This Instructable will show you how to make two cool designs, from initial sketch to 3D prototype:
your own IPhone dockstation and your necklace charm
The design and 3D print was made by Sarkies Galstjan and Jasmine Mejia at Fablab010 in Rotterdam, during only a few hours.
Enjoy and try it out!
Step 1: Design Your Idea - Give It a FUNCTION
The first thing you need to do is to make a sketch of your idea on paper.
Think about the shape according to the function you want it to have.
The initial idea was to create a support to keep the IPhone stable on a surface, like a table, desk or bedside table.
I started from the beginning thinking about a 3D object, so I made the initial shapes very basic and simple. I started checking the measurements by taking my IPhone as an example.
My idea was to make a necklace charm with my name and a jasmine flower, which represents my name.
I made an artistic handwritten logo as my initial idea: the challenge was to modify the 2D concept of my calligraphy into an object that could become 3D, so I had to tweek my design until it became practical.
Step 2: Learn Tinkercad in a Few Minutes!
Go on https://tinkercad.com
Tinkercad is a FREE 3D software you can use online to transform your sketch in a 3D model
(you must install Google Chrome to be able to use it).
Sign in to make your own free account.
Now you can do two things:
a) Follow the lessons to learn how to use Tinkercad
b) Open a design and try for yourself!
I choose option b, and in a few minutes I could already orient myself in the layout.
I found the program very easy to use, with a simple object palette from which you can pick a basic shape and then tweak it to your needs. Having previous experience with similar programs, like Autocad, help a lot. Tinkercad is way simpler!
It was my first time with a 3D modeling program, and I found it pretty easy to learn, although some things in my design were a bit challenging to obtain. For example, I found it difficult to place the flower petals in a regular circle, but in the end I found out how to use the rotation function and it worked well.
In order to place my name on the necklace chain, I had to import a file from Illustrator, since I wanted to have a nicer font than the one provided by Tinkercad.
Step 3: Transform Your Sketch in a 3D Design
Now that you learned how to use Tinkercad, search for the shapes that best can be used to transform your sketch into a 3D model.
Keep every solid shape you use in it's basic color: it's better so you can understand what you are doing with the different shapes.
Keep in mind that your initial sketch can change, because of the shape choice in tools palette. It also can trigger your creativity, as you can see in the pictures!
Once your model is completed on TInkercad, go on the icon DESIGN, and DOWNLOAD .stl file.
.stl (Stereolitography) is the format you will use to 3D print your design.
You can now open your .stl file in Cura, the open software which connects the computer to the Ultimaker 3D printer.
Step 4: Tips for a Good 3D Print Model
Now some useful tips to make an (almost) perfect 3D model..
Check the size of the model: if you are going to print with a standard Ultimaker like the ones at Fablab010 Rotterdam, you cannot make the model too big, or it will take forever to print!
I chose to make my model about 4 cm x 2 cm x 3 cm.
Watch out for the ``mirror effect`` with letters: in my case it printed the text in "arabic style", from right to left instead of from left to right. It's best to double check your model's positioning once you have transferred it to Cura, by using the X,Y,Z axes, since they might be messed up.
The first time I tried to 3D print my model, it was coming out too big for a necklace chain. Therefore I adjusted the parameters on Cura to make it smaller (by scaling the whole model from 1.0 to 0.7).
In the end, the letters of my name had difficulties to get printed, because I had designed them on another program (Rhinoceros) and merged it with the file generated on Tinkercad. Merging files from different programs created some problems, and am working to fix them!
Step 5: Prepare Print on Cura and Launch 3D Print!
Now, once you have opened the .stl file on Cura and started adjusting the parameters for the size and wall thickness of your model, you can check how long your print will take.
To do this, click on PREPARE PRINT. After CURA has calculated the amount of plastic filaments necessary to complete the print, it will show you the estimated amount of time.
The Ultimakers at Fablab010 Rotterdam print with PLA, which needs the 3D printer to reach the temperature of 255°C in order to start printing.
In my case, when I prepared print for my model, I discovered it would take almost 2 hours: it was too much time!! So I went back to my design on Tinkercad and started thinking on how to simplify the model to make it print faster.
As you can see in the picture, I decided to put a hole in the base, so it would need less material and less time to print.
(The computer needs to be connected to the 3D printer to complete this step..
The second time I tried to print my model, not only it was too big but also it was a bit too thick, so it would take too much time to print as well (more than 1 hour). So I redesigned the model on Tinkercad in order to make it thinner.
During the third printing experience I discovered you can also print your 3D model in two colors, by taking out the PLA while it's printing (you can also pause the print) and putting a new color in.
You cannot control the result very well but it can create nice unexpected effects!