How to Draw 3D Printable Chainmail With Fusion 360

2,050

29

7

Published

Introduction: How to Draw 3D Printable Chainmail With Fusion 360

About: MA Sustainable Design student and director of BuildBrighton Makerspace

There are several designs of chainmail ready to download from popular 3D printing sites, but I couldn't find a tutorial so I worked out how to create them from scratch.

This short project is easy, and demonstrates many Fusion 360 techniques. It starts with creating and extruding a flat image to make a simple 3D shape, and quickly progresses to making repeating interlocked patterns that can be printed in one go. As well as the written steps, there is a detailed video, which only leaves out the absolute basics such as how to save or zoom.

The material for this project is:

3D printing filament

The tools used are:

Autodesk Fusion 360™

Slicing software for 3D printing (I used Cura)

3D Printer (I used an Ultimaker 2+)


Extra Tips for Anyone New to Fusion 360

The times below are points in the video where beginners might need extra clarity:

00:08 The top plane actually appears to be the bottom one on the screen (between the blue and red lines).

00:55 Click on the surface of the hexagon, away from the highlighted shapes

01:46 Don't click the OK box yet because there's more to move. If you do click OK early, go to Modify - Move/Copy to bring back the arrows.

02.50 It needs to be accurate. A little triangle symbol will appear which represents the Midpoint constraint.

02:58 If the sketch palette doesn't appear, it will be a tab on the right hand side of the screen

02:59 There's a lot going on here. Refer to Step 3 in the instructable for written instructions.

05.55 The center point of the hexagon on this plane might not be obvious. On my screen it is where a green and red line intersect.

07.34 My defaults may be different to yours. You may need to untick Send to Print Utility before you can click OK.

Update:Here's the Fusion 360 file, as requested by wnorman

Step 1: Create a Hexagon

Create Sketch on the top plane.

Go to Sketch - Polygon - Circumscribed Polygon and choose 6 sides to draw a hexagon.

In Smart Dimension set the hexagon length to 10mm

Go to Create - Extrude and extrude the hexagon by 1.2mm (this will also Exit The Sketch)

Step 2: Create the Rings

Go to Create - Torus and choose the surface of the hexagon as the plane to draw on.

In the Torus box, choose the following settings:
Inner diameter: 4.2mm
Torus diameter: 1mm
Operation: New Body

Go to Modify - Move/Copy
Rotate the Torus by 90 degrees. Don't click OK yet, because there's more moving to do.
Position the Torus at an edge of the hexagon, using the View Cube to look at it from different angles.
Rotate the Torus by an extra 30 degrees and reposition it at the edge of the hexagon. Then click OK.

Go to Create - Circular Pattern and choose the following settings:
Object: Torus
Axis: Y (green line)
Quantity: 3

Step 3: Create the Poles

Go to Create Sketch and choose the surface of the hexagon as the plane to draw on.

Go to Sketch - Circle - Center Diameter Circle and draw a circle with a diameter of 2.5mm.
Draw a construction line from the center of the hexagon to the center of one of the hexagon edges.

Press Shift (on the keyboard) + click on the center of the circle and the construction line, then select the Coincident constraint in the Sketch Palette.

Press Shift + click on the perimeter of the circle and the edge of the hexagon, then select the Tangent constraint.

Go to Sketch - Circular Pattern and choose the following settings:
Object: Circle
Center point: Center of hexagon
Quantity: 3

Then click Stop Sketch

Go to Construct - Offset Plane to create a construction plane. Choose:
Plane: Top surface of hexagon
Distance: 3.2mm

Go to Create Sketch and choose the construction plane to draw on.

Sketch a circle, as before, with a diameter of 2.5mm. Position the new circle in line with a previous circle and Smart Dimension the centers to be 3.25mm apart.

Go to Sketch - Circular Pattern
Object: The new circle
Center point: Center of hexagon
Quantity: 3

Then click Stop Sketch

Go to Create - Loft for each pair of circles. Note: if the circles are not visible, click the light bulb icon on the appropriate sketches in the Browser tree.

Go to Create Sketch and choose the top of the pole as the plane to draw on.

Go to Sketch - Circle - Center Diameter Circle and click on the center of the top of the pole to be the center of the new circle. This will create a Concentric constraint. Make the diameter of the circle 3.3mm

Go to Sketch - Circluar Patttern
Object: The 3.3mm diameter circle
Center point: Center of hexagon
Quantity: 3

Go to Create - Extrude and extrude the 3x latest circles by 0.3mm (this will also Exit The Sketch)

Step 4: Join Everything Together

Click and drag the cursor around the model to select everything (the selected parts will be shown as blue)

Go to Modify - Combine

Step 5: Create a Repeating Pattern

Go to Create Sketch and choose the top plane as the plane to draw on.

Go to Line and draw a line from the center of the model through the center of one of the poles. Press Escape (on the keyboard) to end the line and select Construction in the Sketch Palette. (This creates a construction line that will not show up on the print). Create another construction line at a 60 degree angle from the previous line, which goes through the center of one of the rings.

Then click Stop Sketch

Go to Create - Pattern - Rectangular Pattern and choose:
Object: Drag cursor around model
Directions: Select both construction lines
Distance type: Spacing
Quantity: As desired
Distance: 11mm

Step 6: 3D Printing

Go to Make - 3D print.



Select the whole model and choose the refinement quality, I went for high. Untick Send to 3D Print Utility.

Name the file, choose where to save it and click Save. This creates an .STL file. 



Using Cura or another slicing software, open the .STL file.

Rotate the model if necessary and click Lay Flat.

Choose your settings (I used the default settings of my printer, except for changing the build plate adhesion from brim to none).

Then Save as a gcode file.

Insert an SD card into the computer and Save to Removable Drive. Then click Eject.

Remove the SD card from the computer, insert the card into the 3D printer.

Set up the 3D printer following the instructions for your machine and print the hexagon chainmail.

Share

    Recommendations

    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest

    7 Discussions

    hello, one simple and more powerfull way to do a resistant mesh is to print plenty of hexagon, then pause the 3d printer at half the height, put over all the hexagon a net (with wide good spacing like one for moskito) and then continue the printing, the net will then be fused in the middle of all the hexagon wich give you a nice mesh :)

    would you be willing to post a copy the file to help people with making some who are not that good at making 3d printing

    1 reply

    Hi wnorman, that's a good idea. I've added a download link for the Fusion 360 file at the bottom of the intro.