by Greg Perkins

Workflow: 3D Printing Wacom Pen Holders

There's more than one way to make a monster. Just ask Greg Perkins, a 3D modeling student and founder of Far Fetched Creations, who recently upgraded his Wacom pen holder operation to include a Formlabs Form 1+ 3D printer. Now, instead of having single monster pen holder prototypes printed to be reproduced via resin and urethane casting by hand, Perkins can simply print off as many of his ghosts, aliens, robots and other cute oddities as he pleases.

Designed from scratch using his Intuos Pro tablet and a host of applications including Maya and PreForm, Perkins' latest creations are implementing more features than ever, including magnets, LED lights and... fur? We'll let the mad scientist explain what 3D printing has made possible:

Hey guys, today I would like to talk to you about designing a product and 3D printing it. There is still much ambiguity surrounding 3D printing, but it is simpler than it seems. The beauty of this relatively new technology is that you can bring anything that pops into your head out into reality.

1. First we need to design the product. I thought it would be fun to have a Wacom pen holder that is fluffy, yet still functions like a normal Wacom pen holder, holding the pen and the nibs.

2. Now that we have a basic design, we can jump into Maya (or any other 3D program), and begin the modeling. It’s important to get all the measurements just right so everything fits into place. I want magnets to hold the 2 parts together, so the small holes for the magnets must match the measurements of the magnets that I have - in this case they are 2mm x 5mm.

3. We have to “hollow out” the model by placing extra geometry in there. We need to reverse the normals/face direction to show the 3D printer where we intend to have the hollow areas. By doing this, we speed up the print time and reduce material costs.

4. Next, we export the .OBJ file from Maya, and import it into the 3D printing software. I’ll be using PreForm. We should have the exact measurements from when we were in Maya, so it’s a good idea to double check those in the size tab. The orientation of the models may also need tweaking -- the quality of the print will often be determined by the angle it is printed on. Lastly, we generate supports. These help get rid of air pockets and make sure your models don’t fall apart. Now we hit Send to Printer!

5. We wait a few hours.

6. And out comes…

7. A 3D print! We wash this in isopropyl alcohol, and then the supports that we generated earlier will need to be removed.

8. Now we get to add in any extra pieces to function with the print. For me, it’s the magnets. And since my measurements were correct, they fit perfectly into the holes.

9. I am also adding some faux fur. This can be found at any fabric store and can easily be superglued to your 3D prints.

10. Lastly I add some eyeballs. These were created simply by making an image in Photoshop, printing it out on an everyday inkjet printer, and gluing them to the backs of cabochons.

11. The final product.

I hope you had fun learning about this, and hopefully you will come up with some great designs of your own!