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. Click on picture to zoom
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. 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Printable Hexagon STL files:
100hex collection on Twitter https://twitter.com/100hex
100hex collection by tecnoloxia_org https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2477471
From Failure Comes Knowledge Maker Coin by VickyTGAW https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1936616
Hexagons by 3DWithUs https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2720649
Share your STL files with others using “Remix It” option on Thingiverse.
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