Monday, September 10, 2012

Cubify Invent - Tutorial 16: The Power of Reference Objects

Planning is an important part of design.  This is especially true if you plan on printing that design on a 3D printer, like the Cube.  It's also imperative if that design must interface with a real world object.

In this tutorial we cover making just that.   We plan to print at least 100 pieces of the design and that design must fit firmly onto the end of a PVC pipe.

The object that we will be demonstrating will be used in an outdoor Christmas display.  It's a cap that holds a Christmas light and that cap fits onto a piece of white PVC pipe that, hopefully, will end up simulating a candle.  The candles will be used to line a driveway and, ultimately, they will be joined by links of white plastic chain.

We won't get as far in the design as adding the loops for the chain in this tutorial.  That is saved for the next tutorial.  But, in around 11 minutes we will be able to finish the basic design of the cap.  And, the reason we can do that so quickly and so precisely is that we already know our design's measurement constraints and we can guide our design using these constraint with reference objects.

Specifically, we will use several REFERENCE RECTANGLES and a single REFERENCE LINE.

Reference objects are only guides and aides for your s ketch.  They do not actually control the shape of the 3D part.  But, they are extremely useful, as this demonstration should attest.  But, what makes them even MORE useful is our ability to easily change dimensions after the reference object has been drawn.

Here is Tutorial #16 that, hopefully, effectively demonstrates the power of reference objects when combined with MAKE DIMENSION when real precision is required.

In our next tutorial we will add the loops that are used to connect the candles using plastic chain.


  1. Slick! How did the part print? Particularly on the inside slope?

  2. It printed out perfectly, Since I needed so many, the print load was shared between my Cube and my RapMan 3.2. The final total was just under 100. :)

    And, more importantly... they WORKED!