Bandanna Project

My son and I were planning a trip to visit one of his friends that was working at a hostel in Bergen Norway. He wanted to bring “them” gifts and give me the opportunity to make something. I was open to the proposal and exuberant with ideas. Did I want to 3D print some stuff and bring it? I have 3D printed plenty of stuff for his friends in the past but keeping in mind I was only bringing a carry on suitcase (wanted to travel light) and Workshop88 recently acquired a heat press, I decided to make bandannas. Bandannas are light and thin and would be easy to pack.

them = Norway Wheaties

Five Wheaton College Students travelling through Europe, ending the trip by running a hostel in Bergen, Norway

You can learn more about them from their instagram account. NORWAY WHEATIES

But why does it look so strange to have two “n”s in bandanna? Is that spelled correctly? Let’s see what google has to say. Google says the dictionary knows how to spell it but advertisers don’t or maybe they are just going with the most common spelling that is searched. Meaning most people don’t know that there are 2 n’s together. Maybe it looks strange because it is not spelled like a banana.

Studying the Wheaties Logo

Creating the Design

At times, people have labeled me as a Graphic Designer. I never claimed to be. But I do enjoy certain aspects of designing and that feeling you get when you just know something is right. So I can be creative, but I still justify it with “creative for a techie”. I was out of town while working on the design so had some time to ponder and try out a few iterations. I offered up a few designs to m son and he picked one. It was ok, but I felt I could do better so I kept thinking. I had an idea but I first had to figure out how to re-create the Wheaties look. I reviewed some Wheaties boxes to see specific visuals from the text. I was using inkscape since I was away from my desktop with my Adobe elements software. This gave me the opportunity to get better at inkscape and learn how to stretch the letters without distorting them too much. Skew didn’t do it. I ended up using Path->Path Effects and adding (click on +) Envelope Deformation. This youtube video on warping helped me accomplish the goal. So building off of the Wheaties cereal logo and doing a sort of flip perspective for the word Norway, I obtained the final design. Adding the year is a good practice for this particular type of memorabilia piece. I did not however, sign the work with my logo which I usually do with my 3D print items.

An initial iteration
Final Design

The Color Scheme

Initially I was thinking I would use white bandannas so the design would be visible but that would interfere with the Wheaties word needing to be white (like on the cereal boxes). Once I got back in town, I started shopping and ended up at Hobby Lobby. They had plenty of plain bandannas to pick from so orange was the best since that was the color of a Wheaties box and one of the Wheaton college school colors. Norway is blue since that is the other Wheaton college color.

Vinyl Cut Heat Transfer

I must admit, it wasn’t easy cutting the vinyl. I had to give myself time and practice to get it right. The N and the O were from a separate vinyl cut because I ended piecing good parts together.

Heat Transfer Vinyl and Vinyl Cutter

When making decals using the vinyl cutter, the letters can be frontwards, as you see them. But when cutting vinyl for heat transfer, the shinny side will be down so the lettering has to be flipped horizontally so it is in reverse. Then the heat press goes over the shiny film (after the extra has been “weeded”). (Weeding is the process of removing the vinyl part that is not needed.) After the first 20 seconds of heat applied, you can slowly remove the clear plastic, without removing the letters if done right.

Tri-Color Applied Together

Even though I was using 3 different colors, none of the colors overlapped so I didn’t have to create a cut out to avoid overlap but I did have to trim the plastics so they all fit together without overlap of the plastic parts. You wouldn’t want to apply multiple color transfer vinyls on top of each other.

Norway Wheaties 2019 Orange Bandanna

Heat press left a dark square but that seemed to go away after a while.

Decals Too

I also made decals for them. They are vinyl cut, weeded and transfer tape applied. So to use, tear off the white backing, apply the sticker and gently rub the letters to ensure they adhere to the surface. Then slowly remove the transfer tape. They are decals because they are vinyl and will work outdoors. If they were made from paper, I would call them stickers.

The trip to Norway went well and they loved their bandannas. I’m hoping they take a group picture with the bandannas so I can post it here. In the mean time, here’s the most picturesque scene I captured on the train going from Oslo to Bergen.

Customized Trailer Hitch Cover

Custom Hitch Cover
Custom Hitch Cover

I created a 3D printed customized hitch cover that lights up by incorporating a store-bought brake light hitch cover.

My project started out as 3D printing a trailer hitch cover like the ones on Thingiverse.com. https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=trailer+hitch+cover&dwh=175cdf1d3a762cb

Brake Light Hitch Cover

But then I spotted a brake light cover in a parking lot in place of the trailer hitch.  I really liked that idea better and considered it as an additional safety feature.  The brake light version of the cover wasn’t difficult to find and was about $12.

The brake light was easy to install and connect to the electrical wires, but I still wanted to add my personal spin (customization). 

So I 3D printed a cover for the light.  You may have noticed my personal logo (mashup of G and J) in place of my picture on my social media accounts.

So of course that is the logo I used for the cover. The logo is the negative (empty) part so the light shines through.

Even though I measured multiple times, I still produced multiple iterations of the printed item. I consider it prototyping, until the item fits and I run out of ideas on how to improve it.  I went through 3 iterations for this 3D printed project.  I tried rounding the corners of the cover, but that was even more difficult to size to fit over the red light.

Measurement of Hitch Brake Light

The light measured 3″ but the cover ended up being 3.32″ in order to fit over the light.

Since the brake light cover itself runs through the hitch with the lock, I just used zip ties to attach my cover over the brake light.  The zip ties will have to but cut and replaced of course, when I actually use the hitch.

Have you tried the measure app? (iPhone) It’s cool how it saves the measurement number in the picture.

For pre-existing 3D printable items (.stl files) that I don’t download from thingiverse.com, I design myself using tinkercad.com. A free web-based, easy to use CAD type software with starter shaped objects to drag and drop. Like the square I used to create the hitch cover. The printed iterations were done on my PowerSpec Pro3D printer. No rafts or supports were needed. I prefer to 3D print items that don’t require rafts and supports since they leave rough edges after they are removed. The print time was 1 hours and 52 minutes for the final version with the 2 inch sides. (deeper cover)

Dimension Details:

Final 3D Printed Project Dimensions

Third iteration and hopefully final of the 3D printed hitch cover.
  • 3.32″ square, outer dimension
  • .03″ wall thickness
  • .21″ side hole opening for larger zip ties (so tie can reach around)
  • .14″ smaller holes at bottom for drainage
  • 2″ side walls
2″ Trailer Hitch with Cover Over Tail Light

Do you have your own 3D printing project or want to learn more about 3D printing? Stop by Workshop88 on a Thursday night between 7pm and 9pm to share it with us. Select the date you can stop by and RSVP on Meetup.com