Introduction: Pocket Toys: Convert 2D Images to 3D Printable Toys

About: Hi i'm a fellow maker and 3D print enthusiast. Studying in mapua uni follow me here and on facebook to see more awesome content in the future

Ever since I got a 3D printer I got obsessed to the capabilities these machines can do today. The notion of seeing an object on screen and see it being made in real time right beside you is a dream all makers have but 3D printers require 3D design in order to make objects. Newbies to 3D printing and children just like me when I first got a 3D printer had little knowledge about CAD and using it seemed like a daunting path to start. Fear not I am here to show you a beginner friendly way to get familiar with 3D modeling and CAD using Tinkercad!

By showing a detailed beginners guide on how to convert a 2D image to a 3D model with built in hinges for articulation!

Step 1: Make an Account & New Workspace

If you haven't made an account in tinkercad yet. here's the link!

Not yet convinced? Tinkercad is a great and powerful CAD software with its easy to use interface and powerful tools which makes it one of the most popular CAD software by beginners a like plus you don't need to download anything.

Inside the Tinkercad environment press the create new design button.

Step 2: Grab an Image

You can choose or grab any 2D image from google you like. I'll be using this Cute Chrome dinosaur in this instructables.

I recommend you grab a black and white transparent image as it makes it easier to convert into an 3D model.

If you want to follow along download the image above.

Step 3: Convert to SVG File

If you have already tried to import the .png image to tinkercad you will learn that it doesn't support native .png images to solve that we have to convert our .png image to and .svg one.

You can use free online converters such as this one in converting your files.

You don't need to mess with the settings the default ones is more that enough for our application.

Step 4: Import the File

Once you download the converted file it is as easy as pressing the import button and dragging the file to Tinkercad!

If you just wanted to extract the 3D model from an 2D image then your done!

Step 5: The Hinge

(The color pink parts are supposed to be holes but you can't see them in this view so I made them color pink)

We will use an awesome hinge design by nerys here.

You can also download the files below. After downloading the files import the files into tinkercad. Make sure to turn the Hinge punch and hinge slicer into holes by editing the properties of both objects and click on the hole. Then align the punch and the hinge as seen in the picture above.

I suggest fixing the position of the punch and the hinge to make it easier for you later.

Step 6: Preparing the Model

The hinge that we are using has a defined height to ensure the model looks good and have no protrusions. We should make the 3D model the same height as the hinge which in this case is 8.01 mm.

You can change the height of the model by hovering on the highest control point ("white box on the picture") and typing 8.01.

Step 7: Cutting It Up

Using the slicer choose the points where you want the model to articulate. Make sure the gap is big enough for the hinges to fit too.

After you have chosen all the points you want it to articulate select all of them and group them with the group tool.

Step 8: Make It Move!

The final step

Making it move!

Before you start placing the hinges make sure the hinges and the punch is already aligned this makes the job a lot easier to do.

When placing the hinges make sure that you can see its outline on the side of the model (as seen in the zoomed in picture). If you have a lot of articulations at the same distance you can use the duplicate command in tinkercad which is ctrl+d. After that make sure to select only the punch and the 3D model so we wont cut through the hinge.

Finally you can export your files to an .STL and slice it with your preferred slicer.

Congratulations! you just turned a 2D image into a 3D printable toy.

If you have any questions comment down below I'll do my best to help you.

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