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A Letter from Leah
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3D printing the creeper
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The Creeper before assembly
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The Creeper fully assembled
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Coincidentally the similarities in size between Leah's drawing and the 3D printing are impressive
Across the globe yesterday, children will have woken up to some Minecraft related merchandise as the video game continues its meteoric rise into becoming the most popular game of all time.
The game, which started life as an indie PC only title and is now the top selling app worldwide on the Apple app store, is intrinsically linked with 3D Printing. We’ve done a #ThingiThursday before in which we printed a model for a young chap called Alex. His model was created on Printcraft servers – the service allows users to build Minecraft models inside and export out to a watertight STL file, which you can then 3D print, and there was a story just last week on a 3D printer built inside the game.
For this boxing day #ThingiThursday special we returned to a Minecraft theme to print a certain character from the game for a certain young lady. I don’t normally do requests but I received an adorable letter:
Please can you print the Creeper.
Love From Leah
Who could say no to this?
The letter was accompanied with a pretty accurate drawing of The Creeper in order to explain to me, a Minecraft noob, what in god’s name a Creeper is. At first I presumed that Printcraft would be my way forward but just in case I checked Thingiverse for any models of a creeper, to my surprise Leah isn’t the only person who wants to 3D print the Minecraft villain.
There are tens of creeper-based designs on Thingiverse from plectrums to desk lamps, the model I chose to print was moveable head version by Conselis. This model is printed in three parts; the body, head and connector pin, as a toy, the moveable head felt essential and slightly more challenging to print than the straight up one piece model.
Of course the model was ran through netfabb and placed into the software for the John Burn Ltd. supplied UP! Plus. I am writing this from a Mac, the mac I use for everything 3D printing related but we’ve recently acquired a Sense scanner for the 3D Printing lab and the handheld device at the moment requires Windows. So with the new Windows laptop in the lab we’ve decided to put the UP! software on that mainly due to the fact that the Mac software for the UP! crashes ALL THE TIME. Plus apparently the Windows software is more suited to printing in PLA on the machine.
The part fits nicely on the build area and my only worry was the raft removal of the pin connector, as it tends to be more difficult to remove raft from smaller, more intricate pieces.
The Creepers are so called for their sneakiness as they creep up on players and explode, damaging anything that has been built in the process. Luckily this physical model didn’t behave in the same destructive manner as its virtual counterpart, especially seeing as the UP! is only on loan! After two hours and twenty five minutes of printing on Normal speed at 0.20mm resolution we had a perfect print that lifted from the bed and raft with consummate ease. The only issue with the model was the support material inside the holes of the head and body was a little tricky to remove.
Machine and model intact, 9-year-old Leah has a Christmas present to show off to her friends in school, not one that you can buy in any shop either.
3D Printing evangelists often say that, it is not until you see the enthusiasm of children with the technology that you truly understand that this will be a technology that changes everything. Children do indeed “get it” and I’m sure to be inundated with more requests in the future.