3d prints

Favorite 3D Prints of 2020

This post is hardly coding tangential, even if you can programmatically generate 3D prints, but I thought would be a fun thing to share at the end of the year. These prints were all printed on an Ender-3 Pro using PLA or PLA+.

Raspberry Pi Cases

I think this is something we can all appreciate, a well designed and cheap Raspberry Pi case. After printing about a half dozen different ones this year, my favorite is the Pi 4 Honeycomb (free).

I liked their color render so much, I threw some acrylic paint into the comb holes myself. The best part is how it doesn’t require any screws and still holds together snugly.

There is a similar one available for Raspberry Pi 3B in this pack (free).

Scooby-Doo

This mystery solving dog by Exclusive 3D Prints on Patreon (paid, not linking because of adult content), is my overall favorite print of the year.

Sitting at half a foot tall, he was a comfortable size to paint and display.

My Queen’s Crown

I actually bought the 3D printer for my wife, (don’t look at me like that, she uses it some too!), and she makes and prints her own 3D models. Her most impressive is the crown she designed (free) and then hand beaded.

Dice Tray Holder

3D Prints don’t have to just be about themselves, and I love creating stuff for a purpose, so I designed a inset the dice could set into that would fit into a larger handmade dice tray.

This was an iterative process, finally after three designs and five prints I achieved the one I wanted.

Miniatures

I am no artist, but I still find it fun to paint minis. I didn’t start until this year when we bought the 3D printer, yet already have over fifty minis. Most of the ones I printed are from mz4250 (paid via Patreon). There isn’t a recent group photo, but I do have a few of the ones we enjoyed painting the most.

And If you’re looking to paint your own 3D prints, just grab a can of cheap spray paint primer (white, gray or black all work fine), then a few primary acrylic colors and some appropriately sized brushes and get to it! You don’t need fancy mixing trays or washes or Citadel paints. Just whatever is cheapest at your local art store works fine. Then find some paper towels or a spare plate to mix on. And finally a red solo cup (or similar) to fill with water and wash off the brush between colors.

Failures

Sometimes the best attempts still end up crashing and burning. At least with 3D prints you can learn and laugh at them.

Wobbly Photo Turntable

I think my biggest failure was attempting to create a photo turner.

It actually fit together better than expected for a first attempt, holding a Raspberry Pi Zero and servo to drive the top. The top was free-floating, only sitting atop five ball bearings. Sadly the design itself left something to be desired. I ended up just grabbing a cheap turning during Black Friday, but maybe someday I’ll get back to perfecting this design.

I can at least share the silly code I used for this project to keep this article a little coding related:

import time
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)

GPIO.setup(14, GPIO.OUT) # Servo 
GPIO.setup(17,GPIO.OUT) # Power Light
GPIO.setup(18, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN) # Power button 

# Turn light off
GPIO.output(17, False)

# Init servo
pwm=GPIO.PWM(14, 50)

light_on = False

def press(channel):
    global light_on
    if light_on:
        GPIO.output(17, False)
        pwm.stop()
    else:
        GPIO.output(17, True)
        pwm.start(0)
        pwm.ChangeDutyCycle(10)
    light_on = not light_on

GPIO.add_event_detect(18, GPIO.RISING, callback=press)

while True:
    try:
        time.sleep(0.01)
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        GPIO.cleanup()
        pwm.stop()
        GPIO.output(17, False)
        break 

Default doesn’t mean Best

Plenty of times the models don’t make the bad print, just having the wrong settings can do the trick. In this case, a stackable Raspberry Pi print turned into more of a wrestling arena from stringification.

Just keep that in mind if you yourself are looking to grab a 3D printer. There will be a lot of bumps along the road, but given time and effort can really make some amazing things!

I wish you all the best and hope you and yours are safe and have a wonderful new year!