Jan 1, 2017 | By Julia

Berlin-based maker Niklas Roy has released a free software package that creates 3D printed greeting cards. Consisting of a 2D drawing program which creates a 3D printable G-Code file, the aptly named gDraw lets you print out your 2D greeting card drawing on your home 3D printer. Roy released the software via his website a few days before Christmas, but the nifty code package can be used for crafting all year round.

Currently written for the Ultimaker 2 but readily adaptable for other 3D printers, gDraw is a simple vector drawing program that turns your 2D drawings into G-Code, which can then be 3D printed as lines of plastic. The technique is somewhat reminiscent of the “Stroke Path” tool in Photoshop.

Roy’s post comes accompanied with images of some greeting cards he’s made himself using gDraw. The plastic drawings give an eye-popping 3D effect to the cards, which feature Christmas trees, text, and some basic line drawings.

Applications of the software, however, can be as inventive and creative as you like. As the self-described “inventor of useless things” writes on his website, gDraw can also be used to “make delicate window decoration[s], or sophisticated business cards, or [maybe] you just need to keep your kids busy, or perhaps you have a much better idea for what this code can be used,” inviting crafting and 3D printing fans to submit their own creations as well.

For those unfamiliar with 3D printer coding, G-Code is the language that a 3D printer understands. As Roy explains, “it is a text file, with a list of coordinates for X, Y and Z axis, and also for E (the extrusion motor). The printer reads this file, moves from coordinate to coordinate and squeezes out plastic as indicated in the value for E.”

The simple interface of gDraw lets you choose between two drawing modes: the free mode and the fixed mode. Roy explains that “free” is nice for organic drawings, while “fixed” is better for geometric drawings, as it creates straight lines in a metric grid.

Roy has released the free software as a .zip archive on his server as well as Github. Interested users will need to download the open-source computer programming language Processing, which gDraw is written in. Processing works with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Check out Roy’s website for download links and a full set of user instructions.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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