Jan 18, 2017 | By Benedict

A Reddit and Imgur user going by the handle ‘gsxr93’ has used 3D printing to make a cute, vintage-inspired ‘automaton,’ or mechanical toy, for his long-distance girlfriend, Elisabeth. The toy was designed in Solidworks, and cost around $80 to build.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is a skilled 3D designer, maker, or tinkerer, you’ve basically already hit the jackpot. But if that partner also happens to use their awesome skills to make you happy, well, then you’re just spoilt, aren’t you? For Elisabeth, the girlfriend of an unnamed Reddit user getting a lot of upvotes this week, her partner’s crafting ability just resulted in this rather sweet mechanical toy, made using 3D printed parts but resembling a traditional automaton.

According to a lengthy Imgur post, the online Romeo came across the idea of building an automaton while searching for a unique and thoughtful birthday present for Elisabeth. After brainstorming early designs for a suitable toy, gsxr93 eventually settled on a lovely park scene depicting two figures—presumably Elisabeth and him—sharing a tender moment in front of some ducks.

When gsxr93 had sketched out a nice enough picture, he then had to consider a few more things: with the scene being more than a static image, the tender tinkerer had to figure out how each part of the automaton would move when animated by the mechanical crank on the side of the device. “Visualizing how everything would move was a fun challenge,” he said.

Once gsxr93 was happy with his nature-inspired design (“Every summer we spend tons of time hiking and enjoying the outdoors together,” he explained), he got to work turning his idea into a tangible 3D model using SolidWorks. The Reddit romantic was able to properly visualize how the individual components would appear in motion within the software, and was able to fine-tune each piece accordingly.

Since he didn’t have his own 3D printer to hand, our crafting Casanova then reached out to a local 3D printing bureau, where staff—recognizing the beauty of young love—were able to carefully 3D print all the intricate parts of the mechanical toy, including figurines, cogs, and crank. These pieces came out “better than expected,” and our Don Juan of digital design then painted and assembled the whole thing.

Fortunately for jealous types, the SolidWorks seducer did make some mistakes on his journey, namely buying cheap acrylic paint from a dollar store. (Are you reading this, Elisabeth?) The 3D printed parts consequently required several layers of paint, which caused some mechanical issues later on.

We can only presume that Elisabeth had a chance to play with the toy before her partner’s online project went viral.

 

 

Posted in Fun with 3D Printing

 

 

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