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3D Printing Designs: Fun and Functional Projects by Joe Larson

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Grid paper trace method

There is another trick to measuring complex shapes that involves a common household item. An object with a complex shape can be traced on a piece of grid paper. That grid paper trace can then be scanned or photographed, uploaded to the computer, and imported into modeling software to recreate its shape. By tracing the shape on graph paper, there is a scale reference in the modeling software.

Suitable objects

The ideal object for this method of measuring is an object with a complex and otherwise difficult to measure shape but with at least one flat side so that it's easy to lay flat on a piece of paper. If the object doesn't have a flat side, being able to make one side flat will do the trick.

For example, this piece of plastic ...

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