Most people have used bubble wands at some point in their lives, whether as kids or with kids. They usually come in pretty basic shapes, but why not make them more interesting?
Making 3D printed bubble wands isn't a new thing, but I wanted to not only tackle making them in the shapes I wanted, but also adding the little ticks around them that will make them look legit while also helping them hold more bubble solution allowing you to blow more and bigger bubbles.
This can get a little confusing, but I'll talk through my process and also provide you with the designs I've already created below. They take less than an hour to print each and most can be printed without support (and shouldn't be printed with support). The odd one out of the group is the crown which may not print right without support on the hard angles.
Full tutorial can be found on Instructables.
Designing Unique Shape Wands
While I used Silhouette Studio for some parts, the majority of bubble wand designs were created using Tinkercad.
To start, you can design the part you'll hold onto. I wanted it smooth so I made it from a Cylinder and Torus.
I'm going to show how I did one of the more complicated designs, the car.
I used Silhouette to make the shape outline and then brought it into Tinkercad. You need to do an offset to get the right shape, and I was able to do this easily with Silhouette. If you do a shape like a circle or square, you can just use the same shape but smaller to create the outline.
I wanted to make sure it was fairly thick going around so it is about 3mm wide. I decided the ticks going around it would be 3.70mm thick so I made the design 1.70mm thick and was 1.1mm up from the surface of the workplane. This meant for my final print, there would be 5 layers with just the ticks, 8 layers of the design, and then 5 more layers of the ticks sticking up (18 layers total)
Now we need to make a cutout so we can remove all the excess of the ticks when we are done. I did this now and then moved it below the workplane until I needed it. Start by duplicating the shape in the same size and line it up with the other; it HAS to be in the exact same spot. Move this second one below the workplane so you can see it.
Next, use a large rectangle to cut out the shape of the car into. Once you have that cutout, you can turn it into a hole and now save this until you are done.
Time to add the ticks. For a shape like this, I created a rectangle that was 0.80mm wide, 3.7mm tall and then it needed to be long enough to stretch from inside to outside the shape, so mine were about 7mm. Start copying, rotating, and lining these ticks up all around the shape.
While adding the ticks, keep in mind that you want them to lead the bubble solution towards the wand opening. Meaning, you don't want the ticks to overlap in the middle. They can overlap in the outside if they need to.
Once you have all the ticks in place, you can bring the cutout up from under the workplane and group it with your working shape and ticks to make the final bubble wand. As long as it is perfectly lined up, it will just cut off the ends of the ticks and leave them flush with the design.
With the crown you can see how I wanted to avoid cutting off the flow of bubble solution to the middle of the design. Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to try to have these ticks be at corners as this will help it print. I didn't catch all the corners of the crown, but I tried to get those I could while still making the final bubble wand look nice.
Once the design is done, center it with the stick, group it all together, and you are good to print!
Basic shapes like circles and squares and even straight lines are pretty easy to do.
For circles, you can take your rectangles and just stretch them across the circle/cylinder. Then copy and rotate them around until you have as many as you want. Group everything to cut off the ends. If you make the rectangles as wide as your cylinder, you only need to cut out the middle.
You can create a cutout to cut the inside and outside out or if you have a straight line, you can just make them just as long as you need them.
For straight lines, you can make your ticks the same length so you don't even need to trim them. This is what I did for the line across the Pokeball but this can work for any straight lines.
Connecting Shapes - Lining Them Up
If you want to connect shapes together, as I did for the multiple circles, I recommend lining up the circles so ticks line up. Makes for a more polished look and easier print.
Connecting Shapes - Removing Sections
If you are going to overlap shapes (more than just lining them up) I recommend cutting out ticks that are going to look odd when grouped. You can see this where I added the ears to the head of Mickey Mouse. Since the head was the main shape, I cut out ticks from the ear.
The final image shows the difference it makes to just cut them out rather than leave them so they overlap.
Connecting Shapes - Filling in Gaps
In some situations, you may want to connect shapes and have gaps. It's nice to fill in those gaps because it makes the final shape look nicer, and then you won't have weird small bubbles coming out too.
In these cases, create a shape that will fit the hole, make them the same thickness, and just group it to fill in the gaps.
Once you are all done with your design you can slice and print them. I cover more about that in my Instructable.
If you don't have any bubble solution, you can easily make your own. The secret to the best bubbles is using xanthan gum.
Have fun printing my bubble wands and creating your own!
In the meantime, please see our recent posts titled Hello Tinkercad Friends! Let’s #TinkerTogether and Parents Guide to Starting Kids in Tinkercad. They provide more information on some of Tinkercad’s useful features for parents, teachers, and students.