For my good friend's birthday I decided to make him a name plate for his desk. He works in the NYU Tandon Engineering School's students office, and has no name tag, as well as nothing to prove he has any connection with engineers. This was an easy and fun part to design, and he will be able to use it for a while. Unfortunately I do not have a lot of pictures of the design and build process, but I do have pictures of the final products.
I began by simply sketching his name into a rectangular box in CAD, which I then used to laser engrave into some acrylic stock material in Boston University's workshop. I purposely hand-sketched his name in a slightly rushed manner to give a quirky homemade look to it. I could have just typed his name with text but I thought that would be too boring. Anyway, after running the laser cutter a few times to ensure the rectangle was cut out of the stock, I was left with a perfectly engraved name plaque/plate.
Next, I wanted to 3D print a stand for the name plate using my new Creality Ender 3. I wanted it to look chic and stylish, so I decided to design it myself using Autodesk Inventor CAD software, and then either lattice the part or use some topological optimization to create a 'natural' look to the stand.
I first CADed the stand by itself and adjusted it and tweaked it until I thought it looked cool and could withstand the weight of the plate. I used some basic trig and statics to determine the horizontal and vertical forces that would be applied to the stand, based on the angle of tilt and the weight of the acrylic plate. This helped determine the final tilt of the stand as well as figure out if it would fall over or not.
Using the weight of the part and the material properties of PLA, I used the built-in topological optimization tool in Autodesk Inventor to create the following first iteration of the name stand.
This definitely looked cool, and fit the name plate quite well, however I believed a latticed part would look even better. The bonus of this design is that the software removed 60% of the original material volume and optimized for stiffness, so all the mechanical properties remained while material was removed and print time decreased. The only real problem with this part was that the name plate could slip off the bottom if it got knocked around a little. For this I decided to design a small lip at the edge of the bottom section where the plate stands in order for it to be held in place better.
In order to lattice the part, I used nTopology lattice software with what is called a 'spherical TPMS lattice' to create the best looking part, and a part that would actually be printable. The problem with a lot of the lattices I was trying was that there would be very large overhangs and little parts of material just hanging in space. Even the spherical TPMS lattice required some supports for the overhangs, but I tried to optimize it for the least amount of overhang possible since latticed parts take an extremely long time to print.
The print took 12hrs 31min, but came out really beautifully and I was extremely happy with it. Below are images of the latticed stand printed, as well as mid-print.
The final plate and stand together turned out really great and I hope my friend, Ishan, treasures it forever. Images of the final product are shown below.