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CES Logo 3D Printed by RichRap
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The Logo inside Tinkercad
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Our version doesn't look as glamorous next to RichRap's but it's not a bad effort.
I was recently called into the boss’s office with a top-secret mission for ThingiThursday. My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to design and print a 3D logo for our new partnership with International CES. The printed logo would be on display and available to hand out at the CES Unveiled London event. Seeing as I’m not a designer and I’ve only been 3D printing for a few months this was going to be tough but you know what? I love a challenge.
Starting with the two-dimensional logo, the first thing was to do was to see if there was an easy way to make that three-dimensional. The flat logo is a series of three blocks with the letters CES on top, determining which block was on top of which was essential in understanding how the logo would look in the third dimension.
There’s a couple of automated processes to do this kind of thing on Shapeways and Thingiverse but, despite the ease of the process, the files produced just weren’t what we were looking for. At this point Google was our friend and some searching led me to a programme called OmNomNom Creator. It appeared, at first, to be the answer to my prayers.
With this novel software you can manipulate 2D shapes into 3D and export them into OpenSCAD. With a selection of objects such as medallions, cookie cutters and surface maps it is easy to get the design you need. For the first print I used the Logo option and output into OpenSCAD, which in turn allowed us to export an STL file to be put into the relevant printer software . The print worked but, and this is a big but, it didn’t look like a product that would impress the on looking press at Unveiled London. Instead of the CES jutting out it was sank into the blocks resulting in some pretty messy looking holes when printing at speed.
Back to the drawing board.
After trying out numerous pieces of software including the 3D tools now available on Photoshop, I took to the ever-helpful Google Plus 3D printing group for advice. On a thread I started it was suggested that I could take a Jpeg file, convert it into an SVG file (used for laser cutting) and upload that into Tinkercad. God bless the hero who pointed in that direction.
This was the best way of doing it, the simple and beautiful looking interface of Tinkercad is easily navigated. After a bit of photoshopping (in order to chop the logo into different segments), uploading and moving around in Tinkercad I had the exact model I was looking for. It would have been a huge shame had Tinkercad gone to the dogs, a excellent entry-level piece of 3D design software that is idiot friendly. Thanks Autodesk for saving it!
The first print from the Tinkercad model was quite the success, but still required further tinkering by nudging pieces on Tinkercad closer together. After about five trial prints we were able to get the exact print we were looking for, now to print as many as possible.
Both the John Burn Ltd. supplied UP! Plus and the 3D Systems Cube printed the parts off in a multitude of colours. We purchased some PLA from Faberdashery to print on the UP! Plus with, while the prints we did with said PLA were, without a doubt, the nicest looking prints, the UP! Plus had a sort of allergic reaction to PLA afterwards, and ceased printing full stop.
Having researched on the exceptionally helpful PP3DP forums I discovered that this iteration of the UP! Plus is notoriously volatile when it comes to printing with PLA. The material had melted up the head and clogged the gears that were feeding the material through.
I had to take the head apart - which is part of the fun with owning an UP! Plus, you can do that without voiding warranties etc - and clean with acetone. Upon putting it all back together again we decided to save the beautiful Electric Blue PLA for another time and continued to print in plain old ABS.
Though we had plenty of 3D printed CES logos, there was something a little unimpressive about them in the colours we had so we got in touch with super printer and master of the multi-colour Richard “RichRap” Horne. Rich modestly said he’d see what he could do with the file and a couple of weeks later presented us with awesome prints at the TCT Show.
The print that adorns the top of this page is that of RichRap and the folks at CES were incredibly impressed with the parts made on his 3DR. It is testament to the RepRap community that some of the best 3D printed parts are printed on open-source machines being developed and shared from that community, hats off Rich and co.
So there we have my first 3D design to 3D print done and dusted, eyes opened to the powers of Tinkercad and the RepRap community. CES folks seemed delighted with the prints and they attracted a great deal of interest at the stand.