Since designing the flat pack gingerbread house Christmas Card, I've wanted to explore the flat pack world a little more and see ways it can be applied to 3D printing. I decided to try creating a model that can print flat and then be folded into place instead of snapping together with tabs.
This led to a lot of testing and failed attempts. The big question here was how to design a hinge that can fold to the right angle and not break. And it needed to be done with PLA because, well, that was a self imposed constraint.
After much testing and failed attempts I was finally successful. The approach ended up being quite simple (love it when that happens). I explain it in the video above but basically involved creating a chamfers where you wanted a 90 degree bend. For different angles, like the roof, which was not 90 degrees, you can use the move faces command to adjust the angle.
Another design technique I enjoyed using with this model had to do with creating the brick pattern. Instead of designing the patterns into the model, I chose to create a separate design with just the pattern, basically extruding the grout lines. User Parameters and Thin Extrude were the key design tools. Thin Extrude allowed me to quickly extrude the sketch lines and not worry about creating closed profiles. User Parameters allowed me to easily change the size the brick wall. I could then bring that separate design into my Cottage model as a component and use the Cut tool to cut away the grout lines leaving me with the brick pattern I wanted. And since this is a separate design that's easily adjustable, I can quickly change the size of the wall and reuse it again and again.
Watch the video above where I explain the design process and leave any questions or comments you have. I'm happy to do a follow up video explaining any of the techniques in further detail.
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