Introduction: Design a Viking Shield Using Autodesk 123D Design

If you’re a teacher, designing unique and meaningful artifacts is a great way to engage students in history and art, while putting more quantitative design skills to work. Teachers can help their students think and act like historians and social scientists using Autodesk software to create visual and 3D print models of historical artifacts.

Students develop a better understanding of the past and can better share their insights with classmates by designing their own historically accurate interpretation of ancient artifacts using 123D Design. In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the stages of designing a replica of a Viking round shield ready for 3D printing. Challenge your students to research authentic shapes and designs, and to recreate the most realistic shields that they can.

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 off on the right foot.

Step 1: Download 123D Design

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. For a general tour of the interface and commands, see these short tutorials:

Step 2: Model the Shield

Model a cross section of the shield itself by creating a rectangle with the Rectangle tool on the Sketch Tab.

Model the shield boss using the Circle Tool from the Sketch tab. To make the shield boss hollow, use the offset tool under the sketch tab to make a circle offset from the first circle. Use the Trim tool to remove unnecessary segments from the cross-section.

Model the leather strap on the shield’s edge by using the Rectangle tool on the Sketch tab.

Revolve each piece of the cross section using the Revolve tool. Be sure to select “Create New Solid” to make the shield, the boss, and the leather strap their own pieces.

Lastly, Choose and apply materials to the shield, the shield boss, and the leather strap.

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

Step 3: Add a Handle

Sketch half of the handle using the Rectangle tool from the Sketch tab. Add curvature to the handle grip using the 3 point arc tool, and use the Trim tool to trim any excess geometry.

Use the Extrude tool to make the handle 3-dimensional. Be sure to create new solid. Use the Modify>Fillet tool to round off sharp edges, and Modify>Chamfer tool to shape the end of the handle.

Next, use the Mirror tool to add the final half of the handle, and add material.

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

Step 4: Add Nails

Create a nail by selecting a Cylinder from the Primitives tab. Resize it as appropriate, place it on the leather strap, and add material.

Use the Circular Pattern tool to add copies of the nail to the rest of the shield.

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

Step 5: Add Decals and Paint

Use the Project Geometry tool from the Sketch tab to create boundaries for different sketch patterns.

Sketch decal patterns using the Spline tool. Extrude the sketches a small amount (1mm).

Apply materials to add color to your shield. For a step-by-step video tutorial on this stage, see:

Step 6: Print!

In order to print parts from 123D on your MakerBot you will need to install the Autodesk 3D Print Utility which will prepare your parts for printing. For more information on the Autodesk 3D Print Utility click here.

You will also 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.

Once a part has been created and is ready for printing you can select 3D Print option from the 123D Menu. This will bring up the 3D printer dialog where you can select your printer and options for printing. After setting up your printer options, you will be given the choice to save as a .stl file or send directly to the Makerware software for printing.

If your printer is not listed in the Autodesk 3D Print Utility, you can still export to a .stl file directly. This will allow you to use any software your printer requires. This can be done by selecting the Export STL option from the 123D Design menu.

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.