3-D Printing Wood!



I recently bought some Wood-Based PLA to experiment with. It is made from 80% wood pulp, a little adhesive, and a little PLA. When it prints it has a really nice matte finish and the texture almost make it feel like cardboard (in a good way). An added bonus – when it prints it has that nice wood burning smell..


All of the light brown colored prints in these photos are examples of this wooden filament.



Both of the photos show a clay sculpture of a stump underneath a 3-d scanned version of itself. You can see the scanner had difficulty picking up the deep cracks of the sculpt. The top stump is printed in the wood based PLA. The print resolution is not great, and due to some temperature variation, there are cracks and artifacts throughout. However I tend to like the visible layers because they remind me of tree growth rings, so it seems fitting.

I am going to continue experimenting with different brands of filament and machine settings, stay tuned.

It’s a Llama!


It’s a little llama that jumps when you pull his strings. This design is meant to be a build-it-yourself kit for making an ornament. The pieces all snap together and string can be added to hang it and create the frolicking motion.There are 11 pieces altogether, not including the string, that you can print in any color combination you want.

All of the STL files for printing one are available on Thingiverse here.



This llama was created as a part of a series that I like to refer to as my mildly mechanical designs. I like the idea of making things that incorporate one or two basic engineering principles. I think of these designs as way to teach myself how to use these principles, as well as a way to show others how they work.

Atlanta Maker Faire 2015

This month, I participated in the Atlanta Maker Faire again as part of Oscar Eastwood (i.e. The Society of Lady Makers). With rain looming, we were a little concerned about the turn out, but everything worked out great. We had a blast helping kids make miniature light-up houses, lighthouses, and critter pins.


Some of our critter magnets, and the sign for our letter writing workshop.


A few more of our critter magnets (in 3D printed wood), and a little bit of our workspace.


This year we had a few of our zen gardens and 3D scanned designs on display for kids to play with(in). I love the way the colors looked all together.


Again this year the hot glue gun was key. We even found some great glittery gold glue to use for magnet making.


This year we even had a tropical bird weathering the storm with us at our booth.

All in all it was a great experience to see kids get excited about making. We had a few repeat visitors from last year and it was neat to hear about how they ended up using their creations after the Faire. I learned a lot about what level of detail children are interesting in learning about, and how to keep my instructions short and sweet.

Designing and Making Custom Cement Pavers

Here are some in-progress shots of a batch of our concrete pavers. These photos show four of our first custom designs. The next designs are currently being formulated and won’t be so fish-centric. All of the pavers were made on the porch of my own (tiny) apartment from homemade silicone molds.  You might recognize the fish art from one of my previous posts.  
inproductiontunaThis guy is our yellowfin tuna design, prior to it being painted.


My porch is only about 12 x 7 ft. so it gets a little tight when there are more than a couple pavers in production. In this photo you can see the dolphin, wahoo, and sailfish designs. The surfaces are sanded down and polished to fix any imperfections.


When it starts raining, everything gets moved inside. Here is a photo of me experimenting with paint. The final pavers are coated in concrete sealant on top of any coloration of the designs.


These guys got a realistic paint job since they were for a pretty hardcore fisherman.  Going forward the designs will probably end of being more monochromatic due to time constraints.

This design project is ongoing as part of ShipHouse (a product production collaboration between myself and one other.)  We hope to continue to design, produce and sell pavers locally.

3D Scanning a Turtle

This guy is a little critter I made to test out some more of our Makerbot Digitizer’s functionality. I scanned him about six times from all different angles. The digital file still did not pick up all of the cracks, crevices, and surface features, but I think the overall model turned out cute.


Clay sculpture on the scanning turntable.


Sculpture with the scan. Deep cracks didn’t really show up in scan.



A fun part of PLA plastic is that it floats and you can color on it with crayons, so bath toys!


Bait Fish & Big Fish Drawings

I have recently been drawing fish for a new design project. These are hand drawn in sharpie and then scanned in in black and white mode and converted to vector outlines in Illustrator.  I then open the vectors in the CAD program Solidworks and create models by extruding the shapes. In this way I can use my own drawings to create and 3D print models that will later be molded into other materials (in this case concrete). My process is a combination of both old school and new school techniques but I enjoy the process of seeing my drawings transition between materials and dimensions.






Big fish (marlin, wahoo, & dolphin) and bait fish (flying fish, pilchard, & cigar minnow).