3D Printed Marble Mazes

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Technology Integration Teacher at a boys private boarding school in Western Massachusetts.

This is a great beginner project to teach the basic skills and ideas of 3D design with Tinkercad.

Step 1: Materials

Graph paper

Pencil

Ruler

Marker

Camera or scanner

Computer with internet connection

Tinkercad account

Step 2: Draw Your Maze

Using a pencil and ruler, sketch out a square maze. Go over the lines with a marker.

Step 3: Take a Photograph of Your Maze.

Either scan your maze using a copy machine or image scanner or take a photograph from directly above the maze. If the photo size is large, take a screen shot of the image to reduce the image size (To take a screen shot on a Mac, hold 'command' 'shift' '4' and then click and drag from the top left hand corner over the image. When you release the click, a screen shot will be saved to your desktop.)

Step 4: Upload the Screen Shot to an .svg Creator.

Now you will need to turn your image into an .svg file.

Go to www.svgcreator.com OR www.picsvg.com and select the screenshot of your maze. Upload it to the website of your choice and then download your maze as an .svg file.

Step 5: Open Tinkercad and Then Import the .svg That You Created

Go to Tinkercad and click on the 'import' button in the upper right hand of the screen.

Select the file that you just created using the svgcreator.

Change the scale from 100 to 10, as the file size is often much too big coming from your photo. Click 'import' and wait for your 3D file to be generated in Tinkercad.

Step 6: Change the Height of the Maze

Usually the height of the maze will be quite thick. You will want to click on the maze and in the corner, you will see white boxes that show the dimensions of the maze. There will also be a white box that appears in the center of the maze. This controls the height of the image. Double-click on the number that represents the height and change it to be about 3.5 or 5.

Step 7: Add a Base to the Bottom of the Maze.

Click on the 'box' image from the Basic Shapes menu on the right hand side of the screen. Resize your box by clicking on the corner and dragging the box to fit around the maze image. Next, click on the height box (the white box that appears when the box is selected in the center of the box.) Drag the height box below the maze image enough so that you have a shallow maze to allow the BB to travel through.

Select both the maze and the box, by holding down the 'shift' key and clicking on both objects. Next, click the 'align' tool on the top of the menu and click on the center align circles that appear on both the length and width. This will center the image on the box perfectly.

Select both the maze and the box once again, by holding down the 'shift' key and clicking on both objects. Now click the 'group' button and this will fuse both the maze and the base together.

Step 8: Export Your File to an .STL for 3D Printing

Now that your objects are grouped together, you can export the image to an .stl file to be printed on the 3D printer. Click here to download a sample. Drop in a BB or a small marble to use as a marble maze. Enjoy!!

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