Tag Archives: My Designs

Reverse Engineer

After creating my own model and printing it the next challenge I wanted to try out was printing in to colors of filament. I don’t have a flexy dual extruder yet (though I do want one) I wanted to take a shot at designing something that would work well being printed with two colors at different layers, meaning I could pause the print, swap filaments, purge and then resume the print.

Reverse Engineer 3D Printed Sign
Reverse Engineer 3D Printed Sign

I was inspired by some of the stickers and images I’ve seen online for Reverse Engineers and decided to make a fun little sign for my maker bench.

Reverse Engineer Sign (Up Close)
Reverse Engineer Sign (Up Close)

Model Details:
I designed this model in SketchUp and exported it as an *.stl file. It can easily scaled to a larger size. I wanted to minimize the amount of warping and among of filament used. If you want a thicker base just scale up in the Z axis.

Print Details: 
Printed on LulzBot Taz 6
Dark Gray and Orange nGen Filament
20% infill, Standard Resolution and Speed
Printed scaled 2.0 in X and Y axes, and at 3.0 in the Z axis.  This gives me something a little bigger than a business card.

The trick was sitting there watching the print and pausing at just the right time to swap the filament. This meant finding the first layer wherein the background is complete and we are about to start printing the text which is proud of that surface. I looked at the layer view in Cura and could figure out when I wanted to do that filament swap. Worked great on the first print.  At some point I want to look at hacking the GCode or similar means to automate the pause, but I wanted to do it as fast as possible so the print didn’t cool down too much as I didn’t want any unnecessary adhesion issues.

I’m very happy with how this print came out and look forward to trying this technique with other models.

This model is a great addition to any maker workbench. You can download the model from Thingiverse here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1693100

If you make one, please leave a comment or link to your make photo.

Take care,


Retro Rainford Sign

Back in May I ordered a Lulzbot Taz6 about a week or so after it came out — I had been waiting and saving for one for quite a while. I got to try one at the Red Hat Tower, the corporate HQ down in Raleigh NC and was quickly hooked. (I work for Red Hat, but at their engineering HQ which is is Westford MA.) Like many makers with a new 3D printer I spent a LOT of time printing random fun things from Thingiverse and similar sites.

After getting a bunch of prints under my belt the next part of my 3D printing journey was to start designing some of my own stuff to print. My first custom design was this retro looking sign of my last name — Rainford.

Original sign with separate floating dot over the 'i'
Original sign with separate floating dot over the ‘i’

I designed the model using SketchUp and extruded my name in the ‘Lobster 2’ font. I then added a base to tie all the letters together into a one piece print. I also extruded ever other letter a bit more than its neighbor so that I could preserve the serifs in 3D and create additional shadow lines.

Used SketchUp to make the model, exported to STL and sliced in Cura (Lulzbot Edition)
Used SketchUp to make the model, exported to STL and sliced in Cura (Lulzbot Edition)

After creating the model I used a SketchUp plugin to export the model into a *.stl file. I then loaded up Cura: Lulzbot edition to slice and print the sign.

Printer and Settings:
Lulzbot Taz 6
Dark Blue nGen Filament
Standard Resolution
No supports or brim
20% infill
Z-hop set to 0.75 instead of the default profile of 0.1 (I wanted the flat spaces to be smooth — worked out this value as I’d tweak it more each time I printed one. I would up printing 4 of these, one for home, one for the workshop, one for the maker bench and one for my office at work. Apparently I can’t get enough of my name or want to get my money’s worth out of the design time it took to create this model. 😉

Later prints I tweaked the model and attached the dot over the 'i'
Later prints I tweaked the model and attached the dot over the ‘i’

The lesson I learned from this was in creating some material to connect the dot over the ‘i’ to the rest of the word. The model looked great in SketchUp but that bridge didn’t show up in the print — didn’t like how some of that solid resolved internal faces I could not see in the solid view I was looking at. I eventually learned about the Cleanup^3 and Solid Inspector^2 plugins for SketchUp that helped fix that issue and I’d also inspect via View->X-Ray. So the second print had a properly connected dot. I also now look at the layers view in Cura to make sure the paths, and the brim and supports when needed show up the way I would expect.

You can find this model on the TinWhiskerz Thingiverse.com page here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1693112

Take care,