Project Shapeshifter + Tinkercad for 3D Design

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The middle school multimedia class recently explored the Project Shapeshifter website. This site is free and does not require a login to use! It lets you design complex shapes in 3D by changing patterns and parameters like the number of segments, the size, thickness, taper, and the twist. It also lets you add a base and lip to your shape. This was one of those sites that you heard the kids saying, “Oh cool, look at this!” as they explored.

The shapes can be downloaded as .stl files and can be printed as is. These designs work perfectly as pencil holders or vases. We did discover if the shape was very complex with many twists and segments that sometimes there were too many errors or supports to be able to print successfully.

3D Printing

Since the students had already gone through a 5 step design process lesson earlier in the year, I wanted to see what creative ideas they would come up with if they brought their design from Shapeshifter into Tinkercad and added additional elements. Here are some of their completed designs from this project.

carter

Carter designed 2 pieces in Shapeshifter and sized them to match exactly. He then added a knob to the top of the curved lid using Tinkercad.

lacey

Lacey made a twisting complex shape in Shapeshifter, then customized it in Tinkercad with a base labeled “Markers.”

Quinten

Quinten designed a beautiful vase in Shapeshifter, then added a base in Tinkercad to make it more sturdy.

matt outside

Matt began by creating a sleek curved bell shape in Shapeshifter. In Tinkercad he made a separate clapper for the bell and added a loop inside to attach it with a wire. We realized that the clapper would also make a great handle for the bell, so we printed a second one and crazy glued it to the top. The bell actually makes noise when you ring it!

Here’s a video showing the students at work on this project. Note: the video was created with Apple’s new Clips app!

It was exciting to see how the students used these shapes in creative ways to develop functional and fun objects!

Disclosure: As a part of the Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school is receiving the use of the 3D40 printer for one year. 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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