3D Print Your Own Snowglobe

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Introduction: 3D Print Your Own Snowglobe

About: I lead 3D printing workshops and camps for 3rd-12th graders. My husband and I work together to create projects and tutorials that will help students develop their creativity and design skills while they expl...

I originally created this Instructable for a 3D printing workshop for 5th-12th grade students. The students have already completed a few projects using Tinkercad, and this tutorial gave them the chance to enhance their skills and utilize their creativity.

Steps 1-8 create the base for the snowglobe. After you have the base, you can continue the Instructable to learn how to design the tree and the snowman, or you can use your creativity to design other objects for the snowglobe. My students designed gingerbread houses, animals, and replicas of local buildings to go inside. (If you do design your own objects, be sure to pick the Instructable back up at Step 56, so you will see how to finish your design.)

Steps 9-28 describe how to design the tree.

Steps 29-55 describe how to design the snowman. We used a multi-material printer to print the snowman, but if you only have access to a single color printer, you could easily print the snowman using white filament and then add the color with permanent markers or paint.

Supplies:

  • Computer with internet access and a Tinkercad account
  • 3D Printer and Filament (I used PLA)
  • 10 oz Mason Jar with regular-size lid, such as those found here
  • Water (to fill the jar)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp Liquid glycerin (to thicken the water), such as found here

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Step 1: Design the Base for the Snowglobe

After you have logged in to TinkerCad, click on the button Create New Design.

In the top left corner, you will see the name that the computer assigned your project. It will be a crazy, fun name. Click on that name. Then give your project a name that will make it easy to identify. For example: John’s Snowglobe.

Now you have a blank workplane and are ready to begin.

Step 2:

First, you will create the base for the snowglobe. Add a cylinder to the Workplane. Increase the number of sides to 64. Change the diameter to 67.8 mm.

Change the height to 2.5 mm.

Step 3:

Add another cylinder to the workplane. Increase the number of sides to 64. Change the diameter to 56.6 mm.

Step 4:

Center align the two cylinders as shown.

Step 5:

Add a Tube shape to the workplane.

Adjust the features as shown:

Radius = 28.3

Wall Thickness = 5

Sides = 64

Bevel = 0.5

Bevel Segments = 1

Step 6:

Change the diameter to 66.8 mm.

Step 7:

Change the tube shape to a hole. Use the teardrop shape to raise the tube hole 1 mm off of the workplane.

Step 8:

Center align the tube with the bottom cylinder as shown. Group the hole with the bottom base only first. Then group everything together. Change the color if you wish.

Step 9: Design the Tree

Move the base out of the way. Then add a Half Sphere to the workplane.

Rotate the half sphere 90 degrees as shown.

Step 10:

Change the dimensions to 35 x 50 mm. Make the “branch” 30 mm high. Change the color if you wish.

Step 11:

Duplicate the branch. Mirror it as shown.

Step 12:

Change the workplane to the back side of the original branch (as shown). Click D to drop the branch onto the new workplane.

Step 13:

Change the workplane back to normal.

Group the 2 objects together.

Duplicate the grouped branches.

Rotate the duplicated copy 60 degrees.

Step 14:

Duplicate again. It should be automatically rotated. If not, rotate it 60 degrees.

Group everything together.

Click D to drop it on the workplane.

Step 15:

Add a box hole to the workplane. Make it larger than your entire bottom tree layer.

Step 16:

Change the height of the box hole to 6 mm.

Step 17:

Group the box and branches together. Click D to drop it on your workplane.

Step 18:

(Follow the next few steps carefully and don’t click anywhere else in between steps; this will make duplicating the layers much easier.) Duplicate the bottom tree layer. Raise the duplicated copy up 15 mm.

Step 19:

Hold down the Shift key while you adjust the height to 21 mm.

Step 20:

Rotate the top layer 30 degrees so that the branches are offset from the bottom branches.

Step 21:

Click Duplicate again. The next layer should be automatically positioned.

Step 22:

Continue duplicating until you have 7-8 layers on your tree.

Step 23:

Add a Paraboloid to the workplane. Raise it about 75 mm off of the workplane surface (so that it is higher than the tree).

Step 24:

Center align the paraboloid with the top layer of the tree.

Step 25:

Raise or lower the paraboloid as necessary to make it look like a good tree top. Change the dimensions if desired, but be sure to re-align it if you change the dimensions. Group all of the parts of your tree together.

Step 26:

Notice your tree is too large for your snowglobe. Hold down the Shift key and resize your tree so that the length and width dimensions are between 30 and 40.

Step 27:

Increase the tree’s height to about 58 mm.

Step 28:

Change the workplane to the top of the snowglobe base.

Click D to drop the tree onto the workplane.

Then center align the tree with the base as shown.

Step 29: Create the Snowman

Now you are ready to make the snowman. Change the workplane back to normal. Add a Sphere to the workplane. Make the sphere 23 mm large in all dimensions (length, width and height).

Step 30:

Duplicate the sphere. Raise it up 18 mm off of the workplane. Hold down the Shift key while changing the height to make the sphere 18 mm in diameter.

Step 31:

Click Duplicate again. If you did everything in the last step without additional clicks, it will automatically position and size the head correctly. If it doesn’t, adjust the size to about 14 mm and raise it up about 27 mm off of the workplane.

Step 32:

To flatten the bottom of the snowman, add a box hole to the workplane and adjust the length and width so that the hole is larger than the bottom of the snowman. Change the size to 4 mm.

Step 33:

Group the box hole and all of the snowman pieces together. Click D to drop the snowman onto the workplane.

Step 34:

To add the eyes change the workplane to be where you want the first eye.

Step 35:

Add a Sphere to the workplane. (Note: It is easier if you view the snowman from the side.) Hold down the Shift key while you change the height until it is the size you want the eye to be (about 2 mm).

Step 36:

Use the teardrop tool to move the sphere about 1.5 mm into the head. (Note: Adjust the Snap Grid to 0.1 mm so that you can make small changes. The Snap Grid option is in the bottom right corner.)

Step 37:

Repeat Steps 34-36 for the other eye.

Step 38:

Change the workplane to be where you want the nose. Add a cone shape.

Step 39:

Hold down the Shift key while adjusting the height. Change the height to approximately 2.5 mm.

Step 40:

Release the Shift key and then adjust the height to about 4.5 mm.

Step 41:

Repeat Steps 34-36 to add the pieces of “coal” for the mouth and the buttons.

Step 42:

Add a scarf by adding a Torus to the workplane. Raise it up about 28.5 mm off of the workplane.

Step 43:

Center align the Torus with the snowman.

Step 44:

Adjust the Radius and the Tube size in the Shape window so that it fits snugly around the snowman’s neck. Adjust the height off of the workplane if necessary so that it doesn’t interfere with your mouth or your buttons.

Step 45:

Change your workplane to be the side of the snowman where the scarf will hang down.

Step 46:

Add a box to the workplane. Change the dimensions to approximately 9.7 x 4.1 mm. Change the height to about 1 mm. Rotate and position it until it looks like the hanging end of the scarf.

Step 47:

To make the hat add a cylinder to the workplane. Change the dimensions to 13.3 x 13.3. Make the height 1.5 mm.

Step 48:

Change the workplane to the top of the cylinder.

Add another cylinder to the workplane. Change all dimensions to 8.5 mm.

Step 49:

Center align the two cylinders. Group them together.

Step 50:

Change the workplane back to normal. Raise the hat about 41 mm off of the workplane.

Step 51:

Center align the hat with the snowman.

Step 52:

Adjust the colors on the snowman as you wish.

Step 53:

Now you need to remove all of the white part of the snowman that is in the same place as the colored pieces. Select all of the pieces of your snowman except the body. (Note: The easiest way to do this is to select the whole snowman, hold down the Shift key, and click on the snowman’s white body to de-select it.)

Step 54:

Duplicate the selected pieces. Change them to a hole.

Step 55:

Hold down the Shift key and click on the white part of the snowman. Then click Group. Now you have cut outs in the white part of the snowman. Your snowman will look the same, but if you were to move it over, you can see that the pieces have been cut out. (You shouldn’t move yours over. If you do, be sure to Undo it.)

Step 56: Position the Objects on the Snowglobe

Group all of the pieces of your snowman together, so that he will be easier to move around. We will ungroup him later.

Step 57:

Change the workplane to the top of the snowglobe base. Click D to drop the snowman onto the workplane. Change the workplane back to normal.

Step 58:

Move the snowman onto the base. Reposition the tree and the snowman until they both fit nicely onto the base. Resize them if necessary. (Note: The easiest way to resize without change the proportions is to hold down the Shift key while adjusting the height.)

Step 59:

Once you think you have everything positioned well, look at your snowglobe from all angles. Make sure none of the objects overlap with one another. Make sure none of the objects hang over the edge of the base. Make sure nothing is taller than 60 mm high because that’s the height of the glass jar.

Step 60:

Now you need to add posts to hold your objects in place. Change the workplane back to the top of the base. Then add a box to the workplane. Change the dimensions to 4.8 x 4.8 mm. Leave it 20 mm tall.

Step 61:

Center align the post with your snowman. Notice you won’t see the post any more because it is inside the snowman.

Step 62:

Select only the snowman and move it off of the base. A red post should remain.

Step 63:

Add a box hole to the workplane. Change the dimensions to 5 x 5 mm. Increase the height to 25 mm.

Step 64:

Center align the hole with the snowman. Group the hole with the snowman.

Step 65:

Repeat Steps 60-64 for the tree.

Step 66:

Change the workplane back to normal. Select the snowman and the tree. Click D to drop them onto the workplane.

Step 67:

Select the Snowman. Click Ungroup until all of his colors show up again.

Step 68:

Group the square hole on the bottom of the snowman back together with the white part of the snowman.

Step 69:

Group the posts together with the snowglobe base.

Step 70: Create Snowflakes

If you want to include snowflakes in your snowglobe, choose the Snowflake from the Shape Generators – All menu. Add it to your workplane. In the Shape window change the Stem R to be at least 0.4 mm so that the lines will be large enough the printer can print them.

Step 71: Export Your Designs

Once you have finished designing your file, you are ready to export it for printing. Check the name of your file. Make sure your file name includes your name and the color you want to use for the base. Select the base and then click Export.

Step 72:

In the pop-up box, choose .stl to save the file as an .stl file.

Select Save File if another window pops up. Your file will be downloaded into your Downloads folder (or wherever your computer saves files downloaded from the internet).

Step 73:

Change the name of the file to be the color you want to use for the tree. Select the tree and then click Export. Choose .stl and Save File.

Step 74:

Change the name of the file to be the color you want to use for the snowflake(s). Also include the number of snowflakes you want. Select the snowflake and then click Export. Choose .stl and Save File.

Step 75:

Change the name of the file to include the word snowman and one of the colors you want to use for the snowman. Select the parts you want to be that color and then click Export. Choose .stl and Save File.

Note: If you will be using a single color printer, just select all of the pieces of the snowman and export them together.

Step 76:

Repeat Step 75 for each additional color you want to be a part of the Snowman.

Step 77: Slice Your Designs

After you have all of your files exported, open up your slicing software. Note that it may look different than mine, but the steps should be similar. Import each of your files and adjust any settings that you need to. I printed all items at .20 mm with 20% infill. They can all be printed without support. For the snowman I added support on the build plate only to help support the scarf. If you are not using a multi-material printer, print the snowman in all white and use permanent markers or paint to add the color.

Once you have finished slicing your designs, export them to your printer and print them.

Step 78: Assemble the Snowglobe

Once your designs have all finished printing, slide the tree and the snowman onto the posts. If they are loose, use a dot of super glue to hold them in place.

Unscrew the top of your jar. Remove the sealing ring. Fill the jar with water and liquid glycerin (if desired). Put the snowflakes in the water. You could also add glitter. Insert the snowglobe base into the jar. Push hard to make sure you get a secure fit. Screw the lid back on without the sealing ring.

Your snowglobe is complete!

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