Thursday, September 1, 2016

Watermark Your 3D Prints

The only reason for the title of this post is to pretend that the content of the post is actually based on a sane idea.  But, I can assure you that the genesis of the idea behind this article was simply serendipity and nutty curiosity.

There is a reason why I named this blog IdeaRoom3D.  I wanted to focus on new ways we can use 3D printing in every aspect of our lives. And, I mean it when I say that "Any room can be an "Idea Room" with the addition of a 3D printer."  Ideas are what 3D printing is all about.

It's just that some ideas are crazier than others.  And, this is one of them.

I've always been of the opinion that USING a 3D printer for even the simplest of tasks is a LOT more rewarding than tinkering with a 3D printer.  But, sometimes, to be able to expand what you can do, it becomes necessary to play around with the 3D printing process itself.

It should be obvious, from previous posts, that one area of life I intend to explore is using 3D printing for crafting.  The crafting community is both enormous and creative.  And, it's also expansive and widely diverse, making it a perfect community to benefit from personalized 3D designs.

In anticipation of going down one of the craft trails, I obtained a few embossing folder samples from Craftwell, hoping to see if embossing folders can be created by a 3D printer.  (They can... as you will read later.)   These folders were laying next to my M3D Micro.  As I was removing a Tough 3D Ink part from the print table, which was covered with blue painter's tape, I realized that my gap was set at THE perfect value.  The part came off easily; but, the bottom of the part was absolutely smooth!

In fact, the bottom of the part was more smooth than the top with this gap setting.

At that point, my brain, randomly making the connection between the embossing folders and smooth bottom surface, came up with a crazy idea.  What would happen if I embossed the painter's tape and printed at the same gap?  Would it emboss the bottom of the printed piece.

Well, here's the answer...

Effects Using Embossed Painter's Tape

As you can see, the pattern of the embossing folder was transferred to the painter's tape and, in turn, the pattern of the painter's tape was transferred to the bottom of the printed part.

But, the embossed pattern is relatively shallow.  So, the resulting pattern on the printed piece is barely able to be seen unless, as I have done, we spray color ACROSS the printed piece so that the impressions are more easily visible.

Watermarking a printed page is the closest analogy that I could make that would give the idea anything close to a sane rationale.  But, I have to tell you... it WAS fun to see that it actually did work.  And, I am certain that the concept can be expanded with slightly deeper embossing folders.

One of the significant things about the pattern in the printed object is that it is on the underside of the piece.  The tape becomes the support!  There is no drooping caused by lack of support.  I am certain this will come in handy in the future.  

In the meantime, my brain is happy and proud that its crazy idea actually worked.  

Believe me... It's not always that lucky!  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment