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  1. #1

    Where to start? Creating model from object.

    Hey all.

    Pretty new to 3D printing. I have printed a number of others designs and I wanted to try and create a print from an object. In this case they are knife scales. Would my best bet be to trace this on paper then import into some cad software like Tinkercad? Sorry if I'm way off here.. and help for a total newb would be greatly appreciated. See link below for pics.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Gold Coast, Australia
    In general there are two main ways to get a physical object into a 3D environment.
    1. Model it
    2. Digitise it (3D scan)

    In case you don't have a digitiser, and given the simplicity and geometry of your sample knife, your fastest option is probably to model it (Option 1).
    Depending on your proficiency with cad tools most systems have a built in import system for using images to help create the models.
    You might need to save the image as an svg file to use it in tinkercad (but check as I am not sure).
    If tinkercad isn't working for you I suggest you take a look at Fusion 360, it is free for non-commercial use (or even commercial given certain conditions).

  3. #3
    Engineer Marm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Add Marm on Thingiverse
    Well, personally, being a wood worker, I think all knife scales need to be made from exotic imported hardwoods, like Paduak or Bubinga.

    You could scan it, but unless you have somebody who knows what they are doing, it'll be a difficult first step. That said, this is a simple shape, and is probably a good one to learn on.

    But take a look at the shape of the scale. It's pretty much a 2d shape, with a few 3d features to it. This is a great object to start modelling on.

    I am biased towards Sketch up, but I'm assuming most modeling software will have similar features that will allow you to do the same things:

    I'd start by putting this and a 6 inch ruler on a scanner bed ( like a photo/document scanner). But have a ruler that shows mm, as it's much easier to 3d model in metric. Make sure the scale's outline is sitting flat on the scanner bed.

    Import that picture into SU,and then trace along the outside edge of the scale, and probably the holes too. Then resize the whole thing based on the ruler that's in the picture too. Now you have the outline of the scale, to scale. You can then extrude it to the correct thickness, and add the features you want.

    It'll take a bit of practice if you've never done something like this before, but you'll learn a lot.

  4. #4
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Oakland, CA
    I'd agree with Marm; if you use a CNC machine instead of a 3D printer, you could carve it in something nice, from the same CAD file. With a FDM 3D printer, all you'll get is a plastic handle for your knife, that won't look as good as the one you're copying.

    Andrew Werby

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    for the basic shape you can simply use a 2d scanner. Import into a cad package and extrude it to the required thickness. Then add text and holes - pretty easy in openscad. So probably doable in other cad as well.

  6. #6
    Well, I would recommend you to read some additional articles about 3d printing online.
    For example here is an awesome Beginner's Guide to 3D Printing :
    Here you can find some useful information about how 3D Printers are built, how they work, and what are the main principles of 3d printing.
    It can be a good introduction to 3d printing world.

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