Cardboard Fire Hydrant Using 123D Catch




Introduction: Cardboard Fire Hydrant Using 123D Catch

We all know fire hydrants belong to the streets, but how about bringing a cardboard one to your home?

This instructable is going to show how to make your own cardboard fire hydrant step by step using 123D Catch. 

What you need:
123D Catch, which is software made by Autodesk that you can download as an app. (
Meshmixer, another Autodesk program that is used to clean up your catch. (
123D Make, also free software by Autodesk. (
One sheet of cardboard (18"x24")
Laser Cutter

Step 1: Catch the Fire Hydrant

Start by downloading the software and take the (approx) 40 photos of the object from different angles. I try to circle my object from different heights to create as correct catch as possible. Be sure to also photograph all undercuts properly, that seems to be where many catches fail.

Step 2: Clean Up

Upload your .obj file to Meshmixer to mark and delete the floor that your object has been placed upon as well as anything else that you dont think should be there. Also, make sure to use the inspector tool to fill any holes that you might have.

Step 3: Finish Up Your Catch

After you are satisfied how your catch looks, export it as an .obj file.

Step 4: 123D Make

Move your object into 123D make and make some hard decisions. How do you want your object to fit together? should it be stacked? in what direction? what size should it be?

This fire hydrant is stacked. Then specify how many sheets are to be used in either direction. The red parts on the model signal that something will not work. In this case, the pieces did not fit on the specified output board size. But a quick change in the settings and all is well again.

Step 5: Get Ready for Printing

So 123D MAKE has the awesome function of making your life easier and planning out how the pieces that you've specified fit onto the boards that you want to print upon. So when youre at this stage, you should export your file and move it over to Illustrator.

Step 6: Laser Cutting

Lasercut your pieces!

123D make has the helpful function of helping you order your pieces. So there will be numbers and letters that describe how the pieces fit together.

Step 7: Glue Your Pieces

You are almost there!

Glue all the pieces together starting number 1 as the base part and continue your way up.

You have your fire hydrant catch!

Color your cardboard pieces before the glueing process if you feel like it.

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    3 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I really like the idea, but to be perfectly honest, it doesn't look like a fire hydrant at first glance. You might want to feed higher contrast pictures from more angles into the program.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    In order to a have a clean catch, you'll need to take up to 40 images with 123D Catch from many angles possible. Later you may play with Meshmixer to shape your object as you desire.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I know that, I've caught things before. Just saying that your hydrant final product doesn't absolutely scream HYDRANT. Maybe make it a bit larger, or catch a more angular hydrant?