Introduction: UF 3D Printing Project
I am in an Advanced Exposition class at the University of Florida and our assignment was to sketch and design an icon, and then design a 3D model that would be printed. For my 3D Printing Project I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. Creating an icon seemed simple, but simple to me is always more complicated than it appears to be. For one, it took me forever to figure out how to use the program on tinkercad, a website that allows you to design your 3D model and export it onto an stl file, to even begin designing and creating my draft. But, once I got the hang of it I started to play around and see what kind of shapes I liked working with. I decided to do the shape of a sun, with a quote of "You are my Sunshine" inside of it as my icon because it reminded me of home. I am a born and raised Florida girl and there is nothing I like better than spending my free-time on the beach. The shape of the sun represents Florida for me, and the quote "You are my Sunshine" is something that my mom always would sing to me when I was younger. What started as just an assignment that would earn me a grade for class, became a project that I really enjoyed doing and I am glad that I have developed the skills to use in future if need be. My 3D print was a personalization for me, and I hope that my instructions on how I created mine, will encourage you to personalize one of your own as well.
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Step 1: Step One: Sketch Your 3D Model on Paper or by Using Playdoh
You're definitely not going to know what you want to make when you start out your 3D model. There are so many options to choose from, and for this project, an icon could be a broad spectrum of things. So sketch it out. Let your mind wander free and brainstorm your ideas onto a piece of paper. If you want to get a little more creative then you can use Playdoh, that way you can see potentially how your 3D model will look in 3D form.
Step 2: Step 2: Moving Your Sketch to the Computer Screen
Once you have a general idea of what you want your 3D model to look like, it's time to move your idea to the computer screen. You need a software that will allow you to digitally create a 3D model that can be prepped and ready to go to send off to print. I recommend the website tinkercad.com. Tinkercad is a design tool that can turn your ideas into models that are ready for a 3D printer. You will need your own login so that your work can be saved. So sign up for your account and get ready to start designing. (Bonus: It is totally free and you do not have to be an experienced designer to use it!)
Step 3: Step 3: Creating a New Design
Now that you've set up your own login, it is now time to create your own design. On your home page for your profile, you will see a blue button that has the words "Create New Design". Click on it.
Step 4: Step 4: the Grid
After clicking on the "Create New Design" button, you will be led to a page with a light blue grid and many, many buttons. It looks a little intimidating but, once you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you were intimidated in the first place. You'll notice that on the left side of your page, that there is a little cube figure that has the words "Top" on the top. When you click it with your mouse and hold it, you are able to drag it around and see all sides of your figure. The other buttons on the left side will allow you to zoom in and zoom out onto your figure. On the right side, you will see your basic shapes you can use, but if you click on the little arrow and drop down menu will appear and give you some more options. If you need extra help, go back to your home page, look underneath your profile picture and select the button that says, "Lessons", and the tinkercad website will give you a step-by-step how to.
Step 5: Step 5: Selecting Your Shape
Whenever you select a shape, you will click on it from the right side menu, and then drag it onto your grid. From here, you can decide whether or not you want your grid to be in millimeters or inches. You can change to either or, at the bottom right of the grid page. Along with dragging your shape onto the grid, you decide how big you want your shape to be. A square with dots at each of the four corners forms around your grid, and you can click and drag any of the dots on the corners to make your shape bigger or smaller. Also, if you want to increase or decrease your shape's height, you can click the dot in the center of the square and drag it up or down. In my case, I left my shape as is. At this point, you want to make sure that this shape stays solid. You can check by looking at the drop down menu that appears next to your shape, and clicking on the circle that says "Solid".
Step 6: Step 6: Choose a Color
Once you click on the "Solid" button, a variety of colors appear on your screen. Feel free to choose any color you want, and if you do not see one you like, you are able to custom make you own.
Step 7: Step 7: Choosing Your Text or Shape to Make a Hole
This is the part where things start to get a little tricky. I would recommend, first off, going through the step-by-step lesson that tinkercad offers when trying to make a hole. Otherwise, here is what you are going to do. Decide if you want your shape to say something, or to have a hole in the form of a different shape within your original shape (How many times can one person use the word shape in a sentence?) If you want to put in a text, click on the text and numbers option on the menu bar. A selection of letters will appear, but click on the one that actually says "Text" and drag it over your shape on the grid. You can then adjust the size as you did with your base shape, to fit how you want. Another drop down menu appears for your text, you can then choose between the different kinds of font they offer you, and then click on the word text in the drop menu and type in whatever you want it to say, and adjust the size as needed.
For a shape, you would just click and drag whichever shape you want to use as a hole over your base shape and adjust size as needed.
Step 8: Step 8: Making a Hole
So by now, you selected what kind of hole you want to make in your shape. If you have multiple holes you want to make, for this next step I find it easier to do one at a time. You are going to click on the shape you want to make a hole, and then look at the drop down menu that appears and click on the circle button that says "Hole". You are then going to hold down the shift button, and click on the shape you want to make a hole, as well as your base shape. On the drop down menu you will see that it says "Shape (2)". Above the menu, you will see a black symbol that has the word "Group" appear when you put your cursor on top of it. Click on it. Your shapes have now been grouped together and you should now see that your holes are now in your shape.
Step 9: Step 9: Exporting Your 3D Model
So by now, you should make any small adjustments but, your model should be complete and ready for export. At the University of Florida, I have access to 3D printers by sending an STL file to Marston Science Library where they print it off for me. So to export and receive your STL file, go to the top right corner of the page and click on "Export". A menu will pop up. Make sure you click on the button that says, "Everything in the Design" and then click on the button below that says, "STL" for 3D printing. The file should save to your computer.
Step 10: Step 10: Submit for Printing
If you are a UF student, then go to the Marston Science Library 3D Printing webpage. Click on "Request 3D Printing" and fill out the appropriate information. Once you submit your STL file you will then receive an email with confirmation as well as the billing (Which is only $3 for UF students).
Step 11: Step 11: FINISH
The library will contact you when your 3D print is finished, all you have to do is bring your ID and pick it up!