This week, my mini time was spent almost exclusively on the 3D printing and testing phase of furniture and accessories for the Beachside Bungalow. You never really know how a design is going to look until you get it printed and then put real life eyes on the model. For example, when I designed the cross back stool in Tinkercad, I did my best to make it so that the pieces would fit together like a kit. I took limited measurements (height, depth and width) from a real life counter height stool, converted them to 1/12th scale, and then used them as my guide to create the parts and pieces that make up the stool. I had to look at photos to decipher how a real life stool actually goes together, then recreate those pieces for my design. Knowing that my stool would have to be glued during assembly, my goal was to have them fit together easily and be as fiddly free a process as possible. And I needed to end up with a realistic looking stool. It took me three tries to get it right.
The changes were subtle, but by the third try I knew it was a much better version. In the first stool, the seat piece itself was 1.5". When I printed the stool, it looked a little odd. I went back and checked my measurements and compared them to the real life stool, I realized that the overall depth of that part of the stool needed to be 1.5". I did not account for the width of the front leg piece and that is why it looked a little too long.
In the second try, I was able to fix the length by reducing the seat by the depth of the front leg piece. It looked better when the second print was assembled, but there was something still not quite right. I realized that the front leg piece was about 1/16" higher than the seat itself. Probably not a huge deal, unless you think about how uncomfortable that might be to the back of a mini person's legs. Another adjustment was necessary.
I went back for a third adjustment to the design in Tinkercad, this time, raising the tab on the seat and the slot in the front leg piece. I also raised the level of all four leg posts so that they would stand proud. This was just to give a little more character. Once I had printed and assembled the third stool, it looked like a perfectly reasonable facsimile to a real life counter stool.
Because I gave the stools a recessed cross back and leg brace design, they do not sit flat on the print bed of the 3D printer. I had to add supports to the settings in the slicer program. The supports are easily removed post printing, but they leave behind evidence by way of a rougher surface. The next step in this learning curve that I am on is how to mitigate that evidence, either by settings, design or post production finishing. I have purchased some putty for plastics, and hope to have some time to experiment in the coming week. At least I know the design is what I wanted, great in scale and will work perfectly with the kitchen island.
Once I had the stools figured out, I was able to go back into the designs for the toaster and the Keurig Mini. I added more detail, and was able to experiment with printing on a different axis to see how that affected the final outcome. I also got to play with adding in my own bracing to test for minimum support vs. maximum overhang etc. I really feel as though I learned a lot of valuable insights this week!
When the designs come away with fairly few imperfections, I am able to sand them out pretty well, though there will always be faint layer lines with this type of 3D printing. In some pieces, like coffee mugs and canisters, this can add to the item, making them look like pottery.
|Right off the printer|
|After a bit of sanding.|
They look pretty good in the kitchen, but like the stools, the next step will be experimenting with painting and finishing.
My designing and printing experiments will continue, hopefully, concurrent to working on countertops and backsplash ideas.
My dad has been in town since Friday to attend a family funeral. My great aunt Madonna lived an exemplary life, was an amazingly faithful woman who's battle with Multiple Sclerosis only brought her closer to God. Her 83 years touched countless lives, she was kind and funny with an unforgettable laugh. She'll be missed dearly and remembered by many with great respect. Dad is splitting time between my brother's place 80 miles away and mine. Mini time might be scarce, but I'll be back, hopefully soon, with progress.