Monday, May 11, 2015

Every Hero Has A Story & 3D Printing Jewelry

Today I'm experimenting with making jewelry accessories on the Cube 2 3D printer with tinkercad software.  If you know nothing about the tinkercad software, this brief video will get you through the basics. You can also see an earlier post on our blog.

One thing to note is there's already a bunch of creations from other makers on the site. If you are having trouble designing something from scratch or want to add onto a design, it's an easy search away.  Find the magnify glass on the top right of the screen. That is what makes the maker community great. They are willing to share!

For summer, I'll be making superhero emblems with the 3D printer with grades 5 & 6. This allows for both boys and girls to get in on the action. They can make them pendants, earrings, or just plain magnets. I have to admit I'm having a tough time with everything in MM. I've been Googling it to convert into inches!

Here are the goals of the program:

1. Set up a tinkercad account. Hopefully I will email them all and they can do this beforehand.
2. Make a new design.
3. Learn where the pre-made shapes are.
4. Place a pre-made shape on the work plane.
5. Learn how to cut a hole in a shape. I used a hexagonal prism and then made a hole with the box shape.
6. Adjust the size and color of the shape. Make sure to remind kids the printer prints only one color. It's really just for you as a designer to differentiate between the different shapes.
7. Add letters to the design.
8. Learn to group shapes together. Everything will size down together to scale.  This is the point where I will give them H X W requirements.
9. Save as an .STL file with their name.
10. Import it into the cube software so it's ready to print. This part I might do. 

If they don't finish, they can work on tinkercad at home and bring it in at their leisure. I'm guessing the program needs to be at least 2 hours and only 5 kids to start. 

Notes on printing small items:

Through experimentation, I have already concluded that the Cube isn't good for small fine detail so you have to be careful of the thickness and size of your jewelry.  I would recommend no thinner than 3mm and make sure the ring where the earring will attach matches the width of the jewelry.
Here are some examples of tinkercad pre-made designs I worked with and the results.
The Pokeball earring I took from a pre-made design (2nd design from the right). I liked it because it was flat and I figured I could turn it on the side to be level with the work plane and tad-ah! I found out that it couldn't be level with the plane because the design was crooked. It was also only 2.62 mm thick with a few leveled raised design circles in the middle which might have been the issue too. Needless to say, it did not print well. Which is why every design has to be level with the workplane! So round 2: I made my own using box, cylinder, and sphere shape. 3mm thick, 20 x 19 mm with a 3mm thick torus (ring). It took 13 minutes to print and through later experimentation I should have printed them both at once.

The umbrella earrings were 3 mm thick and printed no problem because it was flat on the workplane. The size of the earrings itself is 34mm x 25mm which was a nice size and printed in under 20 minutes so this will probably be my standard comparison size for the kid designed emblem earrings. I could double that for a magnet or slightly larger for a pendant.

Note about detail:

When I tried to scale down the detailed T-Rex (also premade design) I needed supports and a raft in the cube software due to the delicate nature of the stand up item and the support beam went right through the mouth and thus there were no teeth. The foot also broke off. I'm going to keep trying this to find an ideal height. If anyone has any good tips and tricks let us know! We're learning by tinkering over here at the DFL.Next up, how to paint them?


  1. Superb posts with lots of information!!! This is really the most miraculous blog site dude….Print Geeks


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