Introduction: How to Create a Printable 3D Designed Keychain Using SelfCAD
- This instructable is meant for the beginners in 3D modeling and also to the experts who want to create complex models using SelfCAD software. There are many 3D printing tutorials online, but they move fast and skip the basics. This instructable will walk you step-by-step on how to make a 3D model which can be printed, in our case is the 3D design of a Keychain like the one shown above.
Objective: We are going to make a 3D printed keychain with your name on it.
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Hope we are set now to begin.
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Step 1: Launching SelfCAD's Editor
- Launch SelfCAD's Editor in a new tab by clicking Launch Button on top of the page and switch back and forth between this guide and the SelfCAD 3D workspace. I will be using red lines in my images in order to help you locate the tools if you can't see them well. If you are having trouble finding something, look at the images above.
- After launching the software If a cube automatically appears in the workspace, you’ll need to Delete it for this exercise. On the right side of the workspace, you’ll see a small version of this cube. Find it and click the empty square (1). In the (2) Edit menu, select (3) Delete (check the image above if you are not getting it) Okay, we got that cube out of the way. Let’s continue.
Step 2: Putting a 3D Shape in the Workspace
On the right side of the screen (to the right of the “workspace”), find Basic Shapes. Locate it now Click on the cylinder.
You can also drag it into the workspace. Drag and Drop lets you place the shape where you want. For now, click the cylinder and after it appears in the center of the workspace, click Finalize Shape on the left side of the screen. Now, the cylinder will appear on the right side of the screen under Scene. From now on, the cylinder will be called an “object.”
Step 3: Selecting the Object
- To work with an object in the workspace, you have to select the object. You can do this one of two ways. You can simply click on the object in the workspace or you can select the box next to your object in the Scene panel to the right of the workspace. (Just like you did in Step 1 - delete the cube).
- Either will put a checkmark in the box letting you know you have successfully selected this object.
Step 4: Changing the Size of the Object
- To adjust the shape of the object, use the (1) Scale tool.
- This icon is on the top of the workspace under the Transformations. First, make sure your object is selected. Then click the Scale icon.
- Gray dots will appear on or near your object. You can drag these dots to scale your object or use the dimensions windows that appear above the workspace.
- For this 3D design, we’re going to enter these settings: X 300, Y 5, Z 150.
Step 5: Positioning Your Object
- Make sure your object is positioned properly in the workspace and not floating in the air. Select the object and on the right side of the workspace, under Details, find the X, Y, Z coordinates. Set (1) Y to 0.
Step 6: Adjusting the Camera View
- To find the optimal view to work with your object, adjust the Camera settings above the work space on the left.
- 360 lets you rotate the workspace to see all sides of your object. We are going to choose the Camera View icon that lets you choose from various angles (front, right, left, bottom, top). Select the Camera icon and then go down until you see the icon for (2) Top. If you ever want to reset the camera view, click the Reset Camera button to the left of the Camera icon. You can zoom in and zoom out using + and - keys.
Step 7: Writing or Drawing on the Object
- To write words on a 3D object, use the (1) Drawing icon under the Create tab, above the workspace.
Practice: When you click on the Drawing icon, a red dot in a circle or square appears on your mouse (1a), allowing you to draw on the face of your object.
- Using the Width and Height settings above the workspace (while in Drawing mode) you are able to set how much this drawing will protrude from the object’s face. You can also adjust the Edge Style and Corner Style here. Locate them now.
- The (2) Fill Polygon setting removes any holes or empty spaces within the shape you draw. For instance, if you draw a doughnut, if Fill Polygon is ON, you will get a circle without a hole in the middle. If Fill Polygon is OFF, you’ll get a doughnut. For this exercise, we will want Fill Polygon turned OFF.
- (3) Auto Precision determines how close you can put down your points. Low numbers keep points closer together and allow you to create curves while high numbers are better for straight lines. For this exercise, we will want Auto Precision turned OFF
- After you experiment, Delete your Drawing and Start Over by clicking the (4) X above the workspace on the far right. The (5) Checkmark confirms and will save your work while (6) is the Eraser. The (7) Move icon lets you move dots after you already placed on your object.
Now, Click the (4) X at the top right to erase all the lines and shapes you just made.
Let’s write your word now.
Select the (1) Drawing tool again. Then click the (2) “T”. Look to the right of the “T” near the end of this row for (3) a Text Window that says SelfCADApp (ours says MONDAY). Click the text and type your text in this space. Then put the cursor over the object, (4) click and hold, then drag. Your word will appear and enlarge as you drag.
When you are happy with the size, click the (5) CHECK MARK to confirm.
Step 8: Moving an Object
- If you placed the word perfectly, great job. Most of us have to reposition it. Here’s how. Make sure the proper object is selected (the word you typed) under Scene to the right of the Workspace. Then select the (1) Rotate icon under the Transformations tab above the workspace. Choose the most appropriate arrow to rotate your object to match the direction with that of your first (blue) object.
- Tip: In Rotate, the farther away from the center you drag the cursor, the more precise you can rotate the object.
- In the above example, since my word is in the direction I want it, I will only use Move to move the object to the middle of my first, blue oval object.
- To move the object to a different point on the workspace, use the Move tool also under the Transformations tab. Use the arrows or the circle in the center to slide the object (the word).
Step 9: Checking the Height
- Now make sure your word is not too tall. With the Camera in 360 mode, adjust the screen so you are looking at the side of your objects, as if they were laying down.
- You need to make sure your word and oval object intersect. If you need to adjust the vertical position of your word, select the object under Scene, then use the Move tool under the Transformations tab above the workspace.
- Use the arrows to raise or lower the letters to the desired height (make sure your two objects touch).
Step 10: Making the Ring
- Using the (1) Drawing tool, set (2) Edge Style to Rounded Edges & (3) Corner Style to Rounded Corners. Turn OFF (4) Fill Polygon and Auto Precision. Set the (5) Width and Height to 20. Fill Setting should say All selected(3). A circle (6) with a green or yellow dot will appear in your workspace.
Next, set the (1) width for 10, then, select the (2) Eraser. A circle with a red dot will appear. Take your (3) Red Dot and cover completely the first yellow or green dot, and click. You will have one circle inside the other. Confirm by clicking the (4) check mark.
SelfCAD will do its magic and you will see the ring you just created. Great Job
Step 11: Moving the Ring
- Select this object (the ring) under (1) Scene and use the (2) Move tool to connect the ring with the oval.
- Turn the workspace on its side to see that the oval and the ring are the same height and in the same position on the Y axis.
- Adjust accordingly using the (3) Scale tool and/or the (4) Position coordinates. Be sure to select the object you wish to adjust.
Step 12: Unifying Objects
- It’s time to unify. Select all three objects under (1) Scene and then click the (2) Boolean tool under the Tools tab above the workspace. On the left side of the screen, choose the (3) Union tool. Click (4) Apply.
- If there is a problem, click Magic Fix (5) under Tools and try Union again.
You are ready to send your 3D designed keychain to the slicer for printing!
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