3D Printed a Sonic

3D Printed a Sonic

The theme of nephew Greyson's 6th birthday party is Sonic. The Japanese media franchise from 1991 still warms young hearts today. Like the Big Blue Blur, my nephew is fast, witty, and clever. Let's see if we can capture that essence in a Sonic centerpiece for his birthday. Of the many talents my sister--his mom possesses, she has a way with parties. So I know everything from themed baked goods to original party favors will be in the building. Anything I put together must be of comparable quality.

Let's get into it!

I found a lovely print to start working with after diving deep into the .stl and .obj rabbit hole that is Thingiverse and Cults3D. Having a file is one thing, but a successful print is another, so I started with a mini Sonic. As my father would say, "measure twice, cut once."

Thanks for reading I've got something to say! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

The early problem; the left hand seemed thin in places. I eventually lost the tip of the left-hand index finger. Generally, though, the print was excellent, and I managed to move quick enough to pull off the immense amounts of support before it hardened. All systems go.

I moved on to printing the full-size base. While sharing on Instagram, a comment suggested I print Sonic upside to limit the amount of excess support. Though I broke the hand in the mini print, printing upside reduced support quickly by 45%!

Let's get to painting

With all the time saved, we still managed to get holes in the full-size Sonic when removing support. Air dry modeling compound solves this problem. After packing the holes and letting them dry for 48 hours, we sanded the spots down until smooth. The painting ultimately took the longest time due to a lack of primer, causing a need for several layers of paint. After 40 hours of printing, 3 test models, and countless days of painting, Sonic was complete!

So what did I learn?

  • PLA, the printing material is great but does break
  • Print in parts if you can, helps when it comes time to paint
  • Your community is there for you; share with, and lean on them

What major challenges did I face?

  • Overnight printing; long nights 🙃
  • Painting on PLA; get primer if you can
  • Printing with supports; consider support blocks where necessary

I hope my nephew loves it as much as I know he will love his party!