I made a little teapot, short and stout…March 18, 2014 - 2:33 am by Joss Whittle 3D Printing Graphics PhD
Before I found out I’d be doing a PhD this year I submitted an MEng project proposal to a professor in my department with the idea to build a cheap 3D Printer out of Lego Technic. The plan was to use the ready available, and easy to assemble parts and motors of the Lego Technic along side a powerful yet easy to program Arduino unit is a brain. I even got so far as to make some preliminary CAD mockups and a working mockup of the chasis.
But with starting my PhD research, I was forced to shelve the project (like so many others) so as to focus on my actual work.
Lately however, it came to my attention that the Computer Science department had bought a Makerbot Replicator 2X 3D Printer which is available to members of the research group as both a research tool, and as a teaching tool. The mumbling consensus in the department is that it’s fine to use the printer “within good reason and common sense…”, and that the logic of “teaching yourself to use it means you can potentially teach undergrads about it in the future…” means that as long as it doesn’t hinder us or other peoples research it’s fair to use it!
After all, what’s the point in owning the fun toys if we don’t play with them? :)
With this in mind there’s been something on my list of Stuff I want to own: for a long time, that is of course a Utah Teapot!
The Utah Teapot is a famous dataset in the Computer Graphics community and used to be an official measurement of graphics performance in terms of
Number of Teapots rendered / Second (I’m not kidding).
After a few hours of playing around modifying the original dataset in Autodesk Maya to flesh it out as a proper object it was time to print! Yes I know, I almost certainly could have found a better model online that was properly modified and tested on a 3D Printer.. but this is a dataset I have been rendering and working with for years now and it only felt right that I should try to modify it myself to print one. Though if I ever go back to print another teapot, bigger, I’ll definitely be using one like I linked that was designed in AutoCAD rather than an Artistic Modelling package.
The whole print took just over 100 minutes to complete, and I probably spent an additional ~30 minutes or so sanding it down with some fine grit sandpaper to give it a smooth finish.