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3D Printed Trophies for the 30th Annual Mermaid Parade. Sweet!

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3D Printed Trophies for the 30th Annual Mermaid Parade. Sweet!

– by Fred Kahl

Coney Island's 30th Annual Mermaid Parade is this Saturday, June 23rd, and for the big occasion I had the opportunity to collaborate with Brooklyn's MakerBot Industries to create one of a kind trophies for the parade's 11 award categories. Because the parade has all these unique awards, when I first met with MakerBot's Creative Director Keith Ozar and Social Media Marketing Manager Sasha Litvinov, we came up with the concept that each trophy would consist of the extruded Mermaid Parade logo, plus some award specific embellishments of appropriate sea themed objects- all of which were sourced from MakerBot's file sharing community; Thingiverse.com

To mock up the trophies, I began by using Google SketchUp to extrude the Mermaid Parade logo from an Illustrator vector art file, then brought that into the open source 3D modeling program Blender where I combined it with various models of sea creatures that I found on Thingiverse- octopi, tentacles, star fish, sand dollars, an 8 bit Mermaid, Facebook's 'like' hand, an old sailor, devil fingers(for the best musical group), etc. I used Blender to scale the parts and mock up each trophy. From there I delivered a print list and 3D files to MakerBot's design team, where the in house artist Jason Batukis tweaked them and worked with their botfarm to print everything- It was a ton of work- at least 200 printing hours for all 11 trophies and 18 second and third place medals!

Judge's Choice Award


It was a lot of fun to learn more about the 3d printing process first hand. I was finally able to realize prints for two Coney Island Luna Park tower models I had created last fall. It turned out that rather than beng printed in one go, they both had to be divided up into 4 or 5 parts that were glued together. Because 3d printing consists of a series of layers that are built up over time- (Prints can take many hours to complete), best practice dictates that its better to keep printing times short and build things in parts, if necessary.

I also learned about the magic of the heat gun! Heat guns can be used to warp and bend ABS plastic. This worked amazingly well with bending the octopus around the top of the logo for the Best Sea Creature award or making starfish grab onto corners. The Second and Third place medals were originally designed to be a two color print, but the team there instead reccomended instead that we print them separately, then heat gun the Octopus to conform to the sand dollar and glue them with Super Glue. I'm super pleased and proud of how they came out- Enjoy!


Mayor's Choice


Judge's Choice


Best Sea Creature


Best Mermaid


Best Neptune


Best Push-Pull Float


Best Music Group


Best Motorized Float


Best Marching Group


Best Little Mermaid


Best Little Neptune


Second and Third Place Medals