How to Create 3D Printed Snowflakes with the Morphi App

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The third graders recently worked on a 3D design project. They used 6 point symmetry in the Morphi app to create these gorgeous 3D snowflakes which we printed out on our Dremel 3D printers.

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Students began in Morphi by using the free draw tool. They turned on the axis and then used the + sign to add 6 lines of symmetry. (See the diagram below.) Their designs were each as unique as real snowflakes are!

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By simply tapping the 3D button, the line drawings convert into 3D! This definitely is a WOW moment for the students!

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We used the shape tool to add a “doughnut” shape as a loop. Use the diameter and thickness tools to adjust the size of the loop. This can be a bit tricky for first time users, so I did have to add to loop for a few of the students. Final designs were saved and the .stl file was emailed to the teacher with the student name in the subject line of the email (so I would know who created each file).

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The designs printed beautifully on our Dremel 3D printers! It took about 2 hours to print each snowflake.

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A few hints if you try this project:

  • Adjust the line size and make it slightly thicker. The thin lines are fragile when they print and often break.
  • Be sure all lines connect on your snowflake or pieces will fall off the printed snowflake.
  • Designs that are very complex sometimes will not print successfully
  • If your design gets too large, parts will be chopped off and your snowflake will not be round.
  • The Morphi app comes in a free and paid EDU version. You will need the paid version to use the drawing tool. The drawing tool is amazing and allows you to create custom 3D designs.
  • I did make the designs larger using the Print Studio software that comes with the Dremel Printers while I was preparing the files for printing. You could also adjust the size in Morphi, but doing this step later simplified the project for the students.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! The students have used their snowflakes to inspire some creative writing about the “Secret Life of Snowflakes!” Next week they are going to change their 3D snowflakes into talking animated videos to tell their stories. Stay tuned to see/hear their videos!

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Disclosure: As a part of the Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school received the use of the 3D40 printer. If you are interested in learning more about the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer, you may contact https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education-request.  I’d appreciate it if you noted Karen Bosch/this blog post as a referral in the comments/questions section at the bottom of the form.  Thanks!

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