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The first thing I ever printed is also the first thing I designed for 3d printing: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:21214

I designed this toy car after seeing another one, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:9710, that had been printed by a friend of mine who worked at MakerBot and I was fascinated that 3D printers could print fully captured mechanical parts. I became obsessed with figuring out how to replicate that feat and also convinced that I wanted to try to get a job at a 3D printing company.

I designed the car in Blender 3D (which I'd learned because I wanted to figure out how to make video games or animated movies). I remember that it took me a long time because I wasn't used to having to design thinking about overhangs and minimum wall thicknesses.

The first copy of my car was printed by my friend so I could bring it to an interview and then after I got hired it was the first thing I posted to Thingiverse! I didn't know about tolerances when I was designing the first car so the first prints had the wheels fused to the wheel-wells. I did a quick update and the second attempt came out perfect! Afterwards, I figured out how to separate the parts to turn it into a 2-material print, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22679, and I also got feedback that other people had trouble printing it. That's when I fixed my first non-manifold error :) Later, I updated it to be a fully parametric design when Customizer got released: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:42978

I'm still totally obsessed with designs that have captured mechanical parts and I'm always looking for interesting uses for that kind of design.

Toy Car with turning wheels
Tiny Toy Dump Truck
Toy Car with captured wheel (Dualstrusion)
Customizable Toy Car with Captured Wheels