When I saw the Instrucables maps contest, I had a cool idea. How about 3D-printing my area around me? I ordered filament samples from REDLINE in NEON colors and wanted to start, when I noticed that user TobySpartanus already wrote a simmilar Instructables. And because I don't want to take away his great idea, I decided to print the surface of the moon. I don't know if you know this "secret" Google maps easteregg, but you can also go to the moon and other planets! Read along and I will teach you how!
Make sure to check out this Instructables if you want to print a place on earth!
- a 3D printer (I used a Creality Ender 3)
- a computer with Internet acces
- filament (not a lot, but 5 colors, I ordered a NEON filament sample pack for 10€ from REDLINE FIlament)
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Step 1: Getting the Data + Exploring the Moon Using Google Maps
Here is the interesting part: exploring the moon on Google Maps. Follow the steps and you can explore almost 20 planets!
- Open Google Maps using this link
- Scroll as long out of earth as possible
- Go to the 3 bars on the left top corner to open the menu
- Click on satellite
- Scroll out
- On the left side you can choose your planet! Happy exploring!
To get our STL for 3D printing, we have to find a cool spot. That is a little bit tricky. Find the spot on Google maps, as descriped above. Then look at the URL. You will find two numbers, these are the coordinates I think.
To generate the STL, I used the awesome free tool called "Moon2STL" by Thatcher Chamberlin. You can enter the coordinates here, and the spot will be marked on the map. Alternativly, you could also drag the map directly in the tool. Since I want the printed surface to be as big as possible, I made box sice to 10. Then simply press "Dowload" and you should receive your own model of the moon surface.
Picture from the moon: from Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1254946 (I cant include phots from Google maps because of Copyright)
Step 2: Preparing the Print
If you want to print it in one color only, you can skip this step and slice it like normal. But I wanted it to be extra-cool and printed in in 5 colours at once.
Import the stl. file in your favorite slicer, I used Slic3r. I really recommend to test some other PLA from the same manufactorer before doing the moon print, because if you waste all your NEON filament while finding good print settings, you can't print a cool moon surface.
So, after you sliced it with your favorite settings, I scaled it down to 75%, used 0,2mm layerheight and 10% infill. Now we want to see if we have enough filament for the moon. Therefore I saved the GCODE file and used the free and Open-Source Gcode analyzer by user hudbrog on Thingiverse. This works absolutely fantastic! Load your Gcode and switch to the 2D view. Click on "Layer Info" and then you can see the summed used filament in mm. I used the PRUSA Filament calculator to convert it to gramms.
Now make the slider on the right side to the top and note the layer height. In my case 324. Since I want to use 5 colors, I calculated 324/5=64,8. So one color is approximately 65 layers. Pull the slider to layer 65 in the GCODE analyzer and look the the used filament. In my 23555,68mm. Thats about 24 Meters. Back to the Filament calculator, I found out that it is 75g. Since I only ordered 50g samples, I had to find a solution. We could:
- decrease infill
- decrease size
- decrease shells
I decided to go with 50% scale instead of 70%. So, after re-slicing, I repeated the last step and it finaly worked. Every 43 layer, the color should change. What I did was combining the filament sample, according to their lenghtes from the gcode analyzer, I have done a short video about it here. Now you are ready to print it.
Step 3: The Print
When hopefully everything works, you should be able to start the print.
And like that you have your own little piece of the moon surface in your hands. Happy printing!
Make sure to check out this Instructables if you want to print a place on earth or if you look for additional tips. If you liked my Instructables, you can share your makes or leave a nice comment! Thank you for reading!