even more fun with 3D printing

I got my hands on a Makerbot Digitizer, so I can scan 3D models of all the things (that fit inside ~512 cubic inches) and then do stuff with them.

I don’t have a lot of scanning experience at the moment, and I haven’t done any serious 3D modeling since I was using Lightwave 3D on the Video Toaster 4000, so right now I’m just scanning solid objects and printing them out, because of reasons.

Over the weekend, I scanned a lemon from my lemon tree…    scanning a lemon

…and then I printed a copy of my lemon. Because, as so many people have observed, when life hands you a lemon, you scan it and print a copy of it.

A 3d printed lemon

Then you put it with its original and act out an imagined scene from a spy thriller.



One of the things I like about Maker Culture is how all the Makers I know aren’t jealous with their knowledge, expertise, and experience. Every Maker I’ve ever met or interacted with has been happy to help anyone who asks her questions, and the spirit of sharing and cooperation is inspiring as hell to me. I love that objects that are uploaded to Thingiverse are intended to be remixed and modified by other Makers, and that those things can also be remixed.

When I uploaded my stupid lemon scan to Thingiverse, I made it an Attribution-Non-Commericial-Share-Alike object, because I figured that, somewhere in the world, someone may be able to do something useful with it. Well, little did I know that, just a few hours after I uploaded the object file, someone would graft two beefy arms onto it, creating the Trogdor of lemons.

NOW it's a lemon party!
NOW it’s a lemon party!

It’s nice to know that the same technology that lets people create actual, useful things lets me amuse myself with stupid things like this.

Also, speaking of useful things, I present to you the 3D-Printed Tabletop Trophy of Awesome!

3D Tabletop Trophy of Awesome
Click to embiggen. Trust me,  you really want to see the bigger version of this.

This model was created by Joseph Larson, who goes by Cymon on various 3D printing forums. As it turns out, I’ve made a bunch of his objects, including his Minecraft Creeper remix, and I had no idea that he was a fan of my show.

At the moment, we’re keeping the .stl to ourselves, but we’ll probably release it into the world in some form or another in time for Tabletop Day.

And speaking of Tabletop Day … you have signed up for an event, haven’t you? I really want you to play more games.

24 thoughts on “even more fun with 3D printing”

  1. My awesome wife and I are hosting an event at our local watering hole in Avondale, AZ (yes, its on tabletopday.com)

  2. As much as I know it’s neat to be able to do all this 3D printing stuff I literally cringe thinking about how many tiny bits of plastic pellet goodness are being added to an already royally screwed up world. So many of the things have all the little extra lattices added to support them while they are being made which are then just broken or cut off casually pitched (into inefficient recycling bins, at best, where I wonder how they’ll be classified or if they have a hope of being re-used at all). I don’t want to come off as a total buzz kill but be aware that this plastic is, for all intents and purposes, *never* going away. Being so casual about making even more is troubling. Just figured I should point it out…although I’m sure it is something you’ve likely thought about at least a little bit.

    1. This kind of 3d printer uses a plastic called PLA, it’s a biodegradable, compostable plastic derived from corn.

  3. It’s such a trip every time someone likes and prints my models. I don’t even have words when it’s someone who’s work I also admire.

    What wasn’t mentioned about that trophy is that the handsome profile of it’s shape is based on the face of Mr Wheaton himself. It’s a Rubin Vase. When viewed from the right angle (and in this case it’s the back of the trophy that is unencumbered enough to make it work) it’s possible to make out a shape of a face in the negative of the trophy, and that face is Wil Wheatons. You can kind of see it in the picture shown here. So now everyone who wins one of these will have Wil Wheaton looking over them. For ever and ever.

  4. Although I suspect I probably spent a hundredth of the time working on the beefy armed lemon as Joe Larson spent on the Tabletop Trophy, I share his sentiments on the headiness of having someone whose work I admire like my model!

  5. Just out of curiosity, do you know roughly how much these (the lemon and trophy) cost to produce (electricity + materials) each? It may be a misconception on my part, but I always thought 3D printing things was kind of expensive…?

  6. Dude, just finished Cory Doctorow’s “Homeland”. I would so freak out at crashing into you playing D&D at Burning Man. Going to run a game at Comic Palooza in Houston over Memorial Day. Hope to see Mr. Scalzi, would be cool if you could sneek in.

  7. Should mention Wil that that are a couple ways to do 3D scanning larger objects. I originally was thinking about the Makerbot Digitizer but decided on the xbox kinect since I already had one.

    1)using the xbox kinect hooked up to a laptop
    2) if you have an iphone you can use the 123D Create to scan and convert to a 3d model.


    Gives you the option to scan larger objects (up to complete rooms!)

  8. Umm, if life gives you lemons, aren’t you supposed to invent combustible lemons and burn life’s house down?

    1. I’ve often wondered about that. Did that orange enter the grid and discover a world of citrus programs, joined with a few rebel kumquats to fight the Master Citrus Program, a free the grid. Maybe the experience bestowed him with the ability to talk, but because he’s fruit he just ends up being really annoying. A really annoying… oh dear.

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