Paper snowflake making during the holidays has become a tradition for me for over the past 10 years. I had my first inspiration from the following 'Instructables' on how to make the most incredible snowflakes ever. These inspired me to create personal snowflake for friends and family that included their names and things of interest of those for whom I created the snowflakes gifts.
This passion has led me to a few designs that I re-create every year for the beauty and significance of the subject and the Christmas season. This is an original design that I created many years back, and this year my son suggested that I 'convert it and print it out in 3D'.
Still being a 'newbie' to 3D printing and Freecad, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it but having some experience in importing drawings (getting lucky the first time) I could finally 'remember' how I did it the first time.
On my first attempt of designing and printing everything came out fine. Except that I put it together wrong and the first time I tried to hang it up - it fell and broke into 4 pieces. Not wanting to throw out the pieces I made and 'repair' ring and glued it onto the broken pieces - so now I have Christmas Tree Ornaments! I have since created this 'repaired' design into a separate file to print these ornaments by themselves.
I also added the ring to the full snowflake to add extra strength to the print.
So, having realized that I put it together wrong (stars pointing in - not out), I re-designed it to look more like the original paper snowflake design. This took a bit of manipulating in FreeCad to join all the pieces. I'm finally getting more comfortable with FreeCad and can do these types of things a lot faster now.
Step 1: Things I've Learned
Still being new to 3D printing I am still looking for the best settings for printing. Sometimes (Ok - most of the time) I have it set wrong but I'm learning to get the best infill, smoothest top and bottom, etc. I still don't have it quite correct. If anyone has any suggestions that have worked for you - please let me know.
Printing with a 5% infill has left the surface a bit rough. 15% worked a lot better - but slower print. I like the view of the infill when the sun is shining through the print. You could even stop the print after the infill starts printing if you want a 'different' surface look.
Step 2: How I Designed This
I Took a picture of my design for the paper window snowflake (folded for cutting) imported to Inkscape (free), scaled and converted (saved) to .svg. Imported to Freecad (free) then traced drawing to convert to 3D shape cleaning up lines as needed.
Then manipulated in the parts workbench, Mirror - flip/rotate - move until it lined up like I wanted it.
I included a picture of the paper snowflake for hanging on a glass door.
The paper snowflakes are fun to do and usually leaves people in awe as they have only ever done the simple shape cuttings since grade school. Maybe give it a try next time, as you are waiting for your 3D prints to finish.