printed them with rafts) and clean any sharp edges or burrs with fine sanding paper.
Step 6: Step Six: Add the Magnets
With your scissors, cut small strips of the magnet tape, so that they fit over the whole body length of each ghost. Magnetic tape does not have real strong magnetic properties, so better use a bit more tape than not enough. Alternatively, you can use small flat magnets or, for super stickiness, use neodymium magnets.
Glue your magnetic strip or your magnet to the ghost. We do prefer using universal glue (although it takes a bit longer to dry then superglue), as it far less messy and more forgiving (i.e. fingers not glued together) than cyanoacrylate. If universal glue is your choice, putting some clamps onto the glued ghost will help achieve perfect adhesion.
Once dried, you can put up ghosts on any (ferrous) metallic surface throughout your house. If you want them to glow quite brightly, just "charge" them by using a high-powered flashlight.
Enjoy a scary Halloween!
Tip: Alternatively, you can also drill small holes into the top part of the three ghosts from the "Simple Ghost Pack" and transform them into glowy keyrings.