Scale Model Simple Bird Bath

Hi! Today, I'm going to walk you through, step-by-step, how to model and print a scale model of a simple, single-column bird bath. If you are not familiar with TinkerCAD, I would suggest visiting the site and doing the tutorials first, as basic designing in TinkerCAD is a must for this project.

Materials

  • At least 50 grams of PLA filament (your choice of color)
  • One 3D printer

Programs

  • Ultimaker CURA
  • TinkerCAD

Step 1: Modeling in TinkerCAD: the Base

Once you are familiar with TinkerCAD, open a new project and name it something easy to find if you must return to the project later.

(You may notice that there is a bird bath already in the upper right hand corner of the image; this is one I have pre-designed and am using as a reference.)

The base of the bath is the easiest part. Drag a polygon onto the workplane and adjust the number of sides as desired; I have used an octagon. Scale it as desired, but make sure the length and width are equal. Shorten the shape so it is no more than about 2 or 3 millimeters tall; this is just enough to be sturdy and print well without wasting filament.

Step 2: Modeling: the Column

Once your base is complete, drag a cylinder roughly in the center of the base. Align them using the tools in TinkerCAD.

If you would like the look of a marble column, reduce the number of sides the cylinder has (down to 12 at a minimum). If you would like a smooth look, increase the number of sides it has. Make the cylinder as tall as you would like, but not too tall! If it is too tall, it may be unstable or use too much height for your printer. You may want to group the parts together at this point, but this is not required.

Step 3: Modeling: the Bowl

Move the workplane to the top of the column. Add a half sphere to the model, again roughly in the center of the column. Adjust the dimensions of the half sphere so that it is the same width and length as the base and align the shapes.

From here, move the entire half sphere down into the workplane a few millimeters. This makes the model stable and "joins" the column and the bowl together. Look around the model; if it looks nice to you, then you've done it right. There is no one right height for this step. If you would like, group the shapes, then move to the next step.

Step 4: Modeling: the Hole

Move the workplane on top of the bowl and add a sphere to the model. "Squash and stretch" this shape into an oblong spheroid as shown in the pictures above, and align it with the model so far. Take note of the height of the stretched spheroid.

Once you have made the shape as desired, move it down into the workplane (and the bowl) half of the spheroid's height. Make it a hole instead of a shape, and group it with the model.

You're done! That is, as long as you don't want a styled "lip" on the edge of your bowl. If you do, continue to the next step; if not, skip it, and go to printing.

Step 5: (Optional) Modeling: the Lip

Drag a tube onto the workplane and align it with the model. Shorten it to slightly less than the height of your base, and adjust the length and width to stretch over the edge of the bowl as desired. Adjust the wall thickness if you need to to keep the tube sufficiently joined with the bowl, align one more time, and group the object together. Now, you are ready to print!

Step 6: Printing: Ultimaker CURA and Printing

For the purposes of this project, I used Ultimaker CURA as my slicing software. If you aren't interested in quality of print, you can boot up CURA with your printer and material, let it decide the settings, and go to print! I adjusted the settings to be "fine" quality, with 200 degree nozzle temperature and 60 degree (Celsius) bed temperature, with supports built only attached to the buildplate. Transfer this to your printer, make sure the bed is level and run it!

Step 7: Post-Printing

After printing, remove any supports and sand excess filament as desired. You should have a fully-functional scale model birdbath; if not, don't be afraid to try again.

I hope you enjoyed the process, and have fun!

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