Wireframe Skull Pencil Holder (For The Love of Dog)

by philnelson Mar 3, 2016
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I had 2 failed prints before I figured out that the model is not sitting on the Z-axis plane. A Z shift of -.4 made the model printable for me. Will post the make when it finished

get this message at Prusa Sclicer 2.1.0

Empty layers detected, the output would not be printable.
Object name: skull_art.stl
Print z: 0.300000
This is usually caused by negligibly small extrusions or by a faulty model. Try to repair the model or change its orientation on the bed.

Any settings for Simplify 3D (S3D), specially retraction and what to to with the bottom?
I hope i can print it in PLA with my FlyingBear P905x
Thanks! :)

READ THIS: On my ender 3 using Cura I sized to 150%. I took off retraction like others had suggested, and that was THE WRONG DECISION. The skull printed ok but it was filllled with strings. In each of the tiny windows, and in the main part for pencils. Next time I will be using the 'max retractions' feature in Cura that limits the amount of retractions done on a small length of filament to avoid it being chewed up. This means it will retract most of the time, but it will still skip some and have minor stringing. Awesome design though! Tried out my translucent blue Solutech PLA filament on this.

Has someone an idea how i can print this Object?
I have tried already many things like Turn off Retractions ...
But the Bottom is NOT Printable :'(

I uses Cura 4.0.0

The object is probably poorly aligned or something else that prevents the Cura slicer from printing it on 1 layer, and not 2 layers as it is now. The request of the author to check whether the model is exactly positioned.

Just lower it 0.4mm into the built plate (set X to -0.4)

looks sooooo awesome i think i am going to print this.............................................

HOLY CRAP! D/L this and my macbook pro turned on all fans.. it is working the model like I haven't seen my Laptop do outside of movie making with 20drives hooked up! Whoa buddy! Not sure I will ever get my CPU back!!! WHOOOOAAAA... .

104384 inverted normals? o_O
Uploaded a remix fixing this problem and base issue.

anet a8 100% infill hight 80cm no suports took me 14 hours lol but turned out lovely

Loved it. I sized it down so store sd cards in. Might make a set, one for sd cards, one for pen drives and one for pens scaling them up as a little set.

Printed out very nice, although in my opinion i would have increased the size a lot - the deault size is more like a play skull in my opinion :)

Anyone successfully printed this model with Cura 3.6 -> what settings ?

Yes, you have to turn Off retraction. Printed in 0,16mm LH with Custom Settings. Without support und without infill .

why do you insist on taking the retraction off.

Not OP, but I'd think the filament would get chewed up and then too small in diameter to feed properly. I've had that problem doing DnD minis when it gets above the shoulders on the model.

Printed it with standard ender 3 profiel settings, 0.1 mm alyer height.

someone a Ender 3 PLA Profil for this Model? The first layer dosn't work for me

I moved the model down in Cura 3.6 about 1mm so that there was more surface area touching the build plate and stuck properly. I also printed it out at 200% scale.

Turn Off retraction, set First Layer flow to 108%. Add inner and outer Brim with 5mm width

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The first layer is super thin, you need to add a small raft

Very cool, with nice appearance!!! I printed 2:1

EXCELLENT. Magnificent. I did it twice its original size and it's huge. magnificent!!!!! Congratulations!!!

Very nice model! Will send picture of the print later!
Still wondering how u manage to hold pens in here lol :)
2 in it falls over! :)

I decided to scale it 50% more!

VHB tape works wonders : )

If you actually want to print this model, I wouldn't even bother, print this remix instead! > http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1905711

WireFrame Skull Coin Holder

That first 1mm is dreadful design for 3D printing, especially for PETG users.

Very nice Design.
Could you tell me please, for what the "Blend" file is ?

Make it on PLA, ABS a lot of Warp

I have a problem while printing your project. when I want to start the print, he never wants to print the first layers, the printer always starts 5 mm above the print bed. this is also the only print of which the first layers are not printed. I use pango and a trine printer.

Normalize the STL

What do you mean? I am new in 3 d printing

Hey Wimc, which slicer are you using?

When you are slicing your model (converting the STL to gcode, I use Cura for that), click your model and then go to MOVE, make sure the X,Y and Z are all at 0,0,0 so your model is siting on the base itself. Also make sure your slicer software properly configured for your printer specs (in my case I found online a profile for my printer that I imported to Cura and works perfect, I use an MP Select Mini btw.)

Thank you for the great work. Simply great model.
Printed with Slic3r on Anycubic I3

@Skullprinter - Looks sweet with the light!

I tried to make slice this in S3D and ran into a bunch of problems, as others have stated. Went with https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1905711 instead as a remixed version and it worked so well! Best of luck to everyone, thanks for the idea!

WireFrame Skull Coin Holder

Printed this wireframe skull and it came out great! Check out my timelapse video of the print:


Thanks for a great model!

Any way to close the top of the skull ?

exactly 90 minutes print time on my Prusa i3 mk II with 0.35mm layer height and 100mm/s

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simplify 3d makes a mess with the first layers on this thing. I gave up on it ..

anyone do this on a cr-10 with s3d? for some reason its saying 225 hrs...

Very good design, I do not understand anything about blender, and I have been trying to make it solid inside, but keeping the wireframe aspect on the outside, so I can then make it whatever you want, such as an espresso cup, where the saucer could even be a stone. If I could help, it was cool because Halloween is here.

Maybe get both the wireframe model and the normal model in the same blender file then join them together?

Amazing model!! scaled up 2x on .2 layer height and high detail. 17 hours on my prusa Mk2, but well worth it!

It's beautiful, thank you for sharing.

do i need support on a replicator+? (x2 bigger)

Great design thanks. Made it 1.5 bigger came out great

this looks a little creepy but otherwise it looks cool

offsetting the object -0.25mm for z axis worked wonders for the first layer.
Else cura slices a horrible mess of single dots and short lines for the first layer.

Baby don't render me,
don't render me,
no more.

Blender is a 3d modeling software which is also for free.

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how did it only take 90 min? UM3 on cura is saying 6 hours with .15mm layer and 75mm print speed

I also wonder, with 0.3mm 3:38h - i would really like hear the complete settings for UM and 90min print time

is this quite difficult to design? Did you use blender?

I was wondering that as well

i dont get the "for the love of dog" part

It's a joke on Damien Hirst's dumb sculpture, For The Love of God https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_the_Love_of_God

About to print one in PETG. Very cool design!

I'm printing one now with flow-in-the-dark PETG. Thanks for the design!

Just printed this Skull! Check out my time lapse video of the print:


Thanks for a great model!

Love timelapses! Thank you

You are very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!

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If your base will not print flat, check out "WireFrame Skull Coin Holder" in Remixes. Worked like a charm on my Delta MOST RepRap.

anyone tried this on simplify3d and with flashforge creator pro? please share your settings. thanks!

I have an .fff file if you ever need it for ABS regarding the remix of this file coming from here - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1614052

Wireframe Skull Pencil Holder (Life with a Lab is good)

Default ABS settings work for me, what are you settings and maybe we can spot a possible issue. Better yet - post a failed print or a description of your issue. I'm printing this tonight in red ABS on my FFCP. The previous versions I printed were pretty good, not perfect since the ABS doesn't bridge well and I didn't have the fan on since I was wary of layer splitting with layers cooling too much. I usually always keep fan off during ABS prints so I haven't experimented further yet to try and improve quality. If it works I'll post my make with settings on my page.

I haven't tried printing it yet but when I import it to Simplify 3D. in preview mode some layers and details are missing specifically on the eyes and nose part and top layers. is this normal for simplify 3D? I dont want to waste any filament lol.

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Hi, I was trying to print this on a Da Vinci Pro and was having trouble with filament clumping together, could someone please tell me if there are specific heat setting I need to be using?

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Can you make another that is the full skull? I have printed the pencil holder and love it. Thank you!!!

Just printed this - Love it - thanks !!

Just put one on now. I enlarged it to 130% and on hyper quality. 11 hours from now it should be done

How did you design it? Did you post the design source files as well? What software did you use?

Very nice
Printed it 30mm high
Use it for spare change.

This Prints Amazing!

Makerbot Replicator 2X


Great looking Skull its a shame I ran out of filament half way through the print. regardless the half that did print turned out awesome.

Hi, I had the same problem with it trying to print above the plate.. The original worked and printed in the right spot but when I scaled it to 2.1 it wouldn't print on the plate.. tried moving the model down to compensate but No luck.. Kool part.. Let me know if you upload a larger scale part.. Matt

Hi there,

How did you make the surface appear like a net? Having been trying to do it with autocad but no luck. What software/technique did you use?

Thanks in advance,


It's a wireframe effect from Blender with some other tweaks for printability.

So I tried to print one at 175% size and I noticed the very tiny steps in the tool path. The mesh is way too complex. I imported it into 3D-Coat switched from a surface to voxels and exported it back out as stl. It knocked 3 hours off the time to print!
Then in Simplify3D I shifted the Z offset down a touch so the bottom is completely touching the build plate. It now prints ALOT easier!
If there are requests for a remix with these changes I'll upload.
I'll also talk about it on the 3D printing Today podcast... eventually!

Did you post that remix?

Please do post the remix. I too noticed the tool path having excessive movements.

Wireframe Skull Pencil Holder (Life with a Lab is good)

I would be interested. I have yet to work with objects outside of importing and printing. I noticed this one was giving me issues when printing. I only tried once then ran out of time but was going to mess with my z offset as it was like a quarter inch above my build plate lol

Wireframe Skull Pencil Holder (Life with a Lab is good)

Yea I'd love to get a copy of the remix

Please post your remix! You'll have much love from many of us who have issues with the bottom.

So many wonderful comments and makes of this skull. I cannot wait to try printing a smaller version.

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I printed this model and it turned out perfectly first time!

Very nice.

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can someone make this with solid bottom please, cause the bottom on this is not necessary at all and sticks to printbed everytime

The file is valid-ish and prints fine, but agree with a few members, you do need to flip the normals and chop 1mm off the bottom - maybe a v2 should be uploaded by Mr Nelson to help people with these issues.
But it is intriguing that some slicers just can't handle the geometry?
My trusty MakerWare wouldn't slice, but S3D and Cura both sliced really quickly and via Cura on my UM2 it printed great.

Persevere - it will print with a couple of tweaks!

S3D is dropping it 1mm in Z by default when double scaled, so perhaps this alone will help a lot of people.

Looking at the layering output of S3D, it could be better dropped to 1.6mm in Z when double scaled; so that almost everything starts printing in the first layer.

At 100% scale, dropping by at least 0.8mm would be advisable.

I printed one of the first try. Came out perfect, surprisingly. Prusa I3 clone. 80mm/s .2mm , no infill. Used clear filament, going to print a larger one and put a tealight candle in it.


Retraction settings? :)

What software were you using?

newest curaEngine.

File is not valid for printing. I was trying to fix it with netfab and make printable but with no luck. I even flipped normal's direction using blender, but my slicer is still failing when I try to slice the model :(

I used newest curaengine and it printed out just fine the first time.

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Nice looking but poorly crafted design. Couldn't print it "as is", so did not bother editing it. Bottom has problems. Bottom should have been made solid in a first place.

I did what MadeSolid did. Cut off 1.0mm off the bottom Using Cura.

Nice design!
But has anyone else noticed that the models 'normals' seem to be reversed?
Maybe that's causing a few slicing/printing issues?
Philnelson - am i mistaken?

Yes, same here. That is most likely causing all the issues. I managed to print it fine with Slic3r 1.2.9, both Cura and Simplify3D failed, and Netfabb (both cloud and basic) could not repair the mesh. Simplify3D can flip the normals, but it still fails to slice properly after fixing. If you notice, the STL has a mesh pattern on the bottom that Slic3r turns into a solid surface, which makes this print work as a vase. If it was sliced correctly, it wouldn't work by itself :)

Still very happy with this print, though it is useless as a pencil holder in its default size, and has to be printed at least at 150% or 200% size to hold pens without tipping over. Thank you @philnelson for sharing it!

Love this design! I'm going to attempt to print it tonight, but I don't have high hopes - my slicer barely made it through so my printer will probably not fare much better.

What program was this modeled in, it's very cool.

i tried to make this using my makerbot replicator is there any special settings because it didn't come out

My printer would destroy this :(

My printer doesn't like it either, or it maybe the cheap filament I'm using. I'm on my fourth attempt. May try to double the size.

it is not the filament guys, my printer is printing like a PRO everything I put there, this model has design problems, I couldn't make it to the second layer actually. Even tried with raft.

I got it to print with a raft. The cheap filament de-laminated and didn't complete the print (just above the eye sockets). Used better filament, cut off 1.0mm from the bottom via Cura, no raft, and I got a better quality print, made it almost the whole way through (sides on the top portion de-laminated). Right now I'm printing it at the double the size with the good filament, no raft, and 1.0mm cut off the bottom.

Forgive my noob ignorance, but when you say 5.6mm^3, could you elaborate on the actual settings you used? I have an Ultimaker 2+ and, although this thing will spit out BEAUTIFUL prints, everything takes SOOO long. I'm looking for a comfortable median. But regardless of that, I'd like to know what YOU printed at.


Even printing this at 140mm/s at .15 with .8 wall thickness, I'm looking at a 3 hour print.. How the heck did you do this in 90 minutes??

Try 0.25mm layers, it should print in half the time! You don't need 0.15mm layers for this print.

Agree.. I should have. It still came out nice.. Lots of stringers inside though!

60 mm/s 105 flow 8 wall 2 mm thick : 1h52

luv u all are by baes

My Simplify3D hanging when i try to slice that model

Is there a version of this without the opening in the top? So it's just a full skull?

I was just going to ask this! But I'm looking for like a back opening where I can put some lights

Check out this quick mod I made, that cuts the base off to make it flat and printable:

Or if you use the original file, see if your slicer has an option to skip the first 1mm and use that (In Cura go to Advanced -> Cut off object bottom -> set to 1.0)

He set the STL file at a position of -1.0mm in the Z axis, but most slicers that I know of ignore the position of the object and will print the whole object.

Wireframe Skull Pencil Holder (Flat base)

I had the same issue as TheDiver, printing on Davinci Pro 1.0, using their native software to slice (XYZ Pro).

I have no idea on how to use Blender. It is sooooooo complicated. Could someone post a fixed file where the object does not hang in the air? :)

Great! Can you tell more how to make this?

HP DeskJet printer. :P JK

i'm really intrested too on how you designed this :)

Hi there

I would love to print this skull.

But it seems like the bottom of it is not really flat. When i started printing it, it printed a little bit at level 0.0mm, then move to layer 1, where it wanted to print more, but that would then be floating :(

Could you please make a version of the beatiful skull, that has a flat massive bottom (the part printed first), maybe 3-4 layers thick.

Thanks a lot :)

I got Cura to print just fine by going to the advanced tab, then used the "Cut off object bottom(mm)" option. St to 0.4 and it printed the bottom with full contact and finished the print just fine.

Hope this helps.

Use Slic3r instead of CuraEngine

I'll try Slic3r, but i don't use Cura, im a S3d user :)

Bottom/Top layer thickness...?

The bottom is very flat for me- I didn't need to do supports or rafting. I'll add the .blend file here so if anyone needs modify it they can do so.

Strange in Simplyfy 3d, there is not bottom, only parts of the skull is on the lowest layer and it tries to prints other parts floating in mid air on layer 1.

Thanks for the blend file, ill try to fix it.

I had good results with S3D doing this:
I lowered the model -1mm or -2mm Z height. (preview to see where you like it most)
2 layers of 95% infill raft, and checked "Disable Raft Base Layers". 2mm raft offset from part (again preview till it fills in the middle of the model). 0mm separation distance.

This made the skull with a 2 layer solid floor that is attached to the model. You can then trim the excess raft from the outer edges and have a solid flat floor skull model.

Thanks for sharing settings. They are a bit advanced for me, however following them as best I could, as I think S3d has changed a bit since you posted this, It looks like I am getting a good semi solid first layer....Fingers crossed.

Thanks for sharing your S3D settings. This worked for me at -3mm z height and I've scaled the print to 200% as I find the original size too small for pencils and pen.

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works perfect for me, double checked all layers, all good