Is it jewelry if there are no jewels?

Brooch front

I’ve said before that the aesthetics of the Form 1 make me want to 3D print artistic things, not mundane things. Over the past 6-7 months, as I’ve messed around with smaller, more refined 3D objects, I’ve inadvertently strayed into an area that I have had no previous experience with: jewelry.

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Unlocking the future. And gumball machines.

gumballOne way to keep morale up in a high-pressure, high-stress work environment is through candy. Lots and lots of candy. One of the guys at the office brought in several gumball machines he has and filled them with delicious sweets, mostly different flavors of M&Ms. Unfortunately while trying to unlock one of them he pulled the key out without it being aligned properly, thus making it impossible to get the key back in the keyhole. Co-workers tried all sorts of ways to get it working, but no luck. Finally one guy remembered I had 3D printers and asked if I could help and, well, I’m always up for a challenge.

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Printing the unprintable

candle_holder_3In the world of 3D printing, you’ll sometimes end up with models that — for one reason or another — just don’t want to be printed.

These models can come from anywhere: bad scans from Kinect or other DIY scanning solutions, objects made in 3D software that weren’t combined into a solid, or from code that creates 3D objects that were never intended to be made physical. This is a quick walk-through of how I was able to print one of these unprintable objects using a new, (currently) free app.

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The thin wall

No, not the Ultravox song, the test of 3D printer resolution.

mecha_3A little background: a few days back I made a small robot pendent for my wife. She liked it, but immediately asked “what about a mech?”. I really am no good at modeling mech — I’ve tried, and just, no — so I went to Thingiverse and found a really cool MadCat mech model that I could turn into a pendent.

Since I wanted to push the resolution of the Form 1, I added a few extras like rockets in the shoulder rocket launchers and gun barrels in the arms. I also added the post and loop to make it a pendent.

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What I’ve Been 3D Printing – Winter into Spring 2013 Edition

The six-hour winter

Winter came. And six hours later it was gone. Whew!

Winter has not stopped me from 3D printing quite a few new things. What I haven’t had time for, thanks to the craziness of day job, is finishing any of my big projects, or writing up stories around my smaller pieces. So, I’ve decided to just post some pictures and quick blurbs on what I have been able to accomplish, to serve as a snapshot in time and maybe some inspiration to someone looking for new things to try.

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Connecting the world… with napkin rings

One might recall that a couple of weeks back I designed, 3D printed, and posted some napkin rings in the shape of animals; “zookins” I called them, in a clever mash-up of words. I posted four and had plans for several more, when I could find the time.

Much to my delight, while I was working on other things, Thingiverse user shutay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia took the idea and ran, posting several new derivatives.

shutay's "snail zookin"First was his awesome snail zookin (good photography too). In his description he says “The first 4 Zookins went down so well with the family, that I thought the collection could do with a snail.” That’s awesome, and the snail design is great! I’m glad to hear that people are enjoying them, and that they are sparking ideas. That’s my goal. šŸ™‚

carkin - beetle-likeThen he followed up with this cute car, which he called a “carkin”. Perfect. He says he plans on making more carkins, and I hope he does. I hope other people do to!

fall / halloween napkin ringsToday I posted three more napkin rings, made for the season: a pumpkin, an owl, and a cauldron; a mix of fall and Halloween. I was trying to work out a bat, but I’m still having issues with the correct wing proportions — the napkin ring would take up the entire place setting! D’oh!

I really hope that folks keep going with these; they are such simple things, but sometimes simple can be incredibly powerful.

You can find shutay’s pieces on his Thingiverse page, and the new fall napkin rings also on Thingiverse.

A quick look at ViaCAD for 3D printing

Always on the lookout for good software to use to easily design things to 3D print, I was excited to see a comment by Yuri in one of my earlier posts pointing me to ViaCAD. For $99, ViaCAD has a great price, but does the software have what it takes to make me use it?

[ MINOR UPDATE November 7, 2012 – Added a few points, in BLUE ]

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Make your own antiques

Every weekend, my wife and I try to get out of town and visit some neighboring city, island, mountain, or valley. This past weekend was no different — we hit up the 170+ antique stores in Snohomish, WA. While looking through the items from days gone by, I saw two “things” together in a case that made me immediately think of my Makerbot, and I had one of those “I can make that” moments. Or, rather, “I can remake that”.

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