Feb 14, 2016

Twisted Heart Box - Last Minute 3D Print for Valentines Day

There's no saying when inspiration will hit - but somehow it always seems to be too late or just in time.

This time it was late on the night before Valentines Day and I suddenly realized it would be cool to create a not-so-ordinary heart-shaped box to hold chocolates or paperclips (the heart-shaped kind, of course) - which had a twist - literally.

Design Goal

I wanted something heart-shaped, but more unique and somewhat artistic looking. It occurred to me that I could take a heart shape and twist it while lofting it. I figured if I made the box big enough, it could even be practical to hold things - and so I also figured I would create a top for it.

Design Method

I tried a couple of different methods in Autodesk 123D Design - experimenting first with extrusion tools. I finally settled on the Loft tool - using the heart sketch on the bottom and the top at 90 degree twist from each other. The loft worked quite well.

Then I used the "Shell" tool to make it hollow, with a 2.1mm shell thickness. This seemed perfect, but had some sharp edges on the inside and the part where the two bulbs of the heart came together had a bit too much material.

I fixed this by using the "Filet" tool on the edge along that inside seam where the bulbs came together (shown in the picture).

The top was much easier - I basically created two hearts on top of each other, and reduced the perimeter of the upper heart by 2-3mm so that it would fit inside the top of the box. This presented a problem given the extreme slope of the top of the box - since that inset of the top would not fit in straight against the sloped sides of the inside of the box.

To fix this, I fixed the box itself, not the box top. I added a 3mm high STRAIGHT top to the box, to give it a perfect place for the box top to fit.

There's a small trick to doing this, as simply pulling the face on the top of the box would continue it's slope. I used the shell tool on another same-sized heart and removed the bottom face, making it an outline only. That's what I pasted to the top of the box.

The Model

You can find the Twisted Heart Box model here - and hurry up if you want to print it before the end of Valentines Day!

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