Commission piece for small shiny black part

Welcome to the second article in my Living Artifact Design blog; in which I will detail projects and share details of how the results were achieved.

In this artacle I'll talk about a recent commission I received for reproduction of a small plastic item.

small plastic part

This plastic part was intended for a toy no longer in production, so to repair it parts had to be created. This is where 3D scanning and subsequent printing comes in.

The part did pose some problems for the scanner. The plastic is black, shiny and small; and for those uninitiated in the technology of 3D scanning: black and shiny does not scan well! So in comes the contact powder... or a light dusting of baby powder (which was what I had at hand), and an approximation was captured. But far from perfect. 

3D capture of plastic part

Two captures were made, one from top, one from below, and then brought into the parametric modelling environment of Autodesk Fusion 360 (that's tech talk for a specific type of 3D computer modelling! It's a great tool to work with!!).

parametric model of small plastic part

The scanning helped achieve the dimensions and was particularly helpful in the size and placement of the spherical feature. This would have been tricky to achieve accurately with just a ruler and calipers.

It is interesting (only to me?) that the model is now saved. In a file. For prosperity. Amazing technology! That's some technological magic right there!!

Anyway ... I'm getting distracted...

This object was then saved to a 'mesh' suitable for printing and prep'ed for my printer. I copied and pasted a few times to get a bunch to fulfil the order.

12 copies of small plastic part for 3D printing

After the machine did the print they were separated from the raft (the additional material required to establish the model correctly on the printing surface) and delivered to the client.

10 3D printed copies of a small plastic part

10 x 3D printed copies of a small plastic part.