In this Instructable I wanted to share a cool idea for creating simple outlined objects with a mesh infill, suitable for home 3D Printing. This method is surprisingly fast, and could lend itself to many different uses.
My wife has collected boxes full of cool earrings over the years. She wanted an upright earring rack that would display the colourful earrings aesthetically on her dresser, so that it's easy to choose a nice pair in the mornings.
This is my original design that I call 'Earring Clouds' - a series of cloud-shaped earring holders that are easily 3D-Printable at home. The design is easily scalable and adaptable to any motif or layout you need. I printed these all in one day, and mounted them on the dresser wall just in time for her birthday!
This design was fully 3D Printed, and I've entered it into the 3D Printing contest. Please vote if you like it!
Step 1: Inspiration Strikes!
I'd been meaning to make my wife an earring tree or display of some sort for her birthday, but I didn't like any of the designs I came across. They all looked either too commercial and boring, or on the other extreme too frilly and girly. Also, the designs that allocated one slot per earring ended up taking a lot of space.
Well inspiration struck on a rainy day: make a shape with a mesh structure, so that earrings can be hung anywhere on it - in the shape of a cloud!
Step 2: Cura Hack: Using Infills to Create a Mesh
How do you model a mesh with all the teeny tiny holes in it? Well, you don't! Basically I used the 'infill' function of my slicing software (Cura) to create the mesh for me.
The principle is this: create a solid flat shape and export it to a slicing software such as Cura.
Basically just draw the desired shape in Sketchup, extrude the border to a thicker height, eg 4mm. This is for rigidity. The centre part of the cloud is also extruded, but only to a thickness of about 1.5mm. This is so that the mesh is thin enough to hook through.
I also tapered the edges and added 2 screw-tabs for installation.
Walls: 10 shells - this will create a 4mm thick solid border if you use a 0.4m nozzle
Top and Bottom: 0 shells - this exposes the infill created by Cura
Infill: diamond pattern, 15% - This creates the diagonal mesh pattern shown above. You could also use can also use hexagon infills, and play around with the percentage to get different mesh sizes.
Step 3: Cloud Installation
I printed a few clouds in various sizes, using the same STL. By scaling it uniformly in X and Y directions in Cura, I got different sizes of clouds, without changing the scale of the mesh! Great hack.
I printed simple cylindrical spacers so that the cloud would sit 1.5cm away from the wall. This gives clearance for earring hooks to pop through the mesh.
The whole lot is just screwed on to the wall with 2 screws as shown. The screw placement was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Step 4: Raindrops Keep Fallin'
So the clouds worked great for hook-type earrings, but that left my wife's stud earrings with no home.
Enter the earring raindrop! I created 2 types: Either a single pair or double pair of slots.
These are very lightweight, so just hot-glued them to the wall with a spacer.
Earrings just slot in as one piece from the top, without having to fiddle with the clasp end at all!
Step 5: That's All, Go Make Your Own!
That's the gist of it. A super simple idea, and simple execution. From idea to design and print, I managed to get a first set of clouds and raindrops out in a few hours. Of course, I soon realised how many earrings my wife really has, and ended up printing 4 clouds of various sizes and umpteen raindrops! She's also started using the raindrops to hang other necklaces and things from.
You can adapt this principle to any shape you like, to make it your own.
And I can see how this Cura-mesh approach can lend itself to many more applications, such as making a sink drainer, or a perforated cap for an insect cage.
And vote for me in the 3D Printing contest!