Introduction: 3D Printed Pencil Topper
Learn how easy it is to design and 3D print a pencil topper using Tinkercad! I wanted to add a little something special to my design so I made it a fidget pencil topper made to look like a flower and you "assemble" it by pausing the print so no support is needed for printing.
Tinkercad - or prefered 3D design program
Pencils you want to put the topper on
Step 1: Measure Pencil
I've come to realize that pencils are all slightly different so if you know what pencil you want to put this on, get the measurement of that specific pencil.
A caliper is going to give you the best measurement for this. This tutorial by randofo will help you out if you aren't familiar with using a caliper.
Once you have the measurement, you need to take into consideration the tolerance.
I ended up going with a hole that is 8.75mm in diameter but then I added ridges to the inside that brings the opening to about 8mm. This fit snugly on some pencils and loose on others.
You also need to measure and decide how far down the pencil you want it to go. I thought it best to cover the eraser and ferrule (metal part). So this ended up being about 22mm.
Step 2: Start Base Design
My design changed a big as I did some tests, but you need to start with some sort of base that is going to go around the pencil and hold it on.
I created a cylinder that was tall enough to cover the 8.75mm diameter hole and wide enough. It ended up 10.6mm diameter and 21.3mm tall. I knew the design would have to continue over the top of the hole, but this was just for figuring out the base.
I decided to add a stack of toruses inside the hole to give it some grip since I knew it would help grab the ridges on the ferrule. Inside those toruses, the hole was about 8mm in diameter. I did a couple tests to decide how large I wanted this to be.
Now, this is just the base of the pencil topper. It will need at least something on top so it stays on the pencil and you can build out from here.
Step 3: Details
After doing some tests, I ended up making a flower fidget spinner pencil topper. The base of the design was going to be the stem and center of the flower and the petals would be seperate so they could spin.
I made the base of the pencil topper wider so that there would be a ledge for the petals to sit on so they wouldn't slide right off.
I add a center/top to the pencil topper both to finish off the flower look as well as another ledge to hold the petals on. I designed it to not have an overhang to avoid printing issues.
The petals are designed as a separate print. I originally had a more pinwheel look, but it was harder to print and wasn't very flower like, so I ended up designing more flat petals. I rounded the top to give them more depth (which also looks nice with the tri-colored filament I used). I had to make sure the circular center would have enough room to fit around the base without getting stuck since it needed to be able to spin freely so the center hole is 11.25mm in diameter.
Step 4: Slicing and Printing
Printing for my pencil topper is just a little more tricky as you need to print the petals, then print the base and add a pause to add the petals to the base and resume the print. You should be able to add a pause fairly easily with most slicers.
When you add your movable part to the base, make sure it isn't sticking up over the top of the existing print. If it is, the nozzle may hit it when the print starts back up again.
If you are doing a color change as well, I recommend either trying to be there when the color changes and adding the fidget part then or add the color change and pause at slightly different layers so the actions don't cancel each other out.
For a little extra, I added slightly fuzzy skin to the base of the pencil topper and the yellow part (I added a modifier so there wouldn't be fuzzy skin where the petals are fitting on.
Step 5: Finished Pencil Topper
I found my pencil topper fit perfectly on some pencils and was too loose on others. That's just the way it's likely to be so make it fit the pencil you need!