Jump to content
Ultimaker Community of 3D Printing Experts
jweaver

How to convert a 2D drawing to a 3D print?

Recommended Posts

I do not have an Ultimaker, but I do have and use Cura and I just wonder if someone is able to help me.

I am currently doing a little 3D printing project at work as a favour and one of the senior managers asked me if I could turn a small drawing from their daughter into a 3D print.

I know its possible, but have never tried and before I spend hours researching, I just wonder if anyone has any info they could share.

Does anyone know of a good guide or tool that might help me?

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So... The very simplest approach is to simply drag your image file into cura... (it will accept .bmp, .jpg, .png and possibly more)

Cura will generate a 3d model for you where a grescale version of the image is used as a heightmap... You have a few options, like deciding which tone, dark or light, should be low and high points, some options for how large the model will be, and if it will have a base or not.

the import also has two simple smoothing filters you can apply.

Now, depending on your source material, this may or may not be a sufficient approach... I tried it a bit, and found that with an image with a lot of detail (many different greyscale values cluttered about), you get a lot of "hills" and "valleys" in your print, which results in a lot of travel, retraction, stringing, etc. generally things you would want to avoid.

I found that you get the best results, if you pre process your image a bit, using a photo editing tool like eg. photoshop... In there you can do a lot of smart filtering, and if you can eg. reduce the image to 3-5 greyscale values (or even hard black/white), you'll get a much better result.

Another approach is, if you have one of the newer Photoshop editions, to use some of their 3d features... I did a series of prints of these Star Wars snowflakses: http://anthonyherreradesigns.com/index.php/8-ahd-blog/14-star-wars-snowflakes-2014

For those i converted the source image to hard black/white, then did some steps with expanding and contracting selections and painting over, to make sure there were no too small holes, or too thin walls... After that I simply extruded the image directly in photoshop (I believe it was CS5) and exported it to Cura.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is AMAZING.. I have been using Cura solidly for 12 months and didn't know that...

I am going to have a play.. But based on my first tests, this looks perfect.

One thing jumps out immediatly is the 'base'.. My "background" is white.. Yet I get a bottom to the print which could have to be trimmed off... Is there a way to make Cura treat a white background as "nothing"?

Jon

Edit: I guess I could just use the "cut off the bottom" feature to sink it into the bed.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The base you see, I believe comes from the import settings... There is a field called "Base" and I think default is 1mm.

Try reimporting your image and setting it to 0..

Also, do look over the layer view of your slice... It may look good initially, but a pixelated edge will eg. come out as a jagged zigzag line in the slice, yielding horrible print results (and noise :s)

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The base you see, I believe comes from the import settings... There is a field called "Base" and I think default is 1mm.

Try reimporting your image and setting it to 0..

Also, do look over the layer view of your slice... It may look good initially, but a pixelated edge will eg. come out as a jagged zigzag line in the slice, yielding horrible print results (and noise :s)

 

I tried messing with the base value, but even at 0.0 it leaves a "plate" at the bottom.. So I just used the "cut the bottom" feature to get rid of it and that works.

But your point about the zig-zags is absolutely right.. I have looked at the layers and its horrific.. If I try to print that, its going to shake my printer appart.. So I think I need to look for another solution.

I will have a look at PS, but I am a novice and know almost nothing about it.. So I fear I may have to hunt for another solution..

Cheers

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a complete novice in PS too, but at least the extrude to 3d feature was very straight forward, so Im sure you'll figure it out.

For the fixing of hole and wall sizes that I talked about, I used the magic wand tool to select areas of the image... then there is some option to expand that selection by x amount of pixels (dont remember exactly where, but its fairly easy to find), that, along with the ability to invert selection (right click -> invert selection) will get you a long way... You can then just use a paint brush or the eraser tool in the selected area, depending on what you need.I am a complete novie too, but at least the extrude to 3d feature was very straight forward, so Im sure you'll figure it out.

For the fixing of hole and wall sizes that I talked about, I used the magic wand tool to select areas of the image... then there is some option to expand that selection by x amount of pixels (dont remember exactly where, but its fairly easy to find), that, along with the ability to reverse selection (right click -> inverse selection) will get you a long way... You can then just use a paint brush or the eraser tool in the selected area, depending on what you need.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2015 at 11:23 AM, jweaver said:

I tried messing with the base value, but even at 0.0 it leaves a "plate" at the bottom..

 

I also saw in Cura what appeared to be a bottom layer that would be printed even with Base set to 0. Once I actually printed it though, that layer was not created. Only an outline of that layer. You can see my Cura screen, and a print example in a separate thread I started before finding yours.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy