If you love the water like I do, especially the animals that live in it, this dolphin key chain is the best thing for you! This is a very simple and easy way to make a key chain that only requires a little bit of computer work and a 3D printer. I found that this was easy to make, and there is a lot flexibility with what you can create. Hope you enjoy it!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
For this project you will need:
A designing program, such as Solid Works, that you can download onto a home computer - I used Autodesk Inventor Pro
3D printer with any color you want - I only had purple
Key chain - you can use any type you want, just make sure it fits through the eye of your dolphin
Sim card for 3D printer
Step 2: Making the Dolphin
Once you are on your designing program, start a new sketch and start making your dolphin. I am still learning how to use the programming so I had a picture of a dolphin in another window and was looking back and forth between the two.
Using the line and arc tools, I shaped out the dolphin. I did this by eye so there was some room for adding my own touch, so there is room for you to add you own touch too!
Make sure that for the eye you have it at 0.15 inches.
Step 3: Extruding the Dolphin
Once you have your outline, go to the extrusion settings and extrude the dolphin out 0.5 inches. Make sure you don't extrude the eye out because that is the place to put the key chain in. If the whole thing extrudes, including the eye, then select the eye and cut it out from the extrusion, but if that doesn't work you may have to go back and re-do the eye.
NOTE: If you want the curved edges look, add a -10 degree taper when you extrude it, which makes the back the full size, and the front slightly smaller. I did this because I didn't like the sharp edge look, but if you want the sharp edge look, don't add a taper.
NOTE: If you were not able to extrude the dolphin, your piece may not be fully connected since you used the line and arc tools. If this happens, look to make sure that everything is connected, and if it still doesn't work, add constraints to some of the lines.
Step 4: Preparing to Print Your Dolphin
At this point, your dolphin should be complete and ready to be printed. Depending on what type of printer you have, this step may be different than what I did. What I did was I saved the dolphin part to my computer, and I then went into Maker Bot Explore and placed my part into the prepare section. Make sure you go into settings and add supports and rafts so it is easy to get off of the 3D printer and doesn't cave in on itself.
Once I was there, I adjusted the piece to a size that I wanted, and then previewed it, and exported it with the flash drive and sim card in the desktop. Then after safely removing the flash drive, you are ready to start printing.
NOTE: The sizing on the 3D printer will change the original size from the computer, so make sure that it will be big enough to have the key chain go through the eye, and you can adjust it to your preference. The bigger you make it, the longer it will take to print.
Step 5: Printing Your Dolphin
Now that you have the sim card with your dolphin part on it, insert the sim card into the 3D printer, start it , and watch it print! -It may take over an hour so I wouldn't watch the whole thing :) Again, you can do any color you want to do, but I did purple because that was the only color I had.
Once your dolphin is printed, scrape it off of the board and get ready to add the key chain.
Step 6: Adding the Key Chain
Now all you have to do is put the key chain on the dolphin! The type of chain you got will vary this step, but just put it through the eye and then you have your key chain! Enjoy!