Turtle Blocks Sunflower

A programmed and 3D printed sculpture

This project grew out of experimenting with different ways of producing large 3D printed models from a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. Additionally, the project built upon previous work I have done with programming designs to be 3D printed. I am particularly interested in the transition from bits to atoms, and I believe this work exemplifies one of my best efforts to date.

Beginning of the model of the sunflower.
Shapes rotated and combined to form a single model.

The first model was built during the Turtle Blocks after school club I facilitate. I programmed a single petal in a flower and exported the design as an .svg file. I imported the .svg into Tinkercad and extruded sized it. By copying, pasting, and rotating the shape I built one of the models for the sunflower. I 3D printed it just about as largely as my Thing-O-Matic could produce. Two copies of this design were 3D printed. A third copy with the petals "filled in" was also 3D printed, but only 2mm thick as opposed to 3mm for the others.


The very center of the sunflower was programmed as a whole design, extruded and sized in Tinkercad, and 3D printed. Two copies were printed in tan filament, while a third was 3D printed in yellow ABS.


The models were attached to one another through a hole in the center through which an M3 bolt was screwed. The tolerance was tight enough and the stack of models tall enough that no nut was required.

Six models attached.
Rear of flower and top of stem attached.
Notice how I used the smooth and rough surfaces of the models in different orders.

The top step was attached to a thicker stem 3D printed in green ABS filament. The M3 bolt attached to the big stem as well.

Attached to the larger stem.
The stem was reused from a different project.
The stem fits into slots on the three layers of the base.
Fifteen individual models combine to create the sunflower model.
3D printed sunflower and the Thing-O-Matic from whence it came.

This work and images copyright 2015 Josh Burker