3D – Making the googly eyed blob

Planned to have the eyeballs of my blob ‘movable’ inside the socket. So, it could have an iris painted on it and people could move the eyeball to make the eye look in any direction (inside the eyesockets in such a way that they could be rollable). Talked to Professor Maryam about it:


apparently it’s not possible.

She thought I wanted to do something like making the eye rotate slightly, so it would fit in at a pivot. Another thing we discussed was the possibility of putting a small sphere in the socket, and encasing it in a transparent ‘cornea’. I remembered that one of the transparent printed 3D cups I saw wasn’t exactly transparent. In fact, it was pretty opaque for a transparent thing.

I thought of another possibility. I could have a hollow blob, that had something that I could attach string/rubberband to, and it would attach through a hole in the socket, to the eyeball. So the eyeball could be pulled out, and hopefully rotated (probably not, since I’d need to have a hoop on the eyeball, to attach the string to). Complex. I need to do it fast, so that I can prototype it. Here goes:

REALLY wanted to give it a 4cm diameter (portable teensy blob), but to attach string and stuff inside of it (all that finicky stuff) I’d need to have space inside the shelled out shape. 6cm it is.

I realised when I shell my object, I want the thickness to be 5 mm, for sturdiness, but then the actual diameter of my blob will be 5 cm. It’ll be difficult to tie stuff. But I really don’t want to make my blob any bigger. Either way, it’s a prototype. 6cm.


^The ruler tool (and an online ruler) were very helpful… online ruler, because I didn’t have a ruler with me. Plus, I didn’t have to move away from my laptop. Being lazy. Shame on me. Moving on.

Extruded 5mm for the base (subtracting it from the shell as well):


again wanted to make it 3 mm, but 3 mm is really thin.  Didn’t like the way it shelled after I’d subtracted the base from it. There was a tiny thickness (unevenness) that I didn’t like. So I made another hemisphere and shelled it by 5mm. The difference is barely visible here:


It might be more obvious once it’s printed, I didn’t want to take the chance. Now that I look at it, the first method (right) shelled it pretty thin as well (0.7mm):


So my friend gave me an idea of a blob that never has eyes (you put the eyeballs in and the eyesocket is just a hole, so it goes through. Like the toys for toddlers:


And since the blob is a container you can shake them around inside it. Kinda dark. But I like the idea. First I’ll do the more complex idea:


3.5 for the mouth:


Just because neither 3 and 4 looked good enough. Next added the eyes, made minor choices on the positions of the eyes, the one on the right just looked better, had a more dumbfounded expression maybe…


Get the difference between perspective (left) and orthographic (right) view. Also get why orthographic is better when designing:

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00018 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00019

^ Was way easier to get the position of the eyes proper with orthographic view.

Holes in the eye socket after multiple failed attempts at getting the right sized sphere to subtract with! Working in the outline view was easier to see where the subtraction was happening (how far into the shell the sphere had gone):

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00022 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00023

And now I know why the shell looked funny (that extra tiny thickness after subtracting the base).


^ the base didn’t fit into this version properly. So I had to subtract the base from this one.

Subtracting in this order however (subtracting the base after shelling) was better since it didn’t get a thickness of 0.7 mm. (remained at 5mm)

Next came making the contraption inside the blob (on which I’d attach strings). I used the other tools, like using tools like the intersection one to get the shape of a rod that would fit exactly correctly, so that I could merge it:

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00026 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00027 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00028

Was going to attach the strings on this, so two strings, one for each eyeball, each tying to either end off the horizontal rod:


But then I finally found a use for the torus tool:

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00030  3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00032

How it looks with the base fitted in:


Just showing off my design:

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00035 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00037

Just realised that I’d again pushed the eyeball further than the diameter into the eyesocket when I was subtracting (it can’t be pulled out this way):

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00038 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00039

  • Was thinking about what on earth I’ll do now, then thought that I could make the eyeballs just sit in the socket and roll around. Thought the problem was solved.
  • Realised that I needed the eyeball to first get into the socket somehow for it to roll around. Wow I am stuck.
  • A simple solution would be to split the blob into 3 parts, a cut in each eyeball, so that I can glue them together, encasing the eyeball, locking it in place. That way it won’t need the string and hoops.

But then I don’t need to have it hollow either (or the strings). But having it hollow means that I can have it like a mini container. That is a blob with rolling eyes. Okay. That is the plan.

Splitting (trying to get the centres of the eyesockets):

Wanted to use the slice tool, didn’t know how to, but I knew the professor had shown someone else about it. I didn’t ask, I don’t know why, but I tried. Started by using a circle:3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00040 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00041 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00042

^But when I started using the slice tool on it, following the instructions it just DIDN’T work.

Then I went and asked for help:


turns out, it works, NOT by logically using a 2d shape. No. it works by using a line. A line. Makes so much sense. Not.

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00044 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00045 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00046 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00047 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00048 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00049

  • I have a plan for the string one as well though. I can subtract the eyesocket from the inside, so that I can fit the eyeball from the inside, but even then it would fall back inside. So I could cut and glue the socket part that I originally made (with the hole) under the eye, to support it.

I ended up doing that. When you see what I did, my gibberish will make sense:

Again, trying to use the stupid illogical line method of slicing:

See, it’s illogical, because if I view it from here:


the line will slice differently from when i view it from this angle:


Again, the outline view came in handy again:


The cut eyesocket part that I was talking about:


^This way, I could fit the eyeball in, support it from underneath and have the string pass through the whole.

Had to get a perfectly fitting shape using a cylinder a combination of the intersection tool and subtraction:


All the parts that I would have to print out:


^ The ‘eyesockets’, main body, eyes, base.


So, my  test print had come out:


And I started to think about how I could smoothen out the very obvious ridges, to make it look super glossy, like an actual blob. The professor told us that we could simply submerge it in some nail polish remover (acetone) and it would smooth out the ridges and give it a glossy finish, OR use sandpaper or a file.

I did my own googling. Google is my friend.

Skill Builder — Finishing and Post-Processing Your 3D Printed Objects

The basic rule of thumb is to sand 3D-printed pieces like you’d sand a gummy hardwood. Focus on “sanding” and don’t rush toward “sanded”: start with 100- or 150-grit papers or Dremel wheels, then 220, then 320 fine, then 500 super fine, and then tackle the micron-grade grits to eliminate sanding marks. Many 3D makers tend to skimp on the earlier papers to their detriment: these coarser grits are capable of stripping away the peaks of the layer lines. Go too fine too fast and you’ll just round over the peaks without flattening them.

Go too fine too fast and you’ll just round over the peaks without flattening them.

Other experimentations I had done before settling on my final idea:

I thought that I could make a more dimensional blob with multiple gumdrop shapes (since the 3D sculpt test didn’t print yet, I decided to settle for working with just 123Design), I didn’t like the idea enough though:


Thought I could make a multi-layered blob like this one, but then I turned into something else…:

3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00003 3Dmodellingprintingblobgeometric00004

I used the sketch tools to do this. using them made me realise why the professor didn’t recommend them. They didn’t fillet as well as a default shape did. Errors kept showing up at one point so I scrapped the idea.


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