The artists at 3Doodler, the extremely user-friendly 3D pen, have produced an artful, out-of-this-world model of our solar system and they’ve shared instructions for the project so you can make your own model. The original model was created last spring for the window of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) Design Store in New York City’s SoHo (for non-New Yorkers they have a fantastic web store) and was so popular, the folks at 3Doodler decided to share their design more broadly.
Your list of materials will, of course, be headed by a 3Doodler, which you can order online. For $99 you get the 3D pen plus 25 strands each of ABS and PLA filament. Add the following items and materials to your list in addition to your 3Doodler (noting that there is wiggle room where forms for creating the various-sized spheres is concerned; these materials were what the 3Doodler team had on hand):
– One partially deflated soccer ball
– One conventional light bulb
– One IKEA (or other manufacturer, of course, but consider the shape here) soup/cereal bowl
– One heat gun — a hair dryer or iron will work, too
– PLA strands in various colors (see the photos on the instruction page so you can plan ahead)
– Masking tape, paper, and a pencil
If you have ever worked with papier-mâché, you may just find this project less challenging. The artists at 3Doodler tried different techniques for creating their miniature solar system. The first technique, which they call “wrapping,” consists of drawing with your 3Doodler, also known as “doodling,” directly onto the form — the soccer ball, the interior of the bowl, which would make up one half of a planet, and so forth. “Think of spinning yarn or a cocoon,” they advise. They also suggest lining your form with masking tape, to which the PLA seems to adhere better.
After doodling your entire form using colored PLA that approximates the actual appearance of each planet (if you’re into realism), you’ll use your heating implement to melt the material ever so slightly so the individual filament strands will meld to one another, giving the appearance of a more solid surface. If using an iron, we assume you will need to place some kind of buffering material like paper between the iron and the PLA and should refrain from putting the iron directly on the plastic — close enough is good.
The artists used a second technique to create their spheres. Rather than using a form like a bowl or a ball, they created a skeleton for some of the smaller planets with the 3Doodler, piecing together rings until the object could be “wrapped.”
When it came to creating Earth, the team at 3Doodler got even more enterprising. They drew an approximation of the land masses onto their light bulb and then used that as a template for filling in — or doodling in — with blue and green. They removed the material gently from the light bulb, heated it to meld the PLA and voilà! — a mini-Earth!
They suspended their tiny solar system with transparent thread, where it hung in the display window at the MoMA Design Store, but you can also put your personal solar system to various other uses. For instance, decorate your Christmas tree with a galactic theme. Doodle some stars, moons, and comets and augment your set to infinity (and beyond, even)!
What do you think? Will you 3Doodle your own solar system? Have you used your 3Doodler pen in similar ways, or have any ideas how to better make some planets? Let us know! Check out the 3Doodler Solar System Model forum thread over at 3DPB.com.