December 11, 2015

3D Ornament Design Complete

I was going to give up on my 3D printed ornament idea. I told myself the technology just wasn’t where I needed it to be, and I just didn’t have enough practice designing 3D Ornaments. The big problem, however, was that I just wasn’t loving my design. Then I found my second wind.

I couldn’t sleep Monday night. I kept picturing the ornament in my mind’s eye. On Tuesday I started over almost from scratch. On Wednesday, when almost finished, I noticed I had some sort of invisible mistake. The design looked fine to me in SketchUp, but when I exported the design so it could be printed wreath on the door was distorted and half missing. I started over for the second time. This week I was spending every spare moment with the 3D designing software. Today, at 12:22 am I submitted my design to Shapeways and ordered a print. Estimated arrival: December 22nd-24th. I got it in by the skin of my teeth.

ornament
My Design

Each redesign was faster than the previous iterations. I have a pretty good handle on rounded edges now, whereas they left me pretty dumbfounded initially. I also like this design much more than my first pass.

The ornament measures 3″ x 1.3″. The teeth of the key are 2.5mm thick, whereas the bow is about 5.5mm thick at it’s thickest point. For a 3D ornament it’s not very 3D, but I like it. Truth be told I wish I could print the teeth a little thinner. For colored sandstone, the minimum with for an unsupported wall is 3mm and a supported wall is 2mm. Technically the teeth count as a supported wall since they’re connected to both the shaft and the shoulder. The shoulder, however, is very short in caparison to the shaft. It may well be a supported wall, but it doesn’t have much support, so I decided to split the difference.

If the 3D print holds up, I’ll design a key ornament for our old townhome as well. If not, well, it only cost me $12.34 to try. Maybe the technology will let me print a thinner unsupported wall next year.

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