First Foam-Core Build!


  • Doing a 45 degree bevel edge is hard and sloppy.  Easier to go with two separate pieces and miter them.   (If those are even the correct words)
  • Gluerunner is a short term solution.  Really need pins to hold things together, especially around large empty spaces like doors at the edge of a wall.
  • I don’t have fine motor skills.. the model is very awkward for me to work with.  AND the furniture doesn’t stay put yet.. would need some kind of silly putty sticky rubber goo ball tacky .. yes, that’s what it was called. tack.
  • I don’t think I like it enough to proceed with this medium.

I think I am going to go for a 3D print of the walls for the next iteration.  I need to learn how to

  • slice up the solid so that I have 4” x 4” pieces or so (can max do 5” on the short dimension)
  • but slice it in a way that it can connect with itself
  • slice it vertically so that I have two pieces (probably one with the windows and up, and the other from the sill downwards)
  • also in a way that it can connect with itself.

Or, maybe I’m done with it.  The easiest thing is to only have the virtual version. 

  • The furniture stays where I tell it to.
  • I can do a virtual walk through
  • It looks very pretty

Here’s a render from SweetHome3D overhead:


And here’s a POV in the kitchen:


The actual model when you are working with it:


Not sure where I’m going from here.  I think the next step is a class on Sketchup on Nov 5th (Tuesday) at LVL1.   Redraw the plan in sketchup (very easy, there’s a tutorial on how to do interior house stuff from a CAD layout) and do something with large solids intersecting others to create slices, like this:


Making a 3D print of the interior of my house

imageA project I’ve always been kicking around (ever since I bought my first mobile home in 2000) is to create a scale model of the space I live in.

  • In 2000, I did it with graph paper and cut-out pieces of cardboard to represent furniture.
  • In 2007, I did it with Lego’s.  I wish I still had a picture of it, but they got lost somewhere in Photobucket.  land.  
  • In 2008, I used Sketchup to plan our Kitchen remodel.

Well, the urge came back up again – and this time, the other urge is to use a 3D printer to print out either the model, or the furniture which goes into the model, or both.


So I started researching.   Here are the nuggets I’ve learned:

  • Sweet Home 3D makes wonderful 3D models of the interiors of houses.
    • It only exports to OBJ format
    • The models it generates are non-manifold.
    • The furniture it places tend to be non-manifold.
  • Most 3D print software reads STL.   Or so I thought.
    • Turns out that’s still mostly true;  many of them convert to “GCODE”, but Makerbots use something else called “X3G”.
  • Meshlab can read in, and write out, many different formats, and can detect non-manifold edge problems.
    • It crashes pretty often.
    • It has code which can be used to fix meshes, but I don’t know to use it yet.
  • Netfabb Private can read in STL files and do some mesh repair work.
    • Some of the sweetHome3D outputs are too complicated for it.
    • Very juicy program. If I keep doing this, I might buy their pro version. 
    • Netfabb Cloud fixes even more stuff. 
  • If you’re looking for some frickin’ cool math, PolyMender is pretty neat:
    • Imagine filling a model with 2^N little squares.
    • Draw the model, filling in the squares
    • Just using the squares, recreate the model.
    • Its garunteed to be manifold.
    • The output was somewhat choppy for my purposes though; and the resulting files when given enough resolution (N=8,9) were too large for the 3D print software.
  • Sketchup is no longer part of Google, but still has a free editor.
    • To which you can add an extension (.rbz) to Import/Export to STL.
    • However, it can generate surfaces with problems.  Not necessarily Manifold problems.
    • But if you take care while editing your model, these problems are the types that can be automatically fixed by Netfabb.
  • Repetier-Host is a program used to control Solidoodle’s and several other 3D printers.
    • It will detect Manifold and intersection problems
    • It will run Slic3r to generate G-Code to drive a printer
    • You can view the resulting G-Code and get a feeling of overhangs, support material, infill, etc.
  • The List of 3D printers

The end result is, while I’ve got a pretty decent rendition of the house in Sweet Home 3D, it is far too difficult to convert it into a 3D print at this time.

Plan B.  Using Foam Core Board.

Check out this video:

Captions are Captives

Its about furniture building, but what I’m thinking is, I would use the technique to build the model, and then use 3D printing to create a framework so that I can assemble the different floors of the model into a house (think spacers, building a framework to nest other components, etc).

I would also use 3D printing to print out some of the more interesting furniture (though, for square things, I’d just use Origami).

The advantage here is I can then take pictures of textures and glue them appropriately – and given the speed and cost of 3D printing, its probably cheaper.

About that 3D Printer

I was all excited, and about buy myself a Solidoodle 2 – however, somebody had once mentioned the local hackerspace LVL1 to me.   I decided to go check them out.    Separate blog post on that.   Chances are, I’ll probably get a membership to them instead*, and use their printers.  And possibly some of their other stuff. 

*POINT: Don’t need a membership to use their resources.  They are very proud of that.  However, given that everybody likes 3D printing, the times when they are open to non-members = contention for use of the 3D printers, and they are 20 miles from home, so a membership will ease the access part of the equation.