Monday, December 21, 2015

3D Christmas

Growing up we had dated Christmas ornaments on the tree for a number of years. They were silver or crystal. I think one was cross-stitched. I thought it would be good to restart that tradition in my own family - we have a couple dated ones already. So this year, I made a Christmas 2015 3D-printed wreath ornament. This is the second 3D-printed ornament on our tree.
Last year, the White House sponsored a 3D ornament contest. The contest rules required the entry to be put up on Instructables - here’s our’s. The wife and I designed the ubiquitous red ball, but embossed the first stanza of The First Snowfall by American poet James Russel Lowell into the surface:

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
   And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
   With a silence deep and white.

We didn’t win. Although there was no contest this year, I went ahead and made one for ourselves.

The design is pretty much monolithic and made of three colors dictated by my stock of filament. Because my simple printer only has one print head, I had to make three jobs of it and glue the results together. I’m a bit enamored with extruded text like Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture. I used Inkscape to create an SVG file of the text and extruded it in Autodesk 123D. One thing I learned was I liked the text sized larger when it came to printing and building the model vs. the size it looked on the screen. Maybe it's "the camera adds 10 pounds" phenomenon. I printed the characters 30% larger than I designed them.

Not sure what will be next year’s creation. Probably something smaller so it doesn't crowd out the other ornaments we’ve collected over the years.