Intro: 3D Printed Titanic Toy
As Christmas was approaching I was desperate for a quick gift for my niece and nephew.
I haven't done any 3D printing before so I came up with ideas that could double as a present and as my first projects. After figuring out what the kids are into I chose a flat-screen TV to Elena and this Titanic to Oli.
Step 1: Create a Solid Geometry 3D Model
First, I created the 3D model from scratch in SketchUp as I couldn't find any good one in the Warehouse. Starting from a Titanic section drawing I made a simplified solid geometry model suitably for 3D printing. (Maybe I could have kept more details but I didn't know what the limits of the technology are so I sought to keep the whole project as simple as possible.)
Step 2: Let It Break
Adding some fun to the model I decided to make it 'breakable' so it could sink in two parts as happened in the RMS Titanic's catastrophe.
I considered many joint solutions but again, the lack of experience in 3D printing made me cautious. Eventually, I decided to use magnets in order to avoid potential pitfalls of printing joints, like two parts not fitting properly. (As I learned later, the printer works with different tolerances vertically and horizontally, thus one needs to take into account this when modelling joints.) But I had no magnets at home and it was late evening, all the hobbyist's shops were closed. Luckily, in a shopping centre, I found Christmas decorations with magnets on their back and I chose two figures whose magnets liked each other. (I made a mistake by picking one with its magnet glued --no way to remove--, but the other was secured with double-sided tape, super-easy peel-off magnet source.)
For additional locking one magnet is sticking out by the half of its thickness and sits into the other part.
Step 3: Get Colour
I was hesitating which colour should I use and I only learned at the very last minute that it can be printed in more than one colour by changing the filament at any hight I wish. I regret not to choose three colours (red, black and white as it should be) but I only learned about it on the spot in the printing shop and ended up with just black and white.
Luckily, Oli tested that PLA can be painted. :) (Yes, you see right in the picture, he got another but proper, moulded plastic model too from his parents. :) )
Step 4: Launch
I wanted it to be able to float but had no idea how the model will behave. However, we can state it floats, only sideways. :) I didn't create any weight to balance the model and couldn't calculate what inner structure the slicing software will create. (In order to make the printing cost-effective the slicing software doesn't print solid blocks but creates a hollow structure in the body.)