3D Printing: From Design to Print!

Introduction: 3D Printing: From Design to Print!

The key to the secret door here at the library kept going missing so we decided to make a key tag for it.

We started in a vector graphics program to create some custom text then imported the text design file to Tinkercad to add some basic shapes of a key tag.

In this Instructable you'll need:

Vector Graphics program: Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape -which is Free and Open Source.

3D Design program:Tinkercad - free, browser based and beginner friendly 3D design tool. Other free options are OpenSCAD, SketchUp Make or Blender.

3D Slicing Program: This is what prepares the 3D model to be printed. Cura - is what we use here at the MakerSpace to print to our Taz 5.

3D Printer: Available at the MakerSpace (LulzBot Taz 5).

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Step 1: Start Your Design

-Using Adobe Illustrator at the Johnson County Library MakerSpace, or Inkscape at home, design your digital file.

-Export the image as an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic). This is a format that can be imported into Tinkercad and also can be used on the MakerSpace's laser cutter or vinyl cutter.

Step 2: Starting Your 3D Design

-Use Tinkercad to do some simple 3D modeling. If you’ve never visited Tinkercad before you will need to sign up for a free account.

-Start a new model and use the “import” tool on the right hand side of the screen and choose the file you’ve created.

-You should see your design on your workspace. Next add a shape for our key tag.

Step 3: Making a Key Tag

-Use the basic shapes to create a base for the design. Once we have the basic shape of the key tag we will add a hole for our key ring. We will select the cylinder shape and use the inspector tab to make it a hole.

-Once the key tag is designed select all the shapes and group them. Grouping them will knock out the hole for our key tag. Now you’re ready to download the .STL file to print!

Step 4: Prep for Printing.

-To print on the 3D printers at the MakerSpace select to download the .STL file.

-Now place your .STL file in Cura which is the slicing program for the Taz 5. Open Cura and open your .STL file. You should see your design represented on the printbed.

Step 5: Print!

- Once the design is ready we will go to the printer control. Select the temperature of the hot end (nozzle) and the print bed. (Temperature settings for PLA plastic is usually around 205° C for the nozzle and 60° C for the heated print bed)

-If everything is up to temperature we will hit print and watch our digital design become real!

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