How do I submit 123D Creatures for printing?
Send the creature’s model file to your email address using the “Export Mesh” function in 123D Creature. Unzip the email attachment and upload the “SculptShape.obj” file to Thingiverse or other online repository. Submit the link to the model on our online submission form.
What kind of plastic do you use?
Currently we print exclusively using PLA–a biodegradable plastic derived from corn starch.
How detailed can you print?
It depends. Our printers can print some surface detail that is really quite tiny, but there’s always lots of ridges in between the layers, so you never get a smooth object. Also, spindly designs tend to fail and break during printing, and we’d rather not print objects with lots of struts or thin legs. Generally, cylindrical shapes narrower than 5mm don’t print well. Thin walls (over 1mm) are usually fine though, as long as they are connected to something.
I want to print a cool cup. Are 3D prints food safe?
Not really. There are lots of ridges and holes in a 3D printed object that are difficult to clean and can culture bacteria. Also, we don’t take care to always wash our hands before maintaining our printers and we’re fairly certain the grease we use doesn’t taste great.
How do you select projects?
We’re figuring that out as we go along. We might choose an interesting idea, or a project that’s technically challenging to print in order to help refine our printing techniques. It might be we chose a project just because we like the student’s motivation for designing the project. When we do choose and print projects, we’ll blog about why we selected them for printing.
I’m a parent. Does my child need to submit their project through their teacher?
No. You’re free to help your child submit his/her project. We still ask you to submit the name of your child’s teacher and school.
What if my project isn’t selected for printing?
We wish we could print every request, but we have to set a limit to make sure our own students can finish their projects on time. There are companies like Shapeways that you can pay to print your creations. Other possibilities include becoming a member at Santa Barbara Hackerspace, or checking with your local library to see if they have a 3d printer available.
Will you expand the program to include more cities or print more projects?
Possibly. We’d like to include all of Santa Barbara county, and print more than five projects per month. We’re going to start small and see how the program develops.
I downloaded a model from Thingiverse and I just want it printed. Can you do that for me?
Our goal is to encourage creativity and for people to learn the design skills to make their own cool stuff. So no, we won’t just print out a replica of other people’s work. But if you downloaded a model of an eagle, and then used Meshmixer to replace its wings with beefy arms and its head with a velociraptor head, that would be something we’d consider.
How do I get my print?
There are two ways. You can either pick it up at Garden Street Academy (faster) or wait a few days for us to send it in the mail.
What is the cost?
There is no cost to you. We are a non-profit school, and this program is meant to be a service to the community to encourage more students and teachers to try 3D printing.
Last updated: Oct. 22, 2014.