Create a Customized Keychain or Pendant Using 123D Design
Customization Made Easy
3D printing has created the ability to do on demand customization. This has alleviated some of the cost of creating unique items, tempered the need for large wasteful production runs, and begun to make customized souvenirs available to everyone. Now, nobody never again needs to suffer through the pain of not finding their name available for purchase.
Navigating 123D Design
OPEN Autodesk 123D Design on your computer. A welcome screen will appear. You can either CLOSE the screen or SELECT Start a New Project at the bottom. A blank grid will appear. As you can see, there are a number of tools and menus available on the horizontal tool bar at the top, and the vertical tool bar at the right.
At the top right, you will find the cube orientation tool (or camera tool), the faces of which are labeled for convenience. The grid, on which you will build, is essentially the bottom of the cube. In its Home setting, the cube is positioned so that you are viewing the grid from slightly above and at an angle. Home is useful for reorienting yourself if you get lost in space.
CLICK on the Front face of the cube tool. The grid plane will shift to a level view (it will appear as a straight line). The arrows around the cube allow you to view the grid from the cardinal points (top, bottom, etc.).
CLICK + HOLD the cube itself on any point to manipulate it manually. You can also achieve this by RIGHT CLICK + HOLD on your mouse. End back at the Home view.
Creating 3 Dimensional Text
Using the horizontal tool bar above the grid field, SELECT the Text Tool (the capital T icon), then CLICK on the grid to lace your text. A popup dashboard will appear. ENTER your desired text. This should be something short enough to fit onto a standard size key chain, e.g. a first name or initials. You can also use the dashboard to CHOOSE a font, though be advised that fonts that include very thin elements or filigree do not print well or at all. Once you have text entered and the font chosen, CLICK OK.
Extrude the Text
SELECT the text. A pop up gear icon will reveal a sub menu (you can edit the text here if necessary). In the sub menu, CHOOSE Extrude Text. An arrow pointing upwards will appear, as will a small toolbar with a measurement of 0.00mm highlighted.
GRASP the arrow and move it upwards to 1mm. You may need to ZOOM in to achieve this - at further distances 123D tends to extrude in multiples of 5. To zoom, ROLL your mouse roller forward or use the Zoom Tool on the right sidebar menu. Alternatively, TYPE 1mm into the text field in the extrude tool pop up.
You will see the text rise from the grid plane and become a 3D object.
Hide Sketch, Group Text + Save Your File
Now that your text has become 3D, 123D recognises each letter as an individual object. To make things simpler, it is best to get rid of the old 2D text and group the letters together as one piece.
Navigate to the vertical toolbar on the right, SELECT the Show/Hide Tool (resembling an eye), and SELECT Hide Sketches to remove the 2D lettering.
To SELECT all of the letters, either LEFT CLICK + DRAG a box around them, or SELECT one and SHIFT + CLICK through the rest. On the top toolbar, CHOOSE the Grouping Tool and Group. The letters are now recognised by 123D as a unified group, allowing you to change and manipulate the word as a single object.
SAVE (but do not close) your file in an easily accessible location on your computer.
Insert Keychain File
SELECT Insert from the 123D drop down menu. SELECT Browse My Computer and Browse.
ACCESS the Keychain.123dx file on your computer (downloaded from TheAdditiveProject.org Required Files tab on the Custom Keychain Project page) and OPEN.
Five objects should appear on the grid plane; four simple keychain shapes to choose from, and a small, cylindrical object.
Determine which of the shapes you want to use for your keychain. SELECT the objects, one by one, that you have not chosen. Once they are highlighted, DELETE them, leaving only the one you have chosen as the back of your keychain as well as the small cylinder, which will be used later.
The remaining objects may be in almost any area of the plane. To move the text to the appropriate placement, SELECT the Transform Tool from the top toolbar and CHOOSE Move. Using the orientation tool, SELECT a side view that will allow you to see both objects.
SELECT the Move Tool and PULL the lettering away from the grid plane (moving it along the Z axis) far enough to protrude from the keychain but still touch or overlap (TYPING the number of mm in the text field will give you the greatest accuracy).
RETURN to top or home view with the move tool still selected and PLACE the lettering on top of the keychain.
With the lettering in place, you can scale it to fit to your liking on the keychain. If not there already, RETURN to the top view. SELECT the lettering so that it is highlighted in green. A toolbar will appear towards the bottom of the grid field. SELECT the Scale Tool – second from the left, a cube and arrow icon.
The Scale tool bar will appear. You will notice the default settings are to Scale: Uniform and Factor: 1. A white arrow will also appear on the object, which you can drag, allowing you to change the overall size of the text. Alternatively, SELECT Scale: Non Uniform. Three fields will appear in the toolbar, allowing you to adjust the height (X), width (Y), and depth (Z). Two or three white arrows (if you are in the Top view, you cannot see the depth arrow) will also appear on the object.
MANIPULATE the arrow(s) to adjust the size of the lettering until it corresponds with the dimensions you like and finalize the text placement.
Place Cutout Object
Locate the small cylinder on the grid plane. This object represents the material that will be removed from the keychain to allow it to be placed on a key ring.
DRAG the object to and place it in the keychain.
Merge the Lettering + Keychain
Now that the lettering is in place on the keychain, the two objects must be combined, or merged, together so the printer software recognises them as a single piece.
On the top toolbar, SELECT the Combine menu and the Merge tool. SELECT the keychain as the Target Solid/Mesh. SELECT the lettering as the Source Solid/Mesh. To do this, SELECT one letter, HOLD Shift, and select all remaining letters one by one. ENTER to complete the merge.
Subtract Key Ring Opening
Subtracting material in the form of objects is done in the same manner as merging and from the same menu.
On the top toolbar, SELECT the Combine menu and the Subtract. On the popup that appears, Target Solid/Mesh will be highlighted. This is the target from which material will be subtracted. SELECT the Keychain. The pop-up will automatically highlight the second option, Source Solid/Mesh. The shape and size of the object selected will be the source of the material to be subtracted. SELECT the key ring opening object. ENTER to complete the action.
Export for Print
In the 123D drop down menu, SELECT Export STL.
SAVE the file to an accessible place or directly to an SD card.
Scale and Prep For Print
OPEN MakerWare, ACCESS the Keychain file, place it on the print bed, and adjust scale to a 20 minute print time before exporting to printer.