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There are two main things that inspire me during the holiday season. A tree has always been one of the major holiday traditions in my family. A beautiful, lush, decorated tree instantly makes me remember the wonderful many joyful holidays spent with family and friends. For me, a decorated tree is a symbol of spreading happiness and cheer to all of your loved ones. This ornament is inspired by that decorated tree.

The beauty and awe inspiring power of nature is especially evident during the winter season. I think snow is a stunning sight to behold, even more so considering the countless individual flakes. This ornament is designed to be reminiscent of a snowflake when viewed directly from the top.

Finally, to represent this wonderful Nation we call home, fifty stars adorn the sides of the ornament (plus one more on top for D.C.!). I envision this ornament being printed with a multi-color sandstone or plastic machine. Another option would be to print in white plastic and decorate any way you want!

Step 1: What Inspires You?

What I love most about 3D printing and CAD is that anyone can make something completely new that has never existed before. So many people now have access to these incredibly powerful tools and the technology is getting better all the time.

This ornament design challenge is a fantastic opportunity to see all the unique solutions people develop to solve a single problem. Decorated trees and beautiful snow are inspirational to me during the holidays; what inspires you?

Step 2: SolidWorks

My 3D CAD program of choice is SolidWorks. This is a very powerful program that can do a lot of amazing things. However, even basic CAD software allows you to design something new.

Step 3: Practice Makes Perfect

Once I decided on the basic idea for my ornament, I made an initial model in SolidWorks. This was followed by three or four iterations to to get everything just the way I want it. Herein lies one of the great things about CAD: the ability to quickly and accurately change a model without spending excessive time or money on prototypes.

Change your model as many times as you want to find the design that is exactly what you want.

<p>Whoa! This looks so awesome. I love your use of negative space, and I think the Obamas would love to have this on their tree. Good luck in the contest!</p>

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