How to 3D Printing Century Tower

Intro: How to 3D Printing Century Tower

This intractable will give the directions how to make your very own 3D printout of Century Tower

Step 1: Brainstorm Idea

Start by brainstorming various ideas for your 3D model. Make something that interests you or something you have a relation to. For my 3D printed object, I decided to make a little century tower because I am a student at the University of Florida. Then, draw out a sketch of the model. Since it will be created in three detentions, I would recommend drawing at least two different angles, which will make it easier to make the model on the cad software.

Step 2: Start the 3D Model

For this project, you can use any 3D modeling software that exports a file in the .stl format. I decided to use tinkerCAD. This is a free to use online cad software created by Autodesk. It is also is fairly easy to understand, plus, there are some tutorials built in in case you have any problems. If you do not have one already, create an account with Autodesk, and press the “create new design” button to start your project. TinkerCAD is organized very nicely to make getting started very simple. There are a bunch of pre-made shapes including everything from a cube to a diamond. To add a shape to the workspace, just drag the shape you would like to use into the grid. To look around the 3D model, drag around the cube that says “front” around to look at you model from different angles.

Step 3: Design the Model Part 1

I made Century Tower from the University of Florida, so I started with a tall rectangle with a base of 9mmX9mm and 45mm heigh. Then, I added another rectangle, and used this to make the indents on each of the corners on the tower. This rectangle will have a base of 3mmX3mm and will be placed two millimeters outside of the first rectangle so that it is sticking out of the corner. The height will be 36mm. Duplicate this part three times so that each of the conners of the large rectangle is extended

Step 4: Design the Model Part 2

Next, add a square with a width of 1mm in the middle of the large rectangle where the corner extensions end. This will start the top of the bell tower. Make this square big enough so that it makes a edge that meets up with the extended corner around the model, as shown in the image above.

Step 5: Design the Model Part 3

The next thing I designed was the bell tower portion. To make the windows, I used the round roof asset and placed it on top of a cube. I grouped these two pieces together, using the keyboard shortcut (ctrl + g), and then made it 1 mm thick. After that, I shrunk the shape down and warped it until it began to look like the towers on the bell tower. This took some time, and make sure you are making it small enough to fit two of these windows on each side of the rectangle, and make it tall enough to fill the remaining top space on the large rectangle. Once the correct shape is made, change the shape into a hole and place it into the main rectangle. Then, duplicate this piece seven times and place it around the building so that each side has two window indents. Make sure you rotate the window piece around as you go around the building.

Step 6: Designing the Model Part 4

Now, it should begin looking like century tower. All that is left is the details on the top. To make these shapes, I used a box and shrunk it to make it 3mm high, and the base is 1mmX1mm. I placed it on the top corner of the tower. To add a bit more detail, I got a sphere and cut a round shape out of the rectangle, but since this part is so small, it did not really work. Then, I duplicated this part three times and put one of these small towers around all four sides of the tower.

Step 7: Export the Model

Now, the 3D model of Century Tower is complete. This is your chance to make any other changes in case something is not looking right. Once you are happy with the design, press the export button, and choose to export it in the .stl format. It will download the file to your computer, and to keep track of it, I moved the file to my desktop.

Step 8: Setting Up the 3D Printer

To 3D print the model, use the PrintBot Play machines. At the University of Florida, these can be rented out for free at Marston Science Library. Once you obtain the machine, download the Cura software to connect the printer to your computer. You will also need to install the getting started driver. Next, load the .slt 3D model file into the software. Once it is fully loaded, it will say an estimated time it will take to print. Plug the printer into the outlet, and also connect the micro-usb to your computer. Then, take the filament roll and feed one of the ends into the hole on the top of the 3D printer. You push it through fully, press the black lever on the side of the machine.

Step 9: Print the Model

Now, the 3D printer should be ready to go. On the computer, press the “print with USB button”. This will bring up the printing window. Set the temperature to 210º C. Once it reaches the temperature, press the “extrude 10” button to make sure the the plastic is flowing out of the printer smoothly. If it is, carefully use a pen to clear out all of the excess plastic from around the machine, and twist the large metal screw on the side of the machine to lower it until it is just above the base plate. The set up process is all done, so press the print button and watch the machine do its magic

Step 10: Printing Is Complete

The 3D printer will take its time to print the file. Mine took about 12 minutes, but it is a very small piece, so your time may vary. Once it is complete, the machine stops moving. Let it cool down for a minute, and then gently peel it off of the base. Congratulations! You have 3D printed a model of Century tower!

Step 11: Clean Up and Turn Off the 3D Printer

Now that you are done printing your item, set and 3D printer’s temperature to 0º to cool it down. As the temperature is decreasing, remove the filament and put it back on the spool. Once it is no longer hot, put it back into its carrying case and return it to the library.

Step 12: Enjoy Your Item

Now that you have printed the item, you can paint it and put in on your desk so that everyone can see it and you can tell them that you designed and printed it all by yourself. You can also try printing another object. After printing out my model, it was just the size of a monopoly piece, and I want to design a full set of pieces.

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