3D Printed Hexagons and the Spacer for the Tessellation

3D Printed Hexagons – Themed Collection

There is an interesting themed collection of 3D printed hexagons on Thingiverse. María Loureiro aka @tecnoloxia started a project named @100Hex where she shares her designs. Many hexagons represent different patterns, but some are based on pieces of art, recognisable images or events. On her Thingiverse project page, María encourages makers to add to the collection by using “Remix It” option. And we have witnessed that many do participate by adding their own 3D printed hexagons with customised designs.

We are collectors: stamps, coins, and lately 3D printing related stickers. The idea of creating a themed collection appealed to us as it opens a possibility to build a “memorabilia” wall. One of the themes that we immediately wanted to implement was dedicated to an event that we attended this year.

3D Printed Hexagons and the Spacer for the Tessellation
Hexagons and the Spacer for the Tessellation
(Image: 3DWithUs)

TCT Show in Birmingham, UK, was the first big 3D printing related event that we took part in, having an opportunity to meet with the producers, software designers and community members. Now we have a special hex to remind us of this event.

3D Printed Hexagon - TCT Show 2017 - Themed Collection
TCT Show 2017
(Image: 3DWithUs)

There is a huge number of awesome 3D printable models coming out every month, and we wish we could print them all but there is no room left on our shelves. As the result, our beloved Groots, Pikachu, dragons, etc. sadly end up in the box next to failed prints. By having the best designs in a form of hex art, it would be possible to enjoy them as a mural. In the end, it can be a great decoration for a 3D printing room together with a source of inspiration for designers and makers. Here is our hex art take on Benchy. NB! Before editing the original STL file, please make sure that its licence allows that.

3D Printed Hexagon - 3DBenchy
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Cactus model has a sentimental value for us as the first try in 3D design. It is not a conventional hex as it has texture. We experimented by adding a relief to the hex and printing in two colours. Although it does not fit into the original hex frame of 120 x 103.92 x 2 mm, we are happy with the result.

3D Printed Hexagon - Two Colours 3DWithUs Cactus Logo
Two Colours 3DWithUs Cactus Logo
(Image: 3DWithUs)

3D Printed Hexagons Tips & Tricks

– Before editing the original STL file, please make sure that its licence allows that
– Use a spacer for the tessellation (to arrange the shapes closely together with equal intervals)
– Before glueing make sure you are 100% happy with the position – it will be hard to remove
– Use “dries clear” glue
– All parts should be attached to one another
– Wait until the make has cooled down completely before removing it from the printing bed
– Ask for help in the Comments section

White HATCHBOX PLA Filament on Amazon (affiliate link)

It was not that as easy to design 3DBenchy hex as we initially thought. Well, it was easy to upload an STL file and squash it to 2 mm. However, the slicer showed that it would be a mess on the printing bed (see picture below). After seeing it in Simplify3D we realised that adjustments have to be done before printing it. After squashing the original Benchy in Tinkercad, we uploaded the model to MakePrintable, repaired it there, and then back to Tinkercad to use the “hole” shapes (booleans) to make it flat. There may be a much easier way to create a 3DBenchy hex, for example, by using a threshold feature in 2D-design software.

3D Printed Hexagons - Tips and Tricks - Squashed 3DBecnhy in Simplify3D
Tips and Tricks – Squashed 3DBecnhy in Simplify3D
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Hexagon base is very easy to prepare in any design software. In Tinkercad, for example, take the basic item “polygon” shape, turn it 30 degrees and change the dimensions to 120 x 103.92 x 2 mm. When we designed our first TCT Show 2017 hexagon, we came across a problem with the letters and numbers that had internal shapes in them, like 0 or P.

The central pieces would make holes if left unattached. Of course, it is possible to glue internal shapes separately, but another option is to make barely visible 0.4 mm (two layers height) strips that would hold them (see picture below). It is very easy to print, though extra care should be taken while removing ready hexagons from the bed in order not to break these thin strips.

3D Printed Hexagons - Tips and Tricks - How to Attach Zeros
Tips and Tricks – How to Attach Zeros
(Image: 3DWithUs)

When we saw sneakers hexagon on Twitter, it immediately connected with us, as it resembles our favourite summer footwear. It was not easy to find the file in the enormous collection. There are two files: tenis.stl and tenis_a.stl. CTRL+F helps with the search, otherwise, write directly to María if stuck.

Hexagon Sneakers by @tecnoloxia
Hexagon Sneakers by @tecnoloxia
(Image: 3DWithUs)

To glue or not to glue – that is the question. 3D printing community expressed their wish to add an interlocking system to avoid glueing permanently. It is a great idea, and we would be happy if someone could design it. In our case, we used Dries Clear Glue (affiliate link) we bought on Amazon. NB! Very hard to remove.
Watch our 3-minute video on the subject with “How To” tips.

There is an interesting decoration on the walls surrounding Wimbledon tennis court area. We made some pictures to try to make themed hexagons based on it. After editing the images in Gimp, they were then transferred to Inkscape (Path – Trace Bitmap – Remove Background) to get that black and white .SVG file before uploading them to TinkerCad. There the images were cropped into hexagons using hole models (Boolean).

3D Printed Hexagon - Wimbledon Tennis
3D Printed Hexagon – Wimbledon Tennis
(Image: 3DWithUs)

When we learned to design in “hexagon” we took Vicky Somma aka @TGAW coin model, zoomed it and placed on top. Now 3D Benchy maker coin with encouraging phrase is on our hexagon mural.

From Failure, Knowledge - Ex Deliquo, Cognitio by Vicky Somma
From Failure, Knowledge – Ex Deliquo, Cognitio by Vicky Somma
(Image: 3DWithUs)

It seems like it is possible to portray almost everything in hexagon. In this case, we took a red cabbage that is cut in half. Now we have a 3D printed hexagon that reminds us of healthy eating. We would love to see community members creating more 3D printing themed hexagons. There is still room for our 3D printed hexagon mural extension.

3D Printed Hexagon - Red Cabbage - Mural
Red Cabbage
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Themed Collection

When we started collecting hexagons it seemed like a good idea to create a wall mural. But it is impossible to rearrange or transfer the pieces when they are glued to the surface. With the glueless system, tiles can be arranged in different compositions.

Here is a glueless hexagon mural assembly by Fedor Sosnin, a skilled designer on Thingiverse. We couldn’t resist asking his permission to use his pictures on our website and social media. More images on his page.

100Hex Mural Assembly by Fedor Sosnin
100Hex Mural Assembly
(Image: Fedor Sosnin)

World of Warcraft Hex Mural assembly by lakemast. Check the alliance races crests. Great idea!

3D Printed World of Warcraft Hex Mural by lakemast
World of Warcraft Hex Mural – Alliance Races Crests by lakemast
(Image: lakemast)

Absolutely love the Filament Saver Remix idea by OutwardB! Saves the material, allows a much bigger variety of background shades, and better than snap connectors. But most of all I find that strings will make the wall mounting process much easier especially for the big setups.

Hexagon Filament Saving Bases - Setup Using Strings
Filament Saver Remix
(Image: OutwardB)

3D Printable Hexagon Source & STL files:

Instead of Thingiverse we would recomend to check this very well orgonized
Gallery: https://tecnoloxia.org/100hex
100hex collection on Twitter @100hex
100hex collection by tecnoloxia_org thing:2477471
From Failure Comes Knowledge Maker Coin by VickyTGAW thing:1936616
Hexagons by 3DWithUs thing:2720649
Share your STL files with others using “Remix It” option on Thingiverse.

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