Feb 8, 2017 | By Julia

Two ambitious grandparents have just shown the world that you don’t need to be of the younger generation to be a 3D printing wiz! Chris and Janet Knowlton are the proud makers behind this one-of-a-kind 3D printed treehouse, created specially for their granddaughter Josselyn’s third birthday.

The astoundingly detailed piece was inspired by the multi-level dollhouses that have captivated youngsters for generations. But for the Knowlton’s granddaughter Josselyn, Chris and Janet wanted to create something even more adventurous. The couple decided to tailor to Josselyn’s family of toy beavers, designing a full-fledged treehouse complete with slides, swings, ropes, and ladders—the perfect home for the three-year-old’s collection of happy critters.

Designing and printing the treehouse, on the other hand, was far from child’s play. Thanks to dozens of intricate parts, including working doors, ladders, and arched bridges—all designed carefully to scale—the whole project took over 600 hours to 3D print. And that’s not including the countless hours Chris and Janet spent conceptualizing, planning out, and designing their miniature masterpiece.

The key is in the details. Created using Simplify3D software, Chris and Janet wanted to ensure that the treehouse walls would be virtually seamless. That meant all seams had to be entirely hidden from view, enhancing the sense of total make believe. A special embedded plaque that reads “Jossie’s Forest” completes the picture-perfect scene.

According to Chris, printing the various textures proved to be the most challenging aspect of the whole project. All the different components of the treehouse, not to mention the grass and tree itself, each demanded their own unique texture.

“Many of the parts that required a rough texture like the shingles and the ‘thatched’ roofs were printed with a layer height of 0.2mm,” Chris said. “Others like the bird, acorn birdhouse, and the ‘clay’ chimney pots were printed at a layer height of 0.1mm, then smoothed using a cold acetone mist.”

The result is an arboreal manor that’s so awe inspiring, even the most grown-up of us would want to play house with it, let alone move in. But all miniature real estate dreams aside, the Knowlton’s 3D printed masterpiece could well be a harbinger of new developments to come in the world of additive manufacturing. Almost anything can be 3D printed nowadays, and that includes toys and other kids’ fare. Now, Chris and Janet have just set a new example for how imaginative—and ambitious—you can be with playtime.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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phil wrote at 2/8/2017 11:22:27 PM:

What a wonderful gift It brought a tear to my eye Think I will go dust off my 3D printer

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