This is a tutorial on how to design a 3D printable ring with a message inscribed into it. The total process takes about 1-2 hours including print time and only uses 5 cents of plastic, (assuming $20 per kg of filament.)
Step 1: Things You Will Need
- A computer to design the model in TinkerCAD and to slice the model for the 3D printer
- A 3D printer
- Filament for the aforementioned 3D printer (PLA is what I used, feel free to experiment with other types of filament)
- Flush bit cutters or a similar tool to remove plastic
- 1-2 hours
Step 2: Designing Your Ring in TinkerCAD Pt1 (10-20 Minutes for Design)
To make these rings we need to use TinkerCAD. Drag in a tube, set the radius to 30, the wall thickness to 5, and the sides to 64 (this will make the circle smoother). Make sure the x and y are 60, you can adjust the size of the ring to fit your finger later on.
Step 3: Designing Your Ring in TinkerCAD Pt2
Open the drop down menu and select “Shape Generators, All.” Look for the “text ring,” option. Drag a text ring generator onto the workplane , set the thickness to 2.5, and select the hole option. Type in your message/name and adjust the spacing so it takes up at least half of the ring's outside. Your message will need to be scaled equally on both axes, to do this take 60 and divide it by the longer of the two axes of the text ring. (You should end up with a number between 1 and 2?) Take this number and multiply it by the shorter of the text ring's axes. Take the result and set it as the new length for the short axis. Set the larger axis to 60.
Step 4: Designing Your Ring in TinkerCAD Pt3
Next you will need to align the tube and text ring, turn down the snap grid to .1mm, drag the text ring roughly into the center of the tube and use the arrow keys to center it. If you're having trouble, try turning off the snap grid completely. (The placement doesn't have to be absolutely perfect.)
Step 5: Designing Your Ring in TinkerCAD Pt4
Click on the text ring to see it's height, add 2 to that number, and make that the tube's height. Then turn the snap grid back to 1mm and move the text ring up 1mm. You should increase the thickness of the text ring to 10 so there is no thin layer on the outside of the ring.
Step 6: Designing Your Ring in TinkerCAD Pt5
Group the text ring and the tube, check that the objects grouped properly. If they are, congratulations you're one step closer to a custom ring. Load the model in your slicer of choice and prepare to print the model. (details below) You should also adjust the ring so that it fits your finger, I scaled it using the option in Cura.
Step 7: 3D Printing Your Custom Ring (30-90 Minutes to Print the Ring)
The letters will need support to print properly, you can remove these supports post print using flush bit cutters or any small tool you have for removing plastic. (I use the pair that came with my Ender 3.) A low layer height like .15 helps the ring to look nice, but any layer height lower than that would work too. The infill percentage shouldn't matter too much since the ring is pretty thin, but a higher percentage like 50 doesn't hurt. If the ring detaches from your print bed try using a raft to help the ring stick to the print bed.
Getting the ring to fit perfectly takes some trial and error, but if it doesn't fit on the first print you can use the prototype as a charm. If you printed it in ABS you can try to smooth it with Acetone, be careful since acetone is dangerous. (I printed mine in PLA so no promises on how well the acetone will work on the ring.)
Step 8: Processing the Ring (5-10 Minutes to Remove the Support)
Now that you have printed the ring you will need to remove the supports, be careful not to damage the letters. Like I mentioned in the previous step you should use flush bit cutters or a similar small tool to cut away the supports. If you want you can spray it with a primer, paint the ring, and finish it with a clear coat. Make sure you have proper protection when spray painting. (your lungs are kind of important to keep in working order :p) Multiple coats of clear coat will help the paint last longer, make sure you get in every nook and cranny of the ring. You can wear the ring on your finger, attach it to a necklace as a charm, or put it on your bag.
Step 9: Final Notes
This is my first Instructable so go easy on me. This is also my entry into the Jewelry Challenge so I would appreciate your vote. If you have any trouble with the ring feel free to contact me. Best of luck with the design and print.