How to Design and Print a 3-D Book Page

Welcome! I will be guiding you through the process of designing and printing a 3-D tactile page from a book using TinkerCad.

Step 1: Brainstorming Your Design

To create your own tactile book page, you will need to either recreate an existing image from a book or create your own design.

  1. First, decide on the image you want to create. You can gather inspiration from Pinterest, your local bookstore, or even from recalling your favorite childhood book.
  2. If necessary, find an image of your book page online. Save this image for later. Images that work best with the TinkerCad technology are those with a solid background or a single featured object.
  3. If you are creating your own design, sketch your design on paper. This will make it easier to use TinkerCad to fit your needs.

For my project, I chose to recreate the cover of The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

Step 2: Creating Your Workspace

  1. Navigate to https://www.tinkercad.com on a web browser. (Chrome works best.)
  2. If you already have a TinkerCad account, use the Sign In button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to reopen your account.
  3. If you do not have a TinkerCad account, click the Join Now button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Follow the on-screen prompts to create a free account.
    • When you create a new account, TinkerCad will take you through a short tutorial on how to use the basic features of the website. Completing this tutorial will help you better understand the fundamental features of the site.
    • Once you have completed the tutorial, click the Go Back to the Project Page link that appears in the tutorial sidebar.
    • To begin a new design, click on the TinkerCad logo in the top left-hand corner of the page.
  4. Click the blue button that says Create New Design. The TinkerCad site will navigate you to a new workspace.
  5. Click on the Title Bar in the upper left-hand corner next to the TinkerCad logo. Titles are automatically generated for each new project, but you can change it to whatever you prefer.

Step 3: Designing Your 3-D Print

You’re doing great! Now that you’ve set up your workspace, it’s time to create your design.

To Create a Design by Hand:

You can create limitless designs on TinkerCad using the pre-created shapes. Now's the time to reference your brainstorming sketch from earlier.

  1. Browse the shapes located in the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the page.
  2. When you’ve found the shape you want to add to your design, move the shape onto your workspace by clicking and dragging with your mouse.
  3. Once you have placed your shape on the workspace, use your mouse to resize and rotate your shape by clicking and dragging the small grey boxes that appear when you click on the shape. You can also use the shape box that appears to control the characteristics (height, length, color, etc.) of the shape.
  4. Repeat this process with additional shapes to create your design.
  5. To create holes in shapes, select the shape that you want to use. (i.e. If you want to create a circular hole, use a circle shape.) Then, overlay that shape on top of the solid shape. Use the Shape Box to change the shape into a hole by selecting the hole filter.

To Create a Design through an Image Upload:

  1. Revisit the image you previously selected during the Brainstorming Step.
  2. TinkerCad only supports STL, OBJ, and SVG files. You will need to convert the JPEG into one of these file types to successfully import your image. To do this:
    • Find a free JPEG to STL conversion site online. Two good and free (!) options are http://www.embossify.com and https://www.selva3d.com.
    • Upload your JPEG file to the site of your choice.
    • Follow the site directions to complete the conversion.
    • After conversion, download the STL file to your computer.
  3. Navigate back to TinkerCad and click the Import button in the upper left-hand corner of your workspace page.
  4. Upload the STL file from your computer.
  5. After hitting the Upload button, your design will automatically pop up onto your workspace.
  6. Use the small grey boxes on the sides of your shape to adjust the dimensions.

Step 4: Finishing Your Design

You will need to download your design from TinkerCad to your computer once you have finished creating your shapes.

  1. If your design has one than one shape, you will need to group the shapes together to print successfully.
  2. Drag your mouse across your workspace to highlight all of your shapes.
  3. Then, click the Group button in the upper right-hand corner of the toolbar.
  4. After grouping your shapes, click the Export button, located in the upper-right hand corner of the screen.
  5. Download the file of your design as an STL.

Step 5: Printing Your Design

Once you are finished editing your design, it is time to print it.

Locate a 3-D printer. If you attend the University of Florida, you can print your design at the Marston Science Library.

To Check Out a 3-D Printer:

  1. UF students can check out portable 3-D printers for up to three days at a time with their Gator1 cards. Visit the Marston Librarian’s Desk for more information.

To Request a Print to be Ordered:

  1. Submit your design to be printed for a fee at https://3dprint.uflib.ufl.edu/request-3d-printing . Follow the on-screen prompts to fully submit your design. The minimum cost for a 3-D print is $3.00.
  2. UF library staff will email you once your request has been received, once your request has been approved, once your request has been paid for, and once your request is ready to be picked up.
  3. Pick up your print from the large Help Desk on the first floor of Marston Science Library.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about 3-D printing at the University of Florida check out: https://3dprint.uflib.ufl.edu or https://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/3dprinter

Step 6: Adhering Your Design to the Page

Since you are creating a page from a book, your design needs to lay on a flat surface.

3-D Printing Your Design on a Page:

YOU WILL NEED TO COMPLETE THIS STEP BEFORE PRINTING YOUR DESIGN.

  1. You can create a flat page in TinkerCad using the box shape.
  2. Stretch the box to cover all of the shapes on your workspace. Then, flatten the box to allow all of your shapes to be seen by using the Shape Toolbox or small grey boxes.
  3. After adding this shape, make sure to regroup the items by highlighting all of your shapes and clicking the Group button again.

Constructing Your Own Page:

  1. You can also make a page using a piece of cardstock, a small canvas, or any other flat surface that will support the weight of your design.
  2. When you have found a suitable page, adhere your design pieces to the page with glue.

I used a small canvas for my 3-D printed shapes to create a customized background.

Step 7: Adding Finishing Touches

To personalize your design, add some finishing touches.

  1. Add paint, glitter, sequins, and any other materials to help create a closer representation of the book or the design in your head.

For my design, I strategically added sequins to replicate the sparkling scales of the Rainbow Fish. I also painted a handful of bubbles and recreated the title.

Step 8: Admiring Your Work

Congratulations! You have created a 3-D design of a book page. I’m positive that whatever you have designed looks amazing. For your next 3-D printing project, feel free to be creative and push your imagination to the limits!

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