I have had a 3D printer for the better half of a year, and I love it. It is still amazing to take an idea and bring it to reality. This post will document how to take a simple image and turn it into a beautiful set of earrings for your significant other.
Before we get started, you will need the following:
- XYZprinting Da Vinci Jr. 1.0 3D Printer or any 3D Printer
- Earring Hooks
Step 1. Pick Your Image
The first step is to decide what you want to turn into a set of earrings. The simpler, the better. In this example, I chose to use a classic Pacman silhouette. It makes sense because I currently have a single extruder printer and a lot of yellow filament.
Step 2. Design
Start up Inkscape, and import the Pacman image by going to File > Import or by pressing Ctrl+I.
Import the image and you should see Pacman on the Inkscape canvas.
Now go to Path > Trace Bitmap in the menu bar or alternatively press Ctrl+Shift+B.
Play with the settings until you see a clear image of Pacman in the preview pane located on the right. Once you do, click OK and close the trace window and return to the canvas. Dragging the image of Pacman new version will reveal it is a new object. I changed the color to be black.
Now, let's create the loop at the top of the earring. The empty circle is where you will place the earring hook. Create two circles, one bigger than the other. Creating perfect circles are hard, so using the top menu to explicitly set size will be useful. Once created, you will want to center vertically and horizontally by using the alignment tool via the Shift+Ctrl+A hotkey.
Use the Path > Difference feature to create a hollow circle.
Correctly executed, the result should look like the following.
Now, we just need to position the circle into the image of Pacman. I use a combination of the alignment tool and Path > Union command to create a single path. Now use Ctrl+D to create a duplicate of the path, and you should have a matching set of earrings.
Getting the hook "right" is still something I'm working on, and it depends on your 3D printer quality. If you make it too big, then it looks bulky, too small and it has the possibility of melting shut.
Now just save the canvas as a SVG file and you are one step away from having a printable set of earrings.
Converting SVG > STL
STL is the format that most 3D printers use to create your model. I am currently using SVG2STL.com to take my SVG images and make them into 3D printable models. You should go through three steps: Upload, Convert, Download.
On the Convert step, I recommend sizing between 2mm and 4mm of thickness. Optimum thickness depends on the earring hooks you purchase. I would try multiple widths, and see what works best for you.
Finally, just download your model.
Now, you should be ready to print your significant other some one-of-a-kind jewelry. I recommend playing with dimensions and the result you want may take some trial and error. Obviously, your ultimate success depends on the size and dimension of your partner's head and ears, so be sure to get their opinion.
Here are some examples of finished pieces. I also included a yellow ghost, better known as Kinky.
Once you get the handle on the creation process, you can design some amazing earrings that are sure to be conversation starters. This tutorial can also be modified to make pendants and necklaces. These prints are also relatively inexpensive unique presents for your friends. Once mastered, a new set of earrings design take only a few minutes to put together. I hope you found this post useful and please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. Thanks for reading.