Can You Take An Online Image Of Something And 3d Print It?

Discussion in 'Design and Modeling' started by socalfusions, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. socalfusions
    socalfusions New Member
    I have an idea for a design and am wondering if you can take an online image of something along the likes of what you want your design to look like and 3D print it?

    Will you still have to go through Photoshop, TinkerCad, etc. to get the design in a proper 2D format before you can 3D print it? Does it help at all to have a physical copy of a design you want to emulate/create?
  2. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    To go from a 2D image to a 3D model you always need some kind of modelling software in the middle. Your second sentence implies it isn't currently even a 3D image - what exactly is it? f you mean "can I model from a photo/screen grab", then essentially you are starting with a 2D image, and need to somehow extrude it into 3D shapes. IIRC SW has some kind of 2D-3D simple extractor, but for anything complex you really need proper 3D modelling software and some skill.

    I personally spend a lot of time modelling 3D objects from a mix of scale drawings, sketches, and photos (depending on what's available for each project), but it still comes down to me doing the tricky guesswork.
  3. david_jkd81
    david_jkd81 New Member
  4. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    You could try the 2D to 3D app under the "Creator Apps" heading in the black sidebar, but I suspect this design is too fiddly for that. It extrudes simple patterns in black/white, kinda like a cookie cutter. But it depends what you want the finished product to be. If it is open fretwork (like a pendant) then details like the numbers and zodiac signs would need to be attached to the frame somehow (in the image they "float" without touching the edges of their cells), and for that you need to go with a modelling package. I could see this as a sort of plaque, with all the white areas as raised detail, kinda like the face of a sun-dial.

    If the modelling isn't your thing, you could post a topic in the 3D design board and hire a CAD gunslinger to do it for you! There are plenty of them out there ready to offer their services.

    Good luck whichever way you go.
  5. socalfusions
    socalfusions New Member
    That makes sense, I was watching the tutorials on Shapeways and the video mentioned to use something like Photoshop CC to accomplish this. Here's what I'm trying to 3D print:

    I suppose I'm confused on how to go about this since the blades are angled to produce lift while spinning. Would it help if I purchased a physical copy of this toy to make the 3D modeling easier? How easy would it be to change the design of this particular toy to use something other than a stick to spin it for example?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  6. MrNibbles
    MrNibbles Well-Known Member
    I remembered seeing a version of this in someone's shop although it is designed for use with a pencil or other stick.
    Designing something like this in Tinkercad, for example, should be relatively easy if you want to include the stick as part of the print.
  7. socalfusions
    socalfusions New Member
    Wow that's awesome that someone successfully made something like this! I like the three propeller design and the fact that it can be used on any pencil compared to the, iirc, fixed stick on the toy. I did actually sign up for a Tinkercad account as that was also recommended in the same video that recommended Photoshop CC.

    In regards to the simplicity of designing it how would one go about the design process for this specific style of item? Is it about emulating similar products or is it simple to design propeller shaped items?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  8. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    If you are more mathematically inclined, there is another free software named OpenSCAD (
    With it you can "program" the design, instead of "draw" it.

    Here's the object:
    module blade(){
  9. MrNibbles
    MrNibbles Well-Known Member
    You can also search the Tinkercad gallery using the search term "propeller" and copy models that interest you into your account. Then you can edit the files and take them apart to see how they were created or modify them to suit your needs.
  10. socalfusions
    socalfusions New Member
    Very interesting, I was unaware you could "program," 3D designs like this. It seems like it has many advantages over the traditional designing as you can input exact values.

    That's a great idea, I didn't think to search what was already on the site.