3D Printed Metal Christmas Ornaments: Biodh Duil

My uncle Dick passed away this year, and it was a very sad time for our family because he was such an amazing person and we will all miss him so much. For Christmas, I wanted to do something to remember him. He always loved gadgets and new technology, so I decided to design gifts in Tinkercad and have them 3D printed for the family.

When our family was going through some hard times, Uncle Dick and his daughter Colleen got together and designed a family logo, a tree with a heart and the words “Biodh Duil” (Irish imperative form of the verb “hope”) written below it. He would give out Christmas gifts with this logo on it. I thought it would make a very nice Christmas ornament, so I emailed my cousin, and she sent me a copy:

So I converted it into SVG format and imported it into Tinkercad. I wanted to print on stainless steel, which has a 3mm minimum wall thickness, and prints best with fine details not extruded too high, so I set the height of the logo to 4 or 5mm and stretched it till it was about 2.5 inches tall. Then I tried putting various shapes in the background, stretched to fit nicely around the ornaments. I set them to just a little over 3mm thick, and used the align tool so that the logo was centered on all three axes. Here are some of the background shapes that worked out best:

I decided to try out two different 3D printing services, Shapeways and Ponoko. It turned out I hadn’t gotten the details right on some of the designs the first time around, but both services had customer support teams that were very helpful and responsive in getting the problems worked out before printing. Then came the hardest part–waiting for the designs to come back! Both services were delayed due to the holiday rush. The Shapeways prints took about a month. Of course I took pictures as soon as they came in!

These two are bronze plated stainless steel:

This one is sterling silver:

These two are gold-plated stainless steel:

I found some really pretty ribbon at Found Gallery and Hollander’s in Kerrytown. I tied different kinds to the different ornaments. I’m really happy with the way they came out!