For 3D printing, I wanted to make something I would actually use in my day to day life. It took me a long time to think of an object I thought would be useful, but I eventually opted to try and make earrings out of the characters of my Chinese name. I chose 3D printing because I really like how the material looks when it has finished printing (though Marcela pointed out that laser cutting would be easier AND give me a cleaner finished product).
The process itself was not very difficult. In mocking up the characters, I simply used Rhino and drew them to the best of my ability, mainly using curves and later extruding them. The tools that ended up being the most useful for this creation were ExtrudeCrv and the Mirror tool, as there are several parts of the piece I wanted to be lined up identically on either side.
A lot of my trouble came in working with the printers themselves. Several times, the raft wouldn’t print correctly, and I would have to stop the printing. It turns out that the board needed to be recalibrate — in lieu of doing that, I eventually moved the printing to happen on a different spot, and it took.
My next problem came in the form of the finished product.
With all three of the above models, I had different problems. For all three, the raft was far too thick and the print too small, so it was nigh impossible to get all of the raft off, and they all ended up looking sloppy. Also, for two of the prints, part of the model did not print fully or printed in a way that was structurally insecure.
When I do this again, I’ll be sure to laser cut. Will be about 30x faster and cleaner. Now I know!