Practical Application of 3D Printing


This week we worked on creating a 3D model for a card holder as a follow up for the 3D printing post that we published earlier. We already have a generic plain card holder in the Help Desk room, but we wanted to spice things up and make a custom Help Desk one. I imported a base for a 3D card holder from Thingiverse into Sketchup. Sketchup is a simple 3D modeling tool by Trimble. For Amit and I, it was not so simple in the beginning. In order to import models from Thingiverse into Sketchup, we had to download and install an STL plugin. Next, we had no prior experience to modeling in a 3D environment. We constantly had to look up tutorials on how to work with Sketchup, especially with moving the camera around. At first we planned to have a pen holder attached to the card holder, but we later decided to scrap it and stick to the simple card holder only. From the base model of the card holder, we overlaid 3D text onto the front panel of the model. Then we scaled the sides of the model to fit the dimensions of our business cards. What we decided to make is not that advanced, but we hope to start with the basics and then create more intricate objects in the future.

Step 1: Download base modelScreen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.50.35 AM.png

Step 2: Open in SketchupScreen Shot 2014-03-14 at 8.06.59 AM.png

Step 3: Add text

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 7.54.23 AM.png

Step 4: Scale Model

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.52.55 AM.png

Step 5: Print!
The time it takes for a 3D object to print depends on the size and intricacies of the design. Our card hold took four hours. The video clip below show the printing process in action.

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This is so cool! #bhschat

A post shared by Jennifer L. Scheffer (@jlscheffer) on

3D printing doesn’t just stop with card holders. The possibilities are endless. The value in learning how to create 3D models to print is priceless. After all, education is all about what you learn to create. Sketchup, as a tool, is immensely powerful, and can enable one to customize or create anything one desires. Our high school robotics team actually 3D printed some of their parts for competition, and they managed to withstand the onslaught of defense during three days of competition. Functional and durable, 3D printed objects were also on display in the lower library at times during the week. Using apps like 123D Creature, students were able to create some wacky models. The creations were on display at the recent art show and were among the highlights. Even the printing itself drew a crowd, as during passing periods, the MakerBot was always sure to grab a couple of curious minds. While 3D printing may not currently be accessible to all at the moment, it’s inevitably on its way to becoming mainstream, and it already is at our high school! Have more questions about 3D printing? Check out this guide by 3D Genius: The Home of 3D Printing.



One thought on “Practical Application of 3D Printing

  1. Pingback: Third Quarter Reflection | Amit Patel

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