Here is my entry for the White House 3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge 2014. The entry is a snowflake symbolizing "Love."
Every snowflake is different, like our love for each other. This instructable will cover the basics of each step taken to complete this challenge in a generalized format.
All ornaments were printed using an Air Wolf HD2x printer.
Step 1: Thumbnails
I'd like to first say, I'm a new 3d printing artist.
I love the idea of having a concept in my head for a piece of art, then drawing out a basic design and building a 3d model on the computer. Getting to print these ideas are a bit mind blowing and quite awesome!!
The first step to getting a good print is drawing thumbnails, or small sketches, of an idea on paper. Ideas ands shapes can change quite quickly and relatively easily on paper. There were at least a 2 dozen ideas produced. Out of those 24, 8 designs were built in the computer. Three of those designs have been 3D printed as of the time of this publication. Here is a picture of some blocked out ideas for the snow flakes. The right side of the book has the basic idea and starting design of the final print.
Step 2: Building in ZBrush
Coverting the thumbnail into a 3d piece of geometery.
This step is really fun and can be very time consuming. The shape changes a bit and the design is still in flux at this point, but the general idea is the same spirit of the design on paper.
My preferred software package to model with is ZBrush. There are to many steps in creating my design in ZBrush to covering in this instructable. If you would like more information on ZBrush and how to videos, here is a link to the ZBrush website. http://pixologic.com/
Some nice features to their software are fast sculpting to 3D objects and exporting out models as .stl or .obj for 3D printing software.
Pictured above is a version of the model getting exported as an .stl file after a few hours of working the design.
Step 3: Cura, Lets get ready to print!!
My Airwolf 3D printer came with a piece of open source software called Cura. It's made by Ultimaker. And is free for public use. Here is the link to the software,
Simply put, Cura takes the 3d model and converts the model into a file the 3d printer can understand.
At this stage, the model is imported in to Cura, a .stl or obj file can be imported. I used the obj file for my printing. I did experiment with importing the stl and both files seemed to have the same look in Cura. For the challenge and in the spirit of Christmas and gift giving, a stl has been created and uploaded for 3d printing love everywhere around the world. Because everyone should to be loved and have some love in their life!
Pictured aboved is the file getting resized for the printer. You can see Cura uses the metric system, so fortunately I have tape measure with standard and metric on
it. Cirled in red are the measurements of the print in the Y axis, 72.29mm or roughly 2 7/8 inches.
The scaling for the stl in Cura is 21 for a 64 x 73 x 11 mm print.WH3DPODC_SnowFlake_2014_BradMace_STL.stl
Step 4: Printing, bringing the idea to life
Getting down with some 3D printing Love!!
My instrument of choice is the new Air Wolf HD2x. Here is the link to their website.
It's fast, fun, and full of electric music.
Pictured here is the first version of the snowflake model. You can see the top loop that will need to get fixed in the next step.
Step 5: Tweaking the design
The top loop were the ribbon attaches was to small for the 3 inch models. So I increased the size of the hole for the ribbon. This involved going back into ZBrush and adjusting the model, exporting the model over to Cura, and loading the file into the printer to be reprinted.
Pictured above this the 6 inch version I printed out over the weekend. The green circles shows the area fixed. On the left is the small hole, on the right is the final model.
Step 6: Bubble bath
Really, who doesn't like taking a bath?
Here are some prints getting the excess glue off the bottom of the print. The glue helps the ABS material stick to the bed of the printer, which is needed for a nice flat print on the bottom. But now the glue is not needed anymore and gets removed.
Step 7: Drying off and getting ready for display!
A trip to the fabric store yields some nice ribbon to hang the snowflakes.
After the snowflakes dried out they all received a little patriotic ribbon!
Step 8: Decorating the tree!!
Seems pretty straight forward here.
Picture time, documentation time, and voting time.