How to 3D print from an image (conversion)

I tried many variations of this, and most seemed to be really annoyingly hard or not overly great results. This seems to be the best results i have had yet, by doing the following.Pioneer

First of all, get your image, PNG works best IMHO, because you have transparent backgrounds. Ideally you need the image to be contrasty or black/white. Open the image in Gimp, copy and paste it into a new image with transparent background.

Select Color , click desaturate. Click Color -> Brightness/Contrast. Set the brightness up at full, then set the contrast to full. This should give you a black/white high contrast image.

Black is what will show, so remove any white you have now leaving it transparent. Select any crap you don’t want, and delete that now. Once you have the image looking how you want, export that as a file.pnm (raw)


From the commandline, convert that using potrace (installed via apt-get )

potrace pioneer.pnm -s -o pioneer.svg

Now you have a good working svg to work with. Install inkscape if you don’t have it already, and install this plugin according to instructions . Its merely a matter of unzipping the 2 files into ~/.config/inkscape/extensions/

Start inkscape, open the svg. From the “Extensions” menu, select “Generate from Path > Paths to OpenSCAD”. Now you have your scad you can open and compile with openscad (open, press F6)

Export as an stl or modify further within openscad (this one has a background plate i made)


DIY paper or card 3D Tardis printable

I have been a bit sick with the flu this week which leaves me unable to do much other than play guitar and boring things on the PC

So i spent some time with a box template, gimp and some images of a tardis to make a printable 3D tardis. Needs no glue (unless you want it) but a craft knife for slots may be required. Printable on paper, but probably better done on thin card.
I have a blank one which you can colour yourself (good if you have kids or only black and white printer)

And a colour one of course which comes with the prettyness of the full monty

You can right click and save them from these links
Black and white one at
colour one at

And my sick song i wrote/recorded