Parametric Christmas Scene Ornament

by wifibum, published

Parametric Christmas Scene Ornament by wifibum Nov 26, 2012

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This is my first Christmas with a 3D printer, so I wanted to make something unique as gifts for family and friends. I have come to really like Openscad and it's my #1 choice currently for making objects. It does have it's quirks and limitations, but for the most part, I'm much more comfortable working with those limits then using a more traditional CAD application. The advantage is I was able to create a parametric ornament , where it's easy to customize a scene and text. I'm planning on putting each family's name custom on the ornament, and customizing the snowmen family based on the family I'm giving the ornament to.

Embedded in this scad are three modules for items to place in the scene. Trees, Snowpeople (male and female), and presents. Simply translate and scale as desired. I also used HarlanDMii's write.scad library to add text to the ornament.

So far, I have just printed in a solid color and then painted with sharpies. I didn't do any finishing, because I like the rough look. It looks made rather than fabricated. I am currently playing around with dual extrusion, I'll update if I get anything that looks cool.

Note: I had trouble with printing a globe without it detaching, so I put in the cone shaped supports and flattened the bottom of the globe a bit. If you don't have this issue, you can turn them off in the scad.

Note2: I defaulted the name in the SCAD and in the STL files to MakerBot of course!

Update1: I didn't have any bright Christmas colors for dual extrusion, but I wanted to give it a try. Anyway, I uploaded the STL files and a pic of my attempt. This is before any cleanup. I’ll clean up the outside, but probably leave most of the stray blue plastic in the scene, it kind of looks cool.


1 - Download write.scad thing http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:16193
2 - Put write.scad in the same directory as ornament v1.0.scad
1 - Modify scad parameters to your likeing. (name/message, scene items)
2 - Render STL
3 - Print
4 - Hang on tree / give away

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Its nice, but it seems impossible to print without support?!
And if you print it with support, it ruins the cool little figures inside, doesnt it?

I printed these on a makerbot replicator dual (the replicator 1) without supports. But the print bed had to be supper level or it would get knocked off because the top part does curl in some while printing. For me the curve was enough to not need any supports.

Is it possible to upload the file without the name, and either without the year or with 2013? I think this will make a great Christmas gift.

Wow! Update it to customiser!

I've thought about it. Probably want to do too much automatically, but I want to place the snowpeople and presents intelligently. Maybe I just pre-set the locations and select age(size) and gender in customizer. Plus text of course!

Yes, you could just have one or two options for where the presents etc go, or just put it on customiser as is purely so you can change the name easily. I will print several!

This is absolutely Fantastic!!! I made 6 personalized ones for all my baby nieces & nephews. Their folks' faces lit up beyond belief when I told them it was custom made and hand painted!
A little thing if you have the delusion of grandure to hand paint each with enamel paints and the finest of brushes like I did -Really have a think about sharpies!

Thank you very much, glad you enjoyed it. My family had a great time this Christmas giving them out to each family. I don't have the patience to paint, but I bet they looked much better! I got the sharpie idea from some other things on thingivers that looked good colored with them.

When I render in OpenSCAD all I see is a sphere with a flattened bottom. I don't want to try printing this unless I know it is really the ornament. Can you help me? I've never really used OpenSCAD before.


For me, sometimes OpenSCAD's compile (F5) doesn't always display correctly. But compile and render does. (F6). You have to compile and render before you can export the rendering as an STL file. Also, once you export, when you open in ReplicatorG you will see the real image. If you don't see the details, it won't print any details. Did you change any of the parameters in the scad file? Or are you having problems with the settings I uploaded? If you changed stuff, can you let me know what values you are trying to use? Also, what version of OpenSCAD are you using?

I'm using OpenSCAD 2011.12 on a Mac.

I tried changing the text and also changing the enableSupport to 0 instead of 1.

You are right about compile and render. When I do the compile, then compile and render it does not display correctly. Thanks for the help!!

Does it render ok without any changes? You might try changing the font size (nameTextScale = 7;) to a smaller number if you added more characters then makerbot.

That is really nice!