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Month: June 2016

Software behind the 3D leather stamps

I’ve mentioned the software I use to make 3D stamps and added the links in the previous blogs. But just to expand a little for those interested.

Adobe Illustrator CS – Adobe.com

Illustrator creates vector graphics and comes as part of a design plan with Adobe. I use it in my other job, along with Photoshop and InDesign so its a cost effective solution for me. It is expensive but there are great alternatives out there, the one I found is an App selling for £22.99. Its called Autodesk Graphic and has a very similar way of working to Illustrator. With this programme you can construct the base patterns for your 3D projects. There are patterns, borders, decorative shapes included already, or you can search for free patterns on the web, there are tons!

A screenshot of the vector files used to create 3D stamps
A screenshot of the vector files used to create 3D stamps

Tinkercad – tinkercad.com

Although I have used 3D modelling programs in the past I didn’t have anything available until I found Tinkercad online, with the added bonus that it was also by AutoDesk. This online programme takes your vector graphics – saved as .svg files – and turns them into 3D models by extruding the shapes. It does a lot more than that, looking through the tutorials, but that was all I needed at this point for my stamps. Tinkercad isn’t the only software out there but its totally free and pretty easy to use! Plus the names it gives your files are priceless 🙂

Once you are happy with your models you can download various different file formats to send to a 3D printer for production.

3D Printing at Hubs.com

3D printing is now easy and affordable. Even the printing machines have dropped in price enough to be considered for home use, almost. But if you don’t have one there are many printers to choose from who will print for you at very reasonable rates. Hubs is a central website which puts you in touch with a local printer. Upload your files, get an instant quote and your models are printed and posted within a few days, easy peasy!


3D printing – parts three and four!

The new 3D stamps to compliment the saddle bag flap arrived last week. Sadly I had not taken into account the limitations of the printing process enough. After the success of that first flap, I made the next ones too detailed. So we had some spurs and blurring when I tested them out (I am very picky!) but it was a good learning process. Back to the drawing board and a full set of new files are out printing as we speak. But the saddle bag flap has stood up to repeated testing and use and I have completed a set of saddlebags in red showing what these 3D stamps can do.

I also have tried a different method for producing small tack items, western bits and flat plates along with the stamps – this was more expensive and used resin material rather than plastic (PLA). Its produced a much smoother, finished product which is holding the shape really well. Hopefully lots less finishing and a better look!

I used TinkerCad to make the 3D models from an outline graphic – www.tinkercad.com

And Hubs to source a 3D printer close to me – www.hubs.com

More adventures in 3D printing

I did go on a leather carving course a couple months back, its a lovely thing to do, working with leather stamps is very satisfying. But it made me think about just how small the carving would need to be to look appropriate at 1/6 scale. So I decided to try another adventure in 3D – and I think it worked amazingly well.

Using my Adobe Illustrator software (again) and one of the handy patterns included I created a saddlebag flap illustration. Sounds easy? Not quite that easy, fiddly and involved some detailed adjustments. And after all that, on the advice of the printers, a little more fiddling! But the finished stamp has been working so well…

After lots of testing, (sourcing of g clamps) and generally trying out clamping and drying times etc, this is where I’m at. Because its worked so well I have ordered 2 more stamps to complement this one, for the saddlebag connecting strap and front of the bag. I hope to complete a full set of saddlebags very soon…

I used TinkerCad to make the 3D models from an outline graphic – www.tinkercad.com

And Hubs to source a 3D printer close to me – www.hubs.com