Trilobite Fossils, Butterflies and NASA Space Wrenches

by Jason King on February 1, 2015

3D Printed ButterflyAs well as the popular Penrose Triangle Illusions I 3D printed a week or so ago, I’ve also been printing lots of other weird and wonderful things recently.

I just wanted to give you a quick update on what I’ve been up to, with some pictures and links to where you can download this stuff yourself.

Starting with the butterfly that you can see above. This thing is 3D printed in two parts and is best when printed in two contrasting colors. If you want to make a few of these then you can print multiple bases together (the orange part in my image) and then multiple top layers together (the blue part).

These look best with a bright base and then a dark top layer. Maybe black would have been better than blue, as in the original Thingiverse images, but I only have a little bit of black filament left.

Feel free to download the Butterfly here and have a go for yourself. Just be careful because the top layer is very thin and delicate so obtaining the correct level of adhesion to the build plate is key. Just enough to stick but not too much else you have no chance of removing it without breaking it.

3D Printed coat HooksOk so there are more exciting things to 3D print than coat hooks. However, for simplicity and practicality this is right up there.

We needed a coat hook in our house for one of the bedroom doors and muggins here nearly went out and bought one.

Then I realised, why would I take a 14 mile round trip to the nearest hardware store and pay for one when I could make one in minutes?

I liked it so much, I was thinking of putting one on every door in the house, but my girlfriend put a stop to the idea and I came to my senses.

I still like it though and if you want your own, you can download and 3D print your very own Coat Hook and litter your doors and walls with them.

3D Printed Spiral VaseTake a browse around Thingiverse and you’ll notice that meshy, spirally, crazy vases are quite popular items. I thought it was about time I joined in.

I believe this is the tallest thing I’ve printed to date. Although it only pips the T-Rex Skull printed vertically by about 3 millimetres.

This spiral vase looks pretty good from a distance, but due to the angle of the spirals, particularly near the bottom where they’re close to 45 degrees, it does look a little rough around the edges.

Take a look at my YHT YouTube Video for an explanation of why angles around or below 45 degrees from horizontal are problematic for FFF printers. Oh and if you don’t know what FFF means then check out my 3D Printing Glossary. Yes I know I’m feeling lazy today with all these references, but it is Sunday when I’m writing this.

Anyway, if you want to download this cool looking vase then you can download it here Spiral Vase. I wouldn’t actually put water in it though without somehow sealing the inside or you might wake up to a puddle of water and a dead flower or two.

Hmmn, how to waterproof your 3D prints? Sounds like another potential subject I could cover in another blog post. This would be especially useful for PLA which is biodegradable and in a compost heap will decompose into carbon-dioxide and water in a couple of months. Science lesson over, let’s move on…

3D Trilobite FossilSpeaking of old and decomposing things, one of the coolest things I’ve printed recently is a 500 million year old trilobite fossil. Mine, being 3D printed, is more like a week old but I still like it all the same.

I printed one in green and dry brushed it using silver guilders paste. It turned out pretty well but the one in the picture is even better. I painted it in copper spray paint and then silver dry brushed it to highlight the detail.

As a big fan of this Dry Brushing I then went on to copper spray paint and dry brush one of the Celtic Skulls I 3D printed a while ago. I posted that picture in this Tweet . Check it out and for up to date info on my latest prints as they happen you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

NASA Space WrenchLast but certainly not least, this thing has been in the media a bit recently so I thought I’d have to give it a go. It’s a 3 Inch Pounds torque wrench which is printed in one piece (no assembly required).

What makes this so great is the fact that it is the first tool to be emailed into space and then 3D printed right there in orbit!

When I printed mine you might notice that it kind of broke. That’s because the separate parts that are printed in situ fused together and so it wouldn’t actually work.

I’ve been meaning to try this again but with bigger gaps to give it a better chance of success and with a denser infill to make it stronger. It reminds me of another 3D Printed Wrench which I tried ages ago, but which fused together in exactly the same way.

Never mind, at least I tried and next time it might work. If you want to have a go at this yourself and put me to shame, feel free to download it here NASA Space Wrench. Just promise not to gloat too much when yours actually works. Just quietly and modestly let me know how you did it.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please Like, Share and Comment. It all helps to spread the word about 3D printing and how amazing it is. Also, if you’re interested in 3D printing any of this stuff but don’t have a printer yet, download your FREE Beginners Guide to 3D Printing at Home to help you get started.

Thanks for reading and happy 3D printing.

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