Magic is in the air this holiday season at TriMech with all of the new toys we’ve been getting here in our print lab lately. Since we’ve been given the gift of an incredible new Stratasys J750, I decided that it would be great to get into the holiday spirit and create a miniature winter scene to share with some of my clients and co-workers that don’t get to experience all of the charm and joy that snow brings this time of year.
If you have snow, you have to make a snowman with it! So, I started with that; after looking around for inspiration on the internet, I found a few good examples of snowmen that I liked and started to draw up a 3D model of it in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD.
Printing a snowman is pretty straightforward, but to really capture the excitement and make it a truly wonderful winter scene there was something I needed to add; falling snow. But how do you show snow hanging in space in a 3D model when it can’t float in the air and defy gravity? With VeroClear, of course!
One of the great things about additive manufacturing is that you can create almost anything you can think of with the right materials. The right material to solve this problem was VeroClear printed on the Stratasys J750. Since we were already printing in full CMYK color on the J750 and we have one more material slot available, I encased my entire design in a solid VeroClear snow globe, which allowed me to show the snow suspended in space and also make my snowman’s arms much thinner and twig-like!
Since we were now making a snow globe it seemed important to make sure that it would have a nice base to sit on, in case our tiny winter scene was to sit on a desk instead of hanging from a tree. With a little bit of thought, I created a nice base, applied a wood grain texture and wrote a quick “Happy Holidays from TriMech” to convey our best wishes for all during this holiday season.
I planned for the total size of the part to be about 2” x 2” x 0.5” (or maybe a little thicker), roughly an old-timey pocket watch in size. This helps keep the cost down to a reasonable amount for the project, since the goal was to make a small batch of them to share. I applied a wood grain to the base in Photoshop, imported the rest of the CAD Assembly files into GrabCAD, picked my color scheme and sent it off to the printer to run overnight.
In order to apply the wood grain texture to the base, as well as to get a nice shiny surface finish on both it and the TriMech nameplate, I broke the print into three parts, and I also decided to try two different sizes to see which scale would be best for both optical clarity and overall look.
In the end, the final ornaments look great in both sizes, and definitely convey that feeling of winter I was going for. My only problem now is that everyone wants one!
Happy Holidays from TriMech!
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