3D Printing a Tiny Mug
In this instructable I will take you through a thorough step-by-step guide on how to 3D print a tiny, personalized mug. I have always been intrigued by 3D printing and when presented with the unique opportunity to use a 3D printer I decided to make something that I could potentially find useful. While this mug is far too small to drink out of, it can be useful as the world’s smallest planting pot, jewelry holder, or it could be used purely for decoration. I hope that you find this instructable useful!
Step One: Creating Your Account With Instructable
First, open your preferred web browser (I chose google chrome) and go to .
In the top left corner of the screen there is the option to either login or to sign up. If you already have an account click login and enter your username and password. If you do not have an account click the sign up link.
After clicking the sign up link you can choose to sign up through Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Autodesk. If you do not wish to use any of these resources, you can insert your personal information manually. You will also be required to prove that you are not a robot.
You are now able to access instructables and create your own instructable, including one on how to create a tiny 3D printed mug.
Step Two: Create Your Account With Tinkercad
Open a new tab and go to .
In the top right corner of the screen there is the option to either sign in or sign up. If you already have an account click sign in and enter your username and password. If you do not have an account click the sign up link.
After clicking the sign up link you will be prompted to input where you live and your date of birth. You will then be prompted to input your email and to choose a password. After inserting this information you will be able to finalize creating your account.
Now that you have set up your accounts you can start designing what you want to create in Tinkercad. While the next few steps are optional, I would suggest following them for the best results.
Step Three: Sketch Your Design
Sketch out your design and add the letter that you would like to use to the front of your sketch. This can be done on paper, in PhotoShop, MS Paint, et cetera. Any of these platforms are perfect for creating a simple sketch.
Step Four: Mold Your Design Using Play-Doh
Using Play-Doh mold your design to scale. Use a ruler to measure the dimensions so that you can easily transfer them to Tinkercad. Keep in mind that the larger your design is the longer it will take to 3D print.
I recommend keeping your design around 20mm x 20mm.
Step Five: Re-Create Your Design in Tinkercad
While I am going to take you through a step-by-step guide to create your design in Tinkercad, I suggest following the offered tutorial so that you can more easily navigate the website.
If you have closed Tinkercad, reopen the page and login to your account.
When you are logged into your Tinkercad account make sure that you are on your dashboard page, then click “create new design”. On the design page click and drag a cylinder and a tube onto the workplane.
Flatten the cylinder so that it is the desired thickness for the bottom of your mug, this should be around 5mm. Raise the height of the tube to the desired height of your mug, this should be between 15mm and 50mm. Although you can exceed 50mm for any of the measurements, it will greatly affect the amount of time it will take to print your mug.
Next, click the cylinder and using the small black triangle at the base lift the tube the same number of millimeters as the thickness of the cylinder. This will allow you to move the tube on top of the cylinder and group the two.
To move the tube on top of the cylinder click and drag until they are aligned. It may take a few attempts and some maneuvering of the workplane to make sure that the two are perfectly aligned.
Once you have aligned the tube and cylinder, click one and then while holding the shift button click the other. Once you have both objects selected the option to group the two will appear on the upper toolbar. Click this icon.
Step Six: Personalization
Using the drop down menu on the right side of the screen, select “Text and Numbers”. Then select the letter that you want to place on the front of the mug. In this example I will use an “E”.
Maneuver the letter until it is in the correct place. Make sure that the letter is flush against the side of the mug. Then, group the letter with the mug using the same directions as the previous step.
Step Seven: Save and Download the File
To download the file for 3D printing click “Export” on the right side of the screen.
Save the file as “mug.STL”. Make sure that the file is saved in a folder you can easily access because you will need it to 3D print the final product.
Step Eight: 3D Printing
There are two options for 3D printing, you can submit the job to the Marston Science Library and pay to have it printed or you can rent a 3D printer to use in your own home.
If you choose to rent a 3D printer you will need to download the Cura software from . If you are using a Windows computer you will also need to download the USB driver software, located beneath the Cura download button.
Once you have finished downloading the software it is time to set up the 3D printer. Remove the printer from its case and gently plug in both the power cord and the USB cord. Connect the other end of the USB cord to your computer. You will then need to thread the filament into the 3D printer by inserting it into the hole leading to the nozzle and pressing the black lever on the left side down simultaneously.
After the printer has been set up, click the “load” button in the Cura software (pictured above) and select the mug.STL file that you saved earlier. Resize the final rendering in Cura as necessary. If you are satisfied with the final rendering click “file” in the top left corner and then select “print”.
Change the temperature to 210 degrees Celsius and after the 3D printer has heated up some of the filament you threaded through should start to drip through the nozzle. Click “Extract 10” to test the 3D printer. If the filament prints straight down remove it from the metal plate being extremely careful not to touch the nozzle. You are now ready to print, you can do so by clicking the print button in the pop-up window.
Sit back and watch the 3D printer works its magic.
Once it has finished printing carefully remove your mug from the metal plate.
Step Nine: Painting
For the final step you can further customize your mug by painting it. I chose to do green to blue gradient with a black interior and pale yellow detail on the “E”. I also added a matte topcoat to help ensure the longevity of the paint.
While it is recommended to use nail polish, a thick coat of acrylic paint achieves the same result without streaking.