Friday, December 28, 2012

Design Made Real

This year's holiday gift craft was a luminary.

I started out wanting to make a lamp casing out of plastic from a 3-D printer. I made a model using Blender, which looked cool when I rendered it. But what I enedeed up with was something that was A) too big to fit in the 3D printer available to me and B) probably not printable at the level of detail I wanted on a PrintRBot printer.

For my next attempt, I tried to make a lamp casing out of a flour and salt mix, with crushed life savers in the middle. That didn't work so well as the dough had a pretty rough resolution and the crushed life savers didn't melt the way I wanted them too (they were too lumpy and the end product was too sticky).

My third attempt, I thought I'd try to make a design and then have it printed out on plastic... but the plastic shop I connected with was a supplier to signs and windows... their web page is nice, but in some ways you have to know what they're working with ahead of the fact. And order 1000 for it to be cost effective.

The last attempt came from a local paper craft shop. They had a exacto-knife plotter. After some minor tweaking of a design made with InkSkape. I was able to get a design to them for plotting. I was able to modify a decagon zillij design to the plotter and get it cut out of some 60 pound paper. Then I glued the ends of the resulting cylinder together into the luminary.

"Wow," someone said, "It's like those designs you've been posting made real." That's right up there with seeing a story I wrote published.
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