Practice Modeling

I’m not from this field, so in the time I’ve got before receiving my Glowforge I’m trying to learn how to model stuff in a computer. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to fully take advantage of the Iphone-like ease of experience that the team is trying to provide when I need to. But, I like learning stuff.

Here’s my first go. My brother has a restaurant (in Seattle, @dan and anyone else in the area, cough {shameless plug}) Kraken Congee and I thought I’d use his logo to practice. I had to figure out how to get SketchUp running on Ubuntu first, but that’s another story. If anybody has the newest version working, let me know.

Stuff I learned: how to trace an image using curves and what have you, how to create a void for something like a tab, how to select a face and copy it to use in multiple “products,” how to use SketchUp, and I’m sure a bunch of other stuff. I’d probably make some adjustments to this for production. It’s a foot wide and could be a menu holder or something. The material is just over 3mm thick. I’d have a thicker base material to add some weight to help it stand. I’d maybe connect the tiny tabs into bigger ones and add some to the ends of the lower tentacles. The other thing could be to shrink it down and make it a business card holder or stretch the base out and make it a food tray or something.

Brutal or constructive criticism welcome.

Anybody else got interesting modelling pictures to show? I love me some pictures.


Super cool design!!

That’s a nice design that should work well. I have SketchUp 2016 running on Ubuntu 12.4. It is pretty slow but I have a fairly old computer with minimal memory and built in graphics. I had to use this command to start it.
env WINEPREFIX="/home/marmak/.wine" wine C:\Program\ Files\SketchUp\SketchUp\ 2016\SketchUp.exe /DisableRubyAPI

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My biggest problem lately isn’t so much drawing stuff out in SketchUp - I’ve actually learned a fair number of tricks - it’s more that I’m starting to run out of challenging ideas until the forge arrives.


Neat design!

Maybe utilise the engraving function of the Forge to engrave it with the name of the restaurant, or the table number? Or a little ‘Did you know…’ about the Kraken.

The tabbed/ slotted design will require glue and will not be the most sturdy. (but I think sturdy enough!)

You could also see if you have the space for 1 long slot on all 3 sides so they slot together and keep itself up.

Granted this is coming from an architect, so I’m obviously a little biased lol, but modelling buildings is an awesome way of pushing yourself to become more knowledgeable in 3D programs! Especially if you start looking at some of the more modern, organic buildings or even some of the classical, intricately detailed ones (like gothic cathedrals, for instance).


Heh… I’ve looked at some of the models used in, say, Google Earth (which for anyone using SketchUp knows, it’s kind of where it got started)… and I’m amazed what some people pull off with complex textures layered onto basic box shapes. It really is a bit of a Houdini distraction sometimes, too. :slight_smile:


Oh man, tell me about it!! I haven’t even ventured that far into the texture mapping side of sketchup, it’s crazy. My usual go-to program for heavy duty modeling is Rhino, so to see some the insanely detailed modeling people are doing in sketch-up is awesome!

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I’ve read of quite a few people using Rhino, but lack any firsthand experience with it myself. But maybe that’s the $1700$1000 price tag slowing me down. Holeee. Haha


Ohhh yeah, that price tag is insane! Biggest perk of architecture school- student pricing on the programs.


No plug needed, Glowforge is a happy customer! We’ve had their food delivered to feed the hungry Glowfolk at lunch and it’s delicious. And I’m not normally a huge congee fan.

It’s a great design. I’d use a solid tab instead of little mini-tabs to make it stronger. If you get the fit right, it should hold together reasonably well without glue, but you could do a couple of crossbraces to make it pressure fit with no glue needed.


Thanks so much! Just got it going.


Make it out of 1/4" acrylic and glue it and it should be fine. I’d also do the fingers/tabs down the whole length of the piece vs the 9 (& 4) tabs that look to be spec’ed on the drawing. That maximizes the physical joint strength.

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Here’s the current version. Done in Inkscape with 3mm material in mind, but that’s easily changable. Haven’t learned the whole parametric thing yet, though I’m playing with FreeCAD. I’ve put something on that might actually hold things together. There’s probably spots that could be too delicate depending on what size it’s printed, but that’s some of the stuff I will have to wait for a laser to test out. In the end, I may do a solid outline and engrave some details. I think I will scoot the long slots further from the little rectangles when I actually print it as well. It’s filled right now just to make it more visible.


Here’s another variation. I wanted to figure out how to put a living hinge on something. I don’t know yet how to determine what the radius different hinge patterns will give and this may not be the best application, but that wasn’t really the point. Ignore the colors. It’s all cut lines. Also, I’m learning that you have to be careful in Inkscape. When you stretch a rectangle out, it can mess with things like line thickness and makes it harder to try and be precise.


it looks like this one would be a sort of a tension-fit? I’d love to see how that works out.

You might want to tweak your settings.


Thanks for that. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that would be the hope. Probably would have to adjust some stuff to make it hold securely and stand up stably, but maybe not. I could be lucky. Another time when I’d like to learn with the laser here. That’s okay, though. Doin’ the learnin’ I can in the meantime is good enough for me. And, it wastes less materials. Posting it here and getting some responses helps stretch that edjacashun a bit further. Inkscape is easy to draw things up in, but I don’t get the whole 3d aspect or option to try out parametric designs. Trying to figure some of that software out, too. Currently, FreeCAD. I get it sort of, but it doesn’t always behave the way I want it to. Could be because it’s open source and there’s bugs, or it could be I’m doin’ it wrong. Could be that I just need to get enough settings right in Inkscape (thanks again, @dan_berry) and forget about making things more complicated for a while.


Hey, no problemo. I had problems with it as well, which turned me off Inkscape for the longest time. I think little differences in the workflow of what a person gets used to doing can dramatically affect how people might give it a chance.

I’ve come close to just saying to heck with it and buying an Adobe Illustrator subscription many times, because it’s what I used to use about 10 years ago - and I don’t recall “scale stroke widths” as being a default option. :stuck_out_tongue: