Philippa Mothersill — or Pip — a product designer with a solid background in technical engineering, has published a very visual and simple how-to guide for creating and 3D printing an everyday thing needed by practically everybody – the ubiquitous keychain.
As 3D scanning more complex items can sometimes prove to be quite challenging, Pip started the process by trying to scan different types of items with overlapping shapes and intricate details. After the trial and error process with a Konica Minolta 3D scanner and Autodesk’s 123D Catch software, the ideal solution was found with the NextEngine 3D scanner.
After scanning the above imaged non-edible doughnut, the scan data was transferred to Rhino for visual and structural cleansing. Pip patched all the holes and other flaws in the scan data and turned the surface into a mesh. The next step was to edit the cleaned mesh and to copy it to incorporate three parts to the final design – different chains for different categories – for home, work and other keys. To easily identify and locate the respective keys for all those usage situations, visual clues were added to the chains, which in this case were simply 3D texts. After playing around with the design, it was then ready to be exported as an STL file ready for 3D printing.
For the actual 3D printing process, Pip used Formlabs’ Form 1 and its software. After creating the necessary supports the design was ready to be brought to life. For a finishing touch the object was given an isopropyl alcohol bath, watered and dried – and voilà – the keychain was ready to be joined with keys to start serving its true purpose.
I personally love seeing this type of visual step-by-step instructions and descriptions of different 3D printing projects, whether they are simple but fully functional such as this case, or very complex projects like the Atlas Bot. Hopefully examples such as these will encourage more and more people to start creating and making for themselves and lower the barriers to getting involved.