Introduction: Love and Hate 3D Printed Word Blocks

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
Yin and yang, sweet and sour, and love and hate. It's fun to pair up words and let them play off of each other. I always liked the love/hate split myself so I decided to make a 3D printed item to honor it.

Look at this from one side, it's "love." Look at it from the other, it's "hate." Look at it from other angles and it's a bit of a mishmash. Make of that what you will.

I'm not here to talk about philosophy and dichotomy, though. I mostly wanted to play around with shapes and 3D printing and this is a fun test that can be quickly recreated.

Step 1: Create Word Outlines

I used Illustrator for the first step of creating the vector paths for the letter outlines. Just type of the words you want, choose a font, and make the outlines. Easy peasy.

Step 2: Extrude Words

The next step is to go into a 3D CAD program. Here I'm using Rhino, but others will work as well. Rhino makes it easy for this step because you can open up the AI files with the outlines and poof! There they are in 3D space.

Extruding the words here is done by choosing Solid > Extrude Planar Curve > Straight. Just choose a decently long extrusion length for each word and you're good.

If you didn't merge the vectors in Illustrator, be sure to merge the letter shapes here by choosing a Boolean Union.

Step 3: Rotate

Grab one of the words and give it a 90 degree rotation. With that done, move it over so it completely crosses over the other word like in the picture here.

Step 4: Intersecting

Almost there, now apply a Boolean intersection to the two words and the results will be the spaces where those two words meet. This is exactly what we want.

Now all there is to do is to resize it if needed and export an STL file of it so that it can be 3D printed.

Step 5: Print!

OK, OK, you have a 3D file. Now what?

Well there are a couple of options. There are sites where you can upload a file and have it printed like Ponoko and Shapeways.

Or, if you're extremely lucky you have access to a 3D printer. These were printed on an Objet30, which is also the grand prize in the Make It Real Challenge

That's it, hope you're living more on the side of love than hate. Thanks for reading.

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