Design 3D-Printable Objects

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Maker Monday: Design 3D-Printable Objects on July 11 may be full, but as always, there are plenty of helpful links online to continue what we learned in What is 3D Printing?

The first thing we’re doing is designing original objects in the free online program Tinkercad. Just sign up for an account, and the website itself will walk you through a tutorial (complete with stars every time you complete something!) If you’d like video help as well, just watch the Lynda.com video on Tinkercad for free with your Westlake Porter Public Library card.

You can also measure real-world objects, such as replacement parts for something, and recreate them in Tinkercad. You can also create and edit custom objects in Tinkercad.

In fact, these custom objects can include real-world objects you’ve 3D-scanned yourself using only your smartphone and a free app called 123D Catch. Learn how to do that here. Often, you’ll need to clean up your scan with the free program Meshmixer before you’re able to edit it into something that you can 3D print (directions for that are also in that Lynda.com tutorial).

Sometimes after you’ve 3D scanned an object, the file size will be too large (over 25 MB) to upload into Tinkercad. If that’s the case, download the free program Blender and watch this video on how to use it to reduce the file size (or geometry) in your 3D model. (You may also find the number of polygons in your model exceeds 30000, the limit for the Polar3D printer we have here at the library. You can use the same trick to reduce that with Blender as well). The number of polygons can also be reduced in Meshmixer itself.

Once your cleaned-up 3D model is ready for printing, export it as an .STL file, upload that into Polar3D’s Cloud software at the library, and hours later, you’ll have your custom-made 3D printed object!