The Skull Key - 3d Printed 'Magic Canvas'

Greetings -

Following up on rickster post - BambuLab 3D Printer I just received a BambuLab X1 - Carbon and wanted to make something ‘unique’ in 3d so thought, how about a Magic Canvas creation? :wink: Let’s get to it -

My child is into Keys recently, finding them in thrift stores and making stuff out of them. Works for me. I started Magic Canvas, entered - “Skull Keys” in a bunch of the styles, and Super Cute produced something I could work with.

I have become lazy and just use the Mac Preview tool to edit photos, well enough to match my making skills anyway for this kind of experiment. :slight_smile: Right, let’s butcher this thing…


Not gonna lie, it looks terrible, as a photo, but make it in 3d, and now it’s cool. :slight_smile: Sounds like for Steampunk - just glue some gears on it. But hey, this is just an experiment. As I know absolutely nothing about 3d modeling, other than you need an STL file, I used an online (free) website to convert the image -

Convert to STL and Bling! Looks a little wonky and rough, but I also squashed it to only 50mm tall, so if it blows, it’s not a huge waste. And chose Z-Axis Mirror as well, as I want it two sided.

Dropped that STL into Bambu Studio, the software for the printer, and here we go. I did choose, enable support, cause I made something without support once, and it turned into a spaghetti mess. :slight_smile: Seriously, I have no idea what most of the selections are about, I just watched a few YouTubes, left everything at whatever the default was, and go for it. So ya, I’m using the force…

I hit Slice All, and it looks like this, to tell you how long to wait until it’s done. Looks like 40 minutes total. Ok, go for it.

Next a short screen to show you what to expect, if it doesn’t turn into a disaster. And hit send -

One other thing I like about this machine is that I installed it with the phone app, and allowed notifications from it. So if the machine has an error, or when it’s done, it will notify my phone. And I can open the app & look at a real time photo of the print bed, to see what’s going on and / or the error.

Other than one spaghetti mess, the only errors I’ve had are with the Support filament not retracting all the way, as it ‘backlashed’ in the AMS. I just respooled it and hit ‘retry’ on the printer screen, and it picked up where it left off and kept going. Pretty cool. And you can ‘check in’ on it in the BambuStudio Computer App if you want as well to check progress or whatever.

And of course it can do a Timelapse. Which is cool the first time or two. I did a Creeper necklace charm, cause it looked fun, I could test the standard green PLA and the Black PLA-CF to see how they stick together, and, I learned how to set certain height ranges with a different color. The preview showed doing the block texture without much support, so I wanted to see how that would turn out as well -


That was fun, and might as well make matching earrings -

Oh right, back to the key. Yup, still printing, and hasn’t screwed up yet. ;-). The white material is the ‘support’. It’s pooped (extruded) out the same way, but kinda crunches away more easily from the main piece once it’s done. Looks promising so far -

And 40 minutes later - Done

And it pops right off of the support stuff, pretty clean -

So there you go. The ‘backside’ is pretty rough, there’s probably some support and other settings I could use to dial it in better. And also, you can really see how the original resolution and ‘steps’ of color gradient vs, ‘layer depth’ translated into 3d. And of course my crap photochop job didn’t help either. :slight_smile:

But after a little sanding to smooth out the edges -

And printed another because what good is just one, when you can have two at twice the $.32 in materials. :wink:

If printed in a dark material, ‘solid’ instead of a webbed interior, then sanded with a Dremel soft scratchy wheel or ball, they would probably clean up & paint decent enough for some use.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the experiment and write-up.



Interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience, video and details of this project.


You win the Most Unique Use Of Magic Canvas award!


I enjoyed your write-up and all the photos. It’s always nice to see what someone is working on, and their process.


I enjoyed the “lets get to it” thought process, being documented. And now I have a new website to try out. I haven’t done an image to STL, yet. Thanks!


Thanks all for the feedback. I enjoy sharing even the ‘gory’ details of my learning experiences. Mainly so anyone considering learning a new software or technology might be encouraged to just try it and see what happens. :slight_smile:

As a follow-up I thought I’d share some additional experiences so far with this machine. So if you’re interested in that, here they are -

I started by downloading some free STL files from a couple YouTubers I watched and, printed those to get some confidence up and just try some fun things, like the creepers above and this handy tool.

I then moved on to trying different 3d modeling programs to see what works best for me to achieve what I want to build, and how I think about creating. I started with the very limited program that comes with the 3d printer, BambuLab Studio, to get familiar with merging shapes and voids and the terminology involved.

Next I tried TinkerCad, as my child used it in a 3D Printing Summer Camp a couple years ago, so I figured the learning curve was probably something I could handle. After just a few hours, I made a couple things from scratch and I’m fairly comfortable with the design process of the app.

Again, before becoming too bogged down in the machine settings for making the items smooth, or perfectly clean, I want to see which design software will work the most efficiently for me, to make the (relatively basic) things I have in mind. Mainly components or architectural pieces for larger items is my current thinking.

Next up, the Plasticity app, and we’ll see how that goes. :slight_smile:



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