3D Printing: Solving Problems Through Product Design | Lauren Slowik | Skillshare

3D Printing: Solving Problems Through Product Design

Lauren Slowik, Designer + Technologist

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11 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project: Invent an object that solves a problem in your morning routine

    • 3. Deciding What to Design

    • 4. Sketching Your Ideas

    • 5. Making Your 3D Model in 123D Design

    • 6. Making Your 3D Model Pt. 2

    • 7. Prepping Your 3D Print

    • 8. Selecting the Material for Your Print

    • 9. Iterating on Your Prototype

    • 10. Wrapping Up

    • 11. Explore Design on Skillshare

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About This Class

Invent your very own product! Join Lauren Slowik (Design Evangelist, Shapeways) to create a 3D printed object that solves a problem in your morning routine. She takes you through the steps of identifying an everyday problem, sketching a solution, making a simple 3D digital rendering, and printing your final product. Lauren shares how she iterates and evolves her plans to get the design just right — all so you can do it, too.

No previous experience necessary! Whether you're a DIY enthusiast, casual tinkerer, or just want to learn more about one of today's most buzzy technologies, you'll leave this class with a full understanding of how to conceptualize, prototype, and bring your design to life.

Design is about trial and error, and 3D printing lowers the barrier to try things quickly and easily at a low expense. This class is great for everyone who want to improve the world around them and come up with a unique product they can hold in their hands.


1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Lauren, Design Evangelist at Shapeways. Thanks for joining me for another tutorial. This one is called Ideation, Iteration, and Prototyping for 3D Printing. There's a lot of jargony words that I've just said there, but I'm going to go through what all of those mean and help you figure out a great way to incorporate ideation and testing into your design process for 3D printing. The project for this class is to design a single function object to solve a problem that you observe in real life. The one challenge that I think most people have when they want to start designing for 3D printing is what do I make. In reality, you encounter a lot of spaces and problem areas in your own life where you could potentially design a solution. So, what we're going to do is use that starting point to create a product. We're going to ideate, then we're going to iterate, and iteration is continuing that expansion but actually making sketches, and then the next step is digitizing those ideas and creating a prototype. Once we have that idea for a prototype, the final step is of course making it real, and that's where the 3D printing comes in. If you want to create a product and never felt empowered to do that, I'm going to show you some simple steps just to get your idea out of your brain and into your hand. If you're a 2D designer, this class will help you add some skills to make 3D considerations to the design. Design or the practices of designing is a matter of trial and error, and CAD software and 3D printing really lower the barrier for people to develop products quickly and easily and at a low expense. So, what we're hoping that you'll leave this class with is a confidence to execute a simple idea and have it physically available in your hand in a very short amount of time. 2. Project: Invent an object that solves a problem in your morning routine: The project for this class is to design a single function object to solve a problem that you observe in real life. Product design is this way of intervening in the physical world, so that you can make improvements and we've all complained about how something works, about how slow our iPhone is, or that our door closes too quickly, or that our cookbook on our kitchen table falls over when we try to look at it while we're cooking. So all these little gaps and little spaces where things aren't working the way you want them to, that's the area for you to take some observations and think about how you can create a product to solve that. That's what's special about 3D printing. You can create a product for a market of one, just for you. People always ask me where to start and what to start designing, and I often say that some of the most interesting places to start designing for are common problems you experience in your day to day life. When something doesn't work the way you want it to or the way you'd like it to, that's a wonderful space to observe how you can make an improvement. If your headphones get tangled in your bag you can make a simple clip to keep them organized. If the door of your office doesn't stay open just the way you want it to you can make a special doorstop just to make it perfectly open exactly how you'd like. If you're cooking in your kitchen and your cookbook always falls off that ledge that you set it on to read everything while you're cooking, you can create a little stand to make sure that it fits just where you need to in your space. That's what's special about 3D printing, it allows you to make a product for one person, for a market of just you and that's really cool. So upload your projects and process to our project gallery, I look forward to seeing them and remember this is all about prototyping and iteration so the more steps of your process you share, the more you're going to learn about how to make improvements to your product. You're going to be the user of your product and you're going to be able to provide feedback but I highly recommend having as many people use your product as possible. You'll get more feedback that way and you'll make it that much better, and that's what prototyping is about. All products are prototypes but not all prototypes are products. If you're like me the first thing out of your brain isn't always the finished product, in fact, that's very unlikely and usually you need to workshop, or iterate, or ideate the things that you come up with to make improvements on them. So these skills will carry across all different creative endeavors but we're going to be applying them specifically to 3D modeling. 3. Deciding What to Design: Now we're going to talk about how to decide on what to design. This can be really obvious, you can have a spark of inspiration or you can know that you want to make something new, but you're not really sure which angle to go about. I'm going to talk to those people, because if you have an idea already and you know what you want to fix in your day to day life with a small product design, that's great. But for those of you that want to learn how to make products, but you're not really sure where to start solving those problems, I'm going to walk you through my process for thinking of a new product that I need for my own day to day life. So, I live in New York, and I need to travel by subway pretty much every day. I usually have lots of stuff to carry and I need to have my hands-free in order to get into the subway quickly because, rush hour is crazy and people give you the stink eye if you take too long at the turnstile. So, I always I'm fumbling with all this stuff. My wallet opens like this, I have to pull my card out. So, I'm going to make a holder or my New York City Metrocard. If you live in an urban area you probably have a public transportation card, so this would be something that a lot of people can use. But on top of that, I want it to solve the general problem of me being a fumbling mass when I'm getting into the subway. Then part of that, is the fact that I always like to have my headphones on me. I'm usually digging around in my bag for both of them. So, I want to make a card holder for my Metrocard that will also accommodate the fact that I always want to have my headphones on me when I get in there. So, I've taken the steps to think about a problem that I have pretty much on a regular basis. Then I'm trying to think of a way to solve that and make things a little bit smoother for myself and everyone around me. So, today I'm going to brainstorm and sketch, and hopefully 3D model, and print a little Metrocard holder, that also has a clip for my headphones. One way to approach designing is observe your day and try to think about little areas, where you can make small improvements to make your day smoother or make a task easier. One really actually useful way to think about something that you can fix easily, is look at your desk or your bag or your wallet or anything where you've taken a piece of duct tape or a paper clip or wedged piece of paper to make something stay just how you need it to. That's a great space to try to design a small product that's going to make that thing function the way you need it to. Some simple examples of problem solving in real life I have in front of me from Shapeways designers who've done the same thing. So, the first one is this wonderful little iPhone stand. If you've ever been on a train or an airplane and you want to watch a movie, or your hands get tired. So, this is just a simple kickstand to keep your device standing up straight. You can use it with all different types of smartphones, which is a really nice feature that was probably developed over several iterations of the same model. Another example is something that a lot of us have a need for which is a simple business card holder, but in this case you can make it look exactly how you like and you can customize it and print as many or as few as you actually need. Another really wonderful use for 3D printing is being able to augment and accessorize existing things that you already have around you. One of my favorite examples of this is this, glass vase addition. So, you have a simple drinking glass and you want to turn it into a nice decorative flower vase, create a topper that will keep your flowers nice and perky. When you design to solve a problem, a small specific problem in your own life, those insights about the design and the product you make can lead to breakthroughs that might turn into products that appeal to more than just you. So, the process of iteration is essentially that idea of looking for small spaces for improvement and then building upon that. Big breakthroughs in patents or even just general design ideas are often the result of hours and hours of thinking and observing, and work. So, a great way to start is just by making simple changes and making improvements to your own designs and your own life. 4. Sketching Your Ideas: So, one of the biggest hurdles of digitizing your idea for a product is getting that idea out of your brain and into the computer. Oftentimes, students that I encounter totally miss this step that everyone knows how to do, which is to sketch your idea out on paper. This is a basic train principle that all product designers and industrial designers spend hours and hours working on, whether it's by hand or on the computer. So, there are a couple of different ways to sketch that will help you break down the pieces of your idea, so that when you actually go to create the model, you won't feel like you're starting with a totally blank canvas. One of the first ways to get your idea out on paper is to write it out, not with drawings, mind you, but just with words and little diagrams. This is called a Memory Sketch. Some people also call this Mind Mapping. Mind Mapping and Memory Sketching are just a way to kind of verbally and diagrammatically explain the storyboard of how your objects will be used. You can talk about the important pieces of the object. In my case, I'm making my Metro card headphone clip, so I'm going to talk about the pieces involved there. So, I've got my Metro card which has an exact size, my headphones which take up a certain amount of space, and then the general look and feel of the product, and that's when you can move into the next type of sketch. The next type of sketch is an Idea Sketch, often referred to as a thumbnail or back of the napkin. This is a very simple quick diagram of what you're trying to get across. Do not be precious with this. Do it quickly. Do it so that you get the idea of what you're trying to say. Sometimes it's good to draw it to scale if you can. I'm going to talk more about scale later, but if you can draw your design at actual size or at least parts of it, it will help you mentally understand the kind of look and feel you're going for with the final design. So, idea sketching is probably the most important way to do that. I'm going to show you how to do that right now. So, I know I'm going to do sort of a typical business card shaped piece. One thing I can think about too is maybe making it a little bit shorter than the Metro cards, so I have quick access, so I can grab it with my thumb. You can see I'm doing a really good job with the detail here. Another great idea is to give yourself a few different angles to work with, so this is a slightly off-kilter thing, or maybe I can cut a little slot here so I can push the Metro card out. Of course, I'm using a pencil right now, but whatever is more comfortable for you to draw with, you can do markers, you can do pen, you can do Prismacolor with detail. That's of course not really necessary for the idea sketch, but honestly whatever makes it more fun to get the sketching done is the best thing to use. So, one thing that's great is to keep in mind all the different perspectives you can have for a design, so I've designed the case portion, but now I need to think about where I'm going to put the clip. So, there's a couple of ways I could do it. I could do a clip on the side where the headphones go, like this. I could do a clip on the back, more like this. Since I know I'm going to be designing with nylon, I know I can count on this to have a little bit of movement, so you can say like movement or pressure hook. Little notes like that will help you keep track of your ideas. Then, you can go deeper into the design concept and focus on what exactly that hook is going to look like. So now I'm going to do a couple of little iteration's of that. I'm going to give it a little bit of a lip so that the clip catches when I press it down. Let's see, and so that would be on the bottom of the card holder and the motion will be like that, this piece, and the headphones would fit in here. See? Nothing super special. I'm just getting my ideas out on paper, and then I'll feel much more comfortable getting this stuff digitized when I know kind of the form factor I'm going for and I'll talk about that once we start creating the 3D model in 123D design. Once you have your idea sketch on paper, it can be helpful to work on that and refine it a little bit more with an information sketch, and that's sort of a combination of your idea and your memory sketch where you create a fairly accurate diagram of your product and you annotate it with text explaining different functions and capabilities of the different areas of your design. This can be helpful for you also later on when you take a look at those idea sketches the next day and you maybe don't remember what you meant by that weird squiggly loop in the one corner. With an information sketch, you can annotate and say this is the clip, this is how I want to design the first clip of my product. Then beyond that is a diagrammatic sketch. What's helpful about diagrammatic sketches and, you know, this is again more of a refined type of sketching, this can help explain your product to other people even if you're not there to kind of hand gesture like I'm doing right now, so you can use a diagrammatic sketch to show how something is assembled, how it's going to work, you can almost treat it like a storyboard showing what the use case would be. Again, I want to emphasize that none of these drawings unless you want to share them are going to be seen by anybody. It's really just to help you ideate, meaning build on your initial idea, and think about how you want your design to function. It's really meant to support the ultimate finished design process, which you're going to be doing in the computer. 5. Making Your 3D Model in 123D Design: So, we're starting a 1, 2, 3D design. I'm going to use a solid object menu, up in the top there. I'm creating a cube. It doesn't really matter where you click to place this, as long as it's on the build plane. What I'm going do here is, start at scale. So, I'm taking measurements of my New York City MetroCard. It happens to be 85.45 millimeters long. I'm getting my second measurement, but the thing to keep in mind is that, we're working at scale and the reason we're doing that is because, when we finally go to print our object, we'll be confident that it's going to fit or at least will hopefully be closed to what we need to have it fit. So of course, the width is 54.01 centimeters. Then the final thickness, is not an entirely the most important thing. We're going to have to fuss with us anyway to get the fit for the card right after the fact. So, I'm going to get it as close as I can on the calipers here. I'm taking a look at it looks like we've got a 0.27 millimeters. So, very thin thing. I can rotate and analyze this object by right-clicking on my mouse, and dragging. When you click that sub tool menu, and an object on the build plane is selected, you have these different control tools available to you that middle handle that's shaped like a sphere. Lets you move the object around any plane, and the consequent arrows on the different sides of the object will let you move in either the x, y, or z-axis. These axes are not fixed throughout the different 3D softwares that you can use. But it is important to think about them in terms of how you can move around your object and relocate it in 3D space, because that can be one of the challenges of design. So, another piece of the move tool is, when it's selected, you can also rotate your objects. So, you can see, I'm moving on the y-axis here, the x-axis is there, or rather the z-axis, and then on the outer edge of these tools, you've got these different spheres that let you rotate on those different axes. So, you can change the angle depending on what you need for the design. In our case, we're working with a rectilinear object. So, we really want to keep things as perpendicular to the build plane as we can. So, I think I'm pretty satisfied with that. So, the next step, is to give ourselves an idea of what material this object is made of. I like doing this just because the build features of the software can get a little confusing. So, if you can mark the objects that you've made so that you can visually and short-hand understand what you're looking at, this is really important. So, I've gone down to the sub menu for this object, and I'm changing the material. Now, I'm sticking with the default, and I'm simply clicking on a color to actually match the sort of burnt orange color of the MetroCard that I'm working with here. This again not entirely required, but it's helpful for visual shorthand when you are designing, so that the different pieces you use, the different shapes that you create to create a visual shorthand in your design, will help you as tools to continue designing. So, we're going to use this sort of physically accurate sized card to create the holder for the cardholder that we're about to create. Another big part of being able to design in this software confidently, is getting to know the interface. So, I encourage you to click around, as I'm doing here. So, I've got the move tool, and I'm going to see what this little square handle here does. So, it appears that the solid and moving around, I can move it on any plane roughly equivalent to where my mouse is. I've got a side menu over here. That gives me a couple of different tools based on the solids on the build volume. You have a save, and open, and import menu to the left, and of course, the top bar menu, which allows you to create new shapes, use your move to undo functions that you aren't happy with. Then in the top right, is a shortcut keys. This is really helpful, this really makes using the software, a lot easier. I would study this and get to know it depending on the platform you're using, Mac or PC, they might be slightly different. But what I've done here is, I have selected my object and done a simple keyboard copy and paste. So, I'm going do that again for you. I selected the object, and I'm just going do Command C, on my keyboard, and then Command V. From there, I get a second of duplicate of that exact same solid that I've created. So, I basically, have two MetroCard sized objects here. Now, I'm going to play with this one, because why start from scratch when you can start with something that's already close. So now, I'm going to change the color of this. I'm going to make a contrasting color so that I don't confuse it with my scale MetroCard. So that's of nice bright green, and that's going to help us differentiate our models. Again, this is not necessary but it's helpful as a visual shorthand within the software. So, looking at that duplicates here, but now, I'm going to use my objects sub-menu to tweak this model. So the first thing I'm going to do, is grab one plane on the object, and bump it up a few millimeters. Need to make it thicker, because obviously, this case, this holder, needs to fit around the card. So, we hyped up about one millimeter, that's probably pretty thin. So, I'm going grab this arrow, and actually give it a few more millimeters, two millimeters. You may be wondering why am I working in millimeters. No particular reason, except that the whole rest of the world works in millimeters, and most 3D software's are calibrated to work in metric. So, it's probably a good practice to get used to it. Now, I want to make sure that the design I'm making fits the requirements of the material that I'm planning out printing in. In this case, I'm going to print in nylon, but we have other materials available on the shapeways site. Depending on what you're trying to design, and what you're trying to make. Each of these materials have in-depth details about what those guidelines for designing for that material are. So, I'm going to click on nylon, and actually take a look just at the most basic requirement, which is that, I need to make sure that the parts of my model that are going to be rather thin, are as thick as they need to be to survive the printing process. So, we have a 0.7 millimeter minimum thickness wall. What that means is that, it's supported on the corners, and it's not a wire sticking out. So, that is 0.7 on each side. So, if we're thinking about the thickness of the MetroCard, I'm going to make my card holder to start. Four millimeters thick, that's a really generous size. Now, our width is the same as the MetroCard , so of course, we're going to bump that out a little bit as well. I think I'm going to take that about two millimeters out since one millimeter on each side should be enough. I keep saying should and would and could because, again, this is our first prototype, and so we don't know if this is going to be our satisfactory design, but we have to start from somewhere. If you follow the guidelines, your initial try should be sufficient. All right, so I'm just giving this a little bit of inspection. Probably going to have to make it a little longer, so I'm selecting this plane and choosing the Move tool and bumping that one plane out a little bit further. You can see it stretches my solid object two millimeters in the opposite direction and now just a quick comparison shot. So, we've got our original card, and if we're imagining the size of a regular credit card in our hand, we can picture this card holder cases being somewhat appropriately size to hold at least one card. So, now what I'm going to do is move my card template into my card holder. I'm actually going to simulate the card holding capabilities. That's why I like working at scale in software, it makes it possible for you to be confident that the design decisions you're making on small things like the width and the height, things like that, will support what it is you're trying to do, and so that you can export your objects confidently and have a print out at exactly the scale you're expecting. You can't do this stuff after the fact but I find it much easier to take important design considerations and use them in-place. So, looks like my case is a little bit too thin on the width so I'm bumping that plane out a little bit again and again, it's a click on the plane that you're using, bumping my object, and I'm getting a good angle of the front of the card holder. So, I can see if there's sufficient material on either side of the card holder to survive the print and also hold my MetroCard in place. It's a pretty simple function but when you think about it, there's a lot of considerations to be made. So, I'm going to try to center this. Now, in the software, you have a functionality called snapping, so you'll notice that my model is snapping to points on the grid line and it can make it a little bit tricky. So, we're just going to keep taking a look here. I'm going to bump this side up a little bit thicker, thinner actually. I think I have too much material, and that can really affect the price of your model. It's really important to keep in mind not to overbuild your objects. It can well just end up costing you more money for the print and it won't necessarily make your object any much more stronger or better. So, it looks like I've got a nice encasement here and I'm going to just take a quick measurement and see what I'm working with since I was fussing with it a little bit. So, it looks like we have a 2.27 millimeter thickness card holder which is great, means I have a millimetre on each side of the physical card and that should be more than sufficient to survive the printing process. So, like I said, things you can make in the computer are infinite but the stuff you can do in the physical world is actually limited by the thickness of actual objects of the atoms in the material that you end up making things out of. Looks like I made my object way too thin. I'm going to head back to that plane tweak, I'm going to click my sub-menu, grab my arrow and move my object a back up to two millimeters. Now my card is not centered, so I'm going to select my card model and move it within the holder. Now, like I mentioned before, I've got my objects snapping to one millimeters on the grid and that's too much. So, at the bottom right there, I've changed my snapping to be at 0.25 millimeters, which gives me a lot more leverage and wiggle room on how to align my objects. So, now I'm confident that my card is centered on either plane within the holder. I like that it's sticking out a little bit but it looks like I've got a little bit too much material on the one end. So, of course, we don't want the MetroCard going completely into the holder otherwise, you really won't be able to get it out. So, I'm going to again use my plane move tool and I'm going to take some of that material off. So, one thing that's nice about having that scale MetroCard as I can continue to bump this to the left until I either see the material of the card poking out. Okay, so now I know that that is enough space. So, I have removed about five millimeters and if I select my MetroCard , I can see the X-ray view of it inside of the holder. So, I think I've got a nice envelope for this ready to go scale in all directions. It's not quite the way that the physical world works. So, I'm still going to grab the top plane of my- No, that's the wrong one, I'm going to undo what I did. Click on the MetroCard again and scale but I just want to scale a tiny, tiny bit. So, I'm going to bump it up ever so slightly so that we have an envelope that fits around the MetroCard and not exactly the size because as as you know, if you make something exactly the size of something else, it's probably going to be way too snug to actually be a functional holder. So I'm also going to use the plane tool and I'm going to fatten the card ever so slightly. Just a touch and luckily we have snapping to 0.25 millimeters so that bump it up half millimeter, and that gives us a bit more functional space. This also could even, in theory, make room for more than one MetroCard or credit card or whatever it is that you're holding. So now, I'm making sure that my card is centered in the envelope. So, what we've done with the MetroCard scale model is we've turned it into, essentially, a cookie cutter. So, we're going to use this to remove material in the solid envelope object. With nothing selected, I'm going to head up here to the combine tool and I'm going to choose the target object and the source object. I'm going to hit Return and success. We have successfully removed envelope space within our card holder that is roughly slightly larger than an actual MetroCard. 6. Making Your 3D Model Pt. 2: Now, within the software we have a start to our object but we want to do some finishing. We're going to fill the edges of this model or sorry we're going to chamfer rather. So, what this means is you're going to take a little bit of the edge off of the corner literally. So, what I'm doing is, I'm selecting the edges around my model and I'm going to choose to take 0.5 millimeters off. So, I'm going to zoom in so you can see what exactly that does. So, I've just got this kind of flat almost like I filed the corners off of this object. Now, it looks nice but it's also about hand feel, how the object feels in your hands. So, we're going to replicate this chamfering on the bottom of our case. I'm going to go around and I'm going to use my pan and drag and rotate tool to get all the way around the object, going to select those edges again. Going to enter my distance 0.5 millimeters and we've successfully chamfered both of the main planes of the object. Now, we should do one more round just to be thorough and get the corners and the menus. Always look the same to me, so you can do the C key if you want to chamfer without using the menu option. So, zoom out here. Select the edges here, here and here. You can see the arrow indicating what direction the chamfer is going to go. So, again 0.5 on all edges and now we've got this kind of nice finished handheld feel, I've taken the edges off our object and this just gives it a kind of a product feel. So, just to be sure that I've got a thing that I'm happy with. Going to save. Save early, save often is what they say. With Autodesk, I've shorten the process a little bit. It's important to be signed in with a free account. It will save your designs to a project file on your Autodesk account and then I'm going to export my model as an STL. So, in the top-left menu I'm going to choose medium tessellation only because this is a really simple rectilinear object. Going to give my file a name. I'm going to call it Metro card holder. Save it on my desktop, and I'm good to go. Now, I have a mesh file. So, the difference between the file I just exported and the one we're looking at on the screen is that it can be read by a 3D printer. Now, I'm heading to my Shapeways account and I'm uploading this model. It can take a few minutes to get some feedback on a price but I recommend doing this if only so you can get a rough idea of what it is that you'll be spending. So, like I said I'm going to be printing this in laser-centered nylon which is definitely the Shapeways least expensive material. So, you can see a 3D model visible on the browser version. I've got my nice chamfered edges and it looks like and plain raw nylon down there. The cost for this card as it is would be $10.28. It's pretty reasonable start. So, I'm confident that I can keep going with this design. Now, you'll notice that you get pricing for all of the other materials that we offer. Some of which are pretty fancy, platinum, silver and you can go crazy there if you want a platinum metro card holder, go for it. I would recommend going with the plastic just to test, you never know. So, we're back to 123D design. I'm going to click on the Navigator up here so I can get a nice top view. Now, I need to add the portion of my model that is going to hold my headphones. So, I'm going to start with a shape generator called a torus. I want to try and do what we just did with cardholder with this object. It can be difficult to make rounded objects. So, I'm going to try to scale this doughnut or torus so that I can create a hook. Now, it's getting a little tricky to get this the right scale. So, let's see if we can do this. Now, I'm purposefully messing around as I hope you are so that you can understand that there are many roads to Rome, many different ways to end up with a similar design just depending on the tools you decide to use. In this case, I was trying to use the same logic as the cardholder by creating a loop and then perhaps deleting some of the material but as I'm looking at it, I'm realizing this is actually way more complicated than I thought. I am not hoping to tie my headphones to my card holder, so I think I'm going to delete it and I'm going to try something else. So, you can have flat shapes and you can even do individual what we call polylines. So, let's see if I can do my own circle here and going to line it up with my object. Since I wasn't happy with the rounded torus maybe a cylinder will work better. I can cut out some of the shapes that I'm hoping for. Again, I'm just showing you what it's like to mess around with ideas in the space. Ultimately, this isn't going to be the design that we use. But I wanted to show you the different ways that you can approach this. So, I'm lining this up because I want it to be part of my model and it's not quite looking right, it's a little bulky. I'm going to have to do a lot of funky cutting out and I just I'm not crazy about it. So, I'm going to delete and instead I'm going to start with a polyline. So, this is a really great feature of 123D design that's a little bit more advanced than than most free design softwares. So, as I'm clicking my polyline points, I'm clicking and I'm kind of dragging and when you drag and click before you release, it gives a curve to the object. So, I've created this polyline. I'm happy with that last point. When I hit return, it completes the line, and what's nice about a polyline is you've got these points that you can relocate and tweak the shape and scale and the size of the outline that you're going to do and then we're going to turn this into a 3D object. So, at the moment, I'm wanting to make a kind of a clip, not necessarily a loop, not a closed loop, but more of a clip that has a little bit of pressure. Now, something about the nylon is that it has a bit of flexibility. So, I know I'm going to be able to kind of make this a little bit smaller than the headphones actually are so that I have a nice snug fit when I actually put the headphones onto the holder. So, I'm just messing these points until I'm happy with the shape. What we're going to do is we're going to sweep this object, so we're going to create a sort of path for another 2D object to follow to create a 3D objects. So, right now I'm finessing this rotating and getting it lined up with my envelope or my holder. Then from there, we're going to create a 3D tube around this pathway. So, I've rotated it, I'm placing it, and the next step after I've placed it, is to create a circle which I've done, a very small one, seven millimeters to be exact, and I'm going to line this up with the edge of my path. So, this can get a little funky. This is a good spot to use your navigation tools and you're snapping. But once I have my 2D circle lined up with the edge of my path, and I'm sort of moving my build plate around so I can see that, we're going to sweep this tube down the path. So, I'm happy with this. It looks good. It's lined up. Let's see. It's going to go around that space. So, we want to make sure that it's properly lined up and perpendicular. So, I'm zooming in. So the center of the circle isn't quite lined up with my path. I'm going to turn on my Move tool and just finesse it a little bit more. That's looking much better. I'm going to turn snapping off so that when I use the Move tool, I can do a very small increments and the software won't try to help me. Sometimes snapping is really convenient other times it can cause a lot of problems. In this case, I didn't need it. So, from every angle, it looks like our 2D circle is lined up, ops, it kind of overshot it a little bit. So, I'm going to move tool and move it back a little bit. There we go and I also want it to be pretty perpendicular with my polyline, so I've rotated it maybe like a half a degree. So, viewing it from all these different angles. Pretty happy. I'm going to go back to my top view. Got it lined up. I like sizing. Now, I'm going to complete this new 3D shape. So, I'm going to take the Modify tool and I'm going to choose sweep and the sweep tool is two parts just like the cut tool. So, we've got the profile which is the shape of the sweep and the path that it will follow which is the polyline. I hit return and now I've got a very non-rectilinear hook shape that I've created with using two different tools. The polyline tool and the sweep tool. Now, you see when I move my 3D tool, the sketch, the 2D sketch that I have there, if I select that, I'm going to save that. I'm going to hide it, and this is because if I end up needing to make changes, it's much easier to go back to the thing I already had. So, I have that hidden. It's still in my build plane, it's just not visible. Now, I'm going to go in and finesse the position of this hook and I still have snapping turned off, so I can kind of nudge things around in a very small amount. Okay. It looks pretty good. I'm confident that it's making contact with the envelope for the metro card. Again, in 3D software, these are two separate parts. So, we need to join them. So, if I do a selection box and I choose combine, and in this case, it doesn't matter what is the source, what is the target. Hit return and now, you can see by the color change, it's indicating that I have an object that is considered a solid object. The hook is now a solid part of my design and I'm happy and this is my prototype. 7. Prepping Your 3D Print: I have my sketch, I have my idea, I've worked through some different ways that I can make this design, and I think I'm ready to turn my sketch, and my product idea into a 3D model that I'll then be able to print. For this tutorial, I'm going to be using 123D design. 123D design is a free Software made by Autodesk. I really like it, mostly because it's free, and it's not too complicated, but it still has a lot of the same capabilities and features that more advanced 3D modeling software offers. So, what I really love about it is that anything that you learn, any skills or techniques, we'll carry over to other solid and surface modeling softwares once you kind of graduate to those more professional versions of software. Now, I'm going to talk about important features of 123D design, and I will address some of the tools that will really be important for helping you kind of polish up your prototype. Before an in-depth deep dive into 123D design or how to use it, you can check out our reference material on the class page. We have a link to a YouTube playlist of tutorials specifically on 123D design that goes way more in-depth and it's very thorough about how to use the different tools that are available. In this lesson we're going to be covering prototyping, and printing. Like I said at the beginning of this lesson, all products are prototypes, but not all prototypes are products. So, this is our first shot at figuring out what it is about our design that we like, what we don't like, what we forgot, what we need to add, and any changes that we make. If you print something and the very first sprint is absolutely perfect I want you to give me a call, email me, tell me right away because you will have been the first person ever in history to have a product idea and have it work out perfectly the very first time. Of course, I'm joking, but the idea here is that this first print, you're going to learn a lot about what you assumed about the design, and what you forgot to consider. When you're observing your prototype, you want to anticipate that it's going to prove certain assumptions you've made about the design. You want that prototype to isolate different features that you want to make sure are designed properly. So, for example, if you want to test the strength of your design, I recommend printing in the material that you'll print the final product in. If you want to test for the aesthetics of your design, sometimes it doesn't matter and you can print in a variety of different materials, just to get a feel for what the shape and form factor, of that object will look like when you actually have it in your hand. Then finally, although much more ambiguous than strength or aesthetics, is usability. You want to test it, you want to test it in a real-world situation where you're actually going to be using it, how you intend to, and observe whether it meets the criteria that you consider to be successful for the design. Does the card for my Metro card holder, does the Metro card stay in the holder. If it doesn't say in the Holder, it's not really a good metro card holder. So, little things like that affect the usability, the aesthetics, the design, and the functionality of your product. 8. Selecting the Material for Your Print: There are tons of different kinds of 3D printing and if you've perused the Shapeways' website at all, you've noticed that we offer a bunch of different materials. Now, I am a huge fan of desktop 3D printers. They really help with the prototyping process and they also really help with testing basic types of plastic, but we actually print in multiple different materials and some of them are not possible to be printed at home. So, this is something to consider when you're designing. Each of these different materials have different strengths and some drawbacks and you want to keep those in mind when you're designing. For example, if you're making something like a metro card holder that you're going to throw in your purse or in your pocket and not necessarily going to care for gently, our ceramic material would not be a great idea. However, if you're making an espresso cup or a salad bowl or a beautiful plaque, or all kinds of other things, our ceramic material is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's heat safe, it's microwave safe, it's dishwasher safe, it's the real deal and we're really excited about that material. Right now, it's in our maker pilots, you'll be able to upload and print your own designs and eventually, in the near future, maybe even by the time this video is available, you'll be able to sell things and ceramic as well. By far, our most popular material and also our least expensive is our laser sintered nylon. This stuff differs from desktop printed plastic because the features are much crisper, you have a much higher resolution on this and you're also able to do very complex double walled and articulated parts. So, you can see here with this fidget toy. It's also pretty durable and depending on how you design, you can get a really great form factor for a very lightweight object. This piece I have here my hands, like I said, is a fidget toy and these hinges which you can see up close are actually built in. So, when the print comes out of the machine, its hinges are already in place, there's no assembly required and that actually is a hugely freeing capability of 3D modeling especially for laser sintered nylon. So, I'm going to be trying my model in this material. First, we're able to dye in a bunch of different colors and it's incredibly flexible and inexpensive. This print is created with a new material we're offering called Nylon 11. It's really similar to the nylon I was just referring to, however, it starts off completely black. There's no dying process, so you can do some more elaborate and delicate designs out of this material and still get a darker shade. I love this piece, too, because it's incredibly functional and the designer took the time to create an appendage in the back that allows for this to be slit on to pretty much any button down shirt that you come across. So, this is a really functional object that also is really beautiful and takes advantage of the 3D printing process of laser sintered nylon. Probably my favorite material is our 3D printed steel. This is a hybrid process that uses powdered steel and an adhesive and we place the finished piece in a kiln and it's infused with bronze. You can check out some of our resources. We have links to a video from our partner X1, explaining in depth how the steel printing process works. But what I love about this material is it's archival. Meaning, it doesn't break down, it's really strong. In this case, this is a multi-tool used for fixing bicycles, it also has a pedal key. So, this is a really great example of 3D printing as a tool to make new and other tools. The other functions of this, I believe, it has different hexagonal wrench settings and of course the ever-present bottle-opener, you never know when you're going to need to open a bottle. So, this is clearly a product that somebody spend a lot of time thinking about their individual use, developed it for themselves and then made it available to others and in fact, it's one of our best-selling steel products. So, this is a really great example of how to use that material for new tools. Another recent addition to our private family is our direct metal laser sintered aluminum. A lot of words, but really what it means is this aluminum material, it's 100% aluminum, it goes to the same laser sintering process as our nylon which allows for incredibly complex form factors. This is, of course, Bathsheba Grossman Klein Bottle Opener which is multi-walled Voronoi sculpture that also functions as a bottle opener. So, it's both beautiful and functional. But this material is incredibly light weight, it's real aluminum. So, you can have that capability of conductivity, and strength, and lightweight, all in one piece. 9. Iterating on Your Prototype: One of our favorite things to share with our community is unboxing your new products, especially if it's the first time you're seeing something. So, if you get a chance to do this and you want to give a little guided towards, sort of a culture on YouTube of unboxing new products. So, we've taken that and made it a way for our community to show off their new designs. So, this is my very first unboxing video in fact. I'm very excited and I'm going to check out the design that we submitted through 123D Design to hold my Metrocard and my headphones, so that I'm not a fumbly mess when I get into the subway in the morning. Let's take a look here. Well, it looks to be about the right size, that's a good sign but, let's take a look at how it actually functions because that is the most important part. Let's set this aside. So, I've got my wallet here, I'm going get my headphones, let's try the headphones out first. So, for that design, I was hoping for a snug but not too tight little clip. It's got a nice snap, hasn't broken on camera yet so that's exciting. So, my logic was, my hands are full, I want to be able to not drop my headphones or my card when I'm going into the subway. So, the subway slider, I slide with my right hand so, pull like this. So, I'm going to keep headphones here so, I'll do a little slide in, not too bad. It could be a little tighter but that's something I wouldn't have known until I got to try it out so, looking good. Now for the moment of truth, does my Metrocard fit? Here we go. There we go. So it is nice and snug, also little too snug, that might be something I can clean up later on. We'll have to revisit, I don't remember exactly what my measurements are but it looks like even the gap I left to grab my card and pull it out, was just the right size. So, this is cool. I think I want to make some changes to this nonetheless. You can see how my headphones are kind of getting a little loose. This is a little too sticky right here so, but then again, as I use it, that may change. So, this is another thing about prototyping. So, I may be unhappy with how tight this hook is right now, it's a little too loose I think. But, I'm going to actually take this for a test drive a couple of times and really use it. This is another great way to test the product and I would recruit friends and family to test out things that you're planning on selling to others. Use cases that you find really important, might not be so obvious to other people and they might have needs that you wouldn't have realized. So, in my thinking about design, I was thinking, "I know I need to hold this in my left hand, I know my hands are full so the clip is here and this way." It's all about me being right handed. So, you could obviously flip it around if you're left-handed. All right. So, we're talking about prototyping and some common mistakes. So, I'm looking at this and kind of taking a look and I talked about the process and there is loose powder involved so it definitely could do with some cleaning out, which may happen while I'm using the product. Definitely need to rework some of this. I'm going to try to do that with my original design file, 123D has some really excellent tools that I'll talk about shortly, that let you tweak particular areas of the design without changing the rest of it. I'm lucky enough that most of my design worked so that I don't have to change everything. But, if you're sitting here watching this video with your card holder, or whatever you designed in your hand, and it's not working the way you expected, don't be surprised if you end up scrapping your original 3D file and starting again. Because, that is probably the way that I've designed the most. Every project I've ever started where I was learning something, that first try is rarely ever the most perfect and finished product that you can get. On top of that, just because it's a successful first print, doesn't mean that it's a finished products. That user testing part of prototyping is still really important. So, getting use out of it yourself, if it's a design for yourself or giving it to other people to test out and get their feedback is a really great way to make improvements on that design. Once I go back into the software, I'm going to maybe round off some of these edges, make it a little more handheld friendly, I might even take off some of the excess material. I think I remember, I have a solid piece back here to kind of give it some weight but it's totally unnecessary so, I think I might maybe slice some of that off. I also might create a little indent in the top of the design, so that I can get a better grip on card as I'm removing it. I'm definitely going to try and tighten up this little clip so that it's really holds my headphones much more snugly. This is a really good time to revisit the materials pages on Shapeways, shapeways.com/materials. In this case, nylon, remember has that flexibility, has very thin minimums that are still really strong but you want to keep those in mind as you're making tweaks. You'll start to incorporate that information as you learn it but the best way to do it is to test your design ideas, what you think is going to work and get it back in your hand and see how it works in real-world, with physics and gravity, and forgetfulness, and your own fingers and then go from there. I hope I've demonstrated that 3D printing is, well maybe not incredibly simple, it's approachable and the tools are out there, they're easy to learn and the resources are there as well. So, I'd love for you to use this class as a practice session for creating ideas to solve simple problems that you experienced throughout your day to day life. But I also would love for you to use the project forum to talk about your most spectacular failure in this project. I'll be the first to post all of the ways that my design failed and I hope to see some of yours as well. I think it's really important to share this stuff, it's a huge part of design. The process of prototyping and design is all about trying the wrong way first and learning from that. So, the sooner you do that and with less preciousness, the sooner you're going to learn important things that you need to make that design even better. So, please use the project to share the ways that you found you can improve your designs, and improve on your own ideas, and help other people figure out better solutions to their design problems as well. 10. Wrapping Up: Thanks for joining me and learning how to iterate on your designs and create a prototype. I can't wait to see all the projects you guys come up with. It's really important to share the process. This whole class is all about process and how it supports your design. So, in the project gallery upload images of your sketches if you like, screen grabs of your 3D modeling process, and of course, any photographs you have of your first prototype print once you finally have it in your hands. Thanks again. 11. Explore Design on Skillshare: way.