A few weeks ago, my wife and I had some friends over for dinner. They wanted to see the printers. So, we went into the shop and talked about how the printers worked, different file formats for models, etc. Then one of them pulled one of her son's drawings of Boba Fett out of her purse and said, "Can you make this?" My response was, "of course". Historically, my workflow for converting a hand drawing to a model was to scan the drawing, create a dxf of the outline in Inkscape, and then extrude it in my CAD program. I use Alibre, but just about any program can extrude a dxf. For this, I thought I'd try something different. My typical workflow is fine for someone with some experience with modeling programs, but what about everyone else? I found the mixeelabs Mixeepopper
app and thought that might be something that anyone could use. First, I went over the drawing in Sharpie to make the lines thicker and more distinct.
I then scanned the drawing with a standard 2D flatbed scanner. No fancy tricks here! It took all of about 30 seconds to import the drawing and output a 3D printable STL file!
The model was then printed in colorfabb Ultramarine Blue PLA/PHA for a happy little boy. Another part I tried in MixeePopper was this excavator cookie cutter. I uploaded this file to thingiverse, so if anyone would like to make their own, it is available here.
MixeePopper also allows you to take your image or predefined simple shapes and combine them to make 3 dimensional models. Looks like a pretty cool and simple program that will allow people to create models with no other training.
Matthew Gorton is the founder of printedsolid.com. He is a mechanical / materials engineer by education and has worked as a design, process and quality engineer in the medical, electronics, and aerospace industries. He is enthusiastic about applying all he has learned through these experiences to 3D printing and sharing that with others.
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