Personalized Thimble

For Christmas, I wanted to make my mom a custom thimble with her name, and the opening of her favorite music (in this case, the Brahms Requiem).

I’m not a blender guru (almost nobody is, really). So, much of this post is me referencing other work and tutorials which showed me how to get things done. I had to strike out on my own a bit more toward the end, when I had some issues with my model.

Base Thimble

First, I needed a reference thimble. I was going to go to Michael’s and buy one, but first I wanted to make sure I did my homework, and looked stuff up on-line.

As it turns out, Creative Tools has already come up with a really great thimble on Thingiverse… It’s exactly what I wanted as the base to my thimble (ridge along the bottom, dimples, etc).

Since this is a personal project, I just downloaded that and imported it into Blender (why reinvent the wheel?).


Next: Get my mom’s name in 3D, and align it with the thimble.

Caddysnap has created a tutorial on how to take text, extrude it, and make it follow a curve:

This is an excellent start. I took my mom’s name, extruded it, and placed it on the thimble. Worked great.


When you do this in Blender, everything looks fine… And it will be until you try to make an STL file out of the whole thing.. In which case the letters will look a bit strange, because the text needs additional subdivisions to form themselves to the curve. Once your text is converted into a mesh, add a couple of subdivisions, and then apply the curve modifier. The end result will look much nicer.


Now, for the music. First, I needed to find the music in question.Fairly straightforward, thanks to,_Op.45_(Brahms,_Johannes)

Here’s the part that we’re reproducing:

sheet music-snippet.png

It’s not a ton… But the quality of the image isn’t super-great. I thought about hand-drawing the thing in Inkscape (which I’m pretty good with)… But then I realized I could find the symbols I needed on the Internet.

I got most of the symbols from here:

It was missing the quarter-rest though… Wikimedia Commons took care of that problem.

Using these two libraries of symbols, plus some rectangles, I was able to come up with the following SVG.

When importing an SVG into Blender, Blender will make a different object for each curve in the SVG, which is less than awesome in this case. To make life a little easier, I performed a union on the staff, and I also make sure to convert all of the text and other symbols to paths.



Now that I had my SVG, I needed to get it in Blender.  This tutorial gave me the overview of how to do that:


Once in Blender, I was able to use a process similar to the text, which ended up being: Load, resize, convert into a mesh (alt-c), extrude, subdivide, apply to the curve.

Finishing Up

Because my actual work process was a whole lot less straightforward than the direct route written up here, I ended up munging my model along the way (a couple times), and it wasn’t manifold. I’m not sure how/why, but I had to redo most parts a couple times to get things right.

I’d used the Thingiverse instructions to figure out how to find the non-manifold edges

I was able to find and resolve all of the non-manifold edges (by reproducing those parts more directly, with less trial-and-error). I exported to STL and uploaded to Thingiverse.  Thingiverse still didn’t like it… I’m not sure why.

windows builder thimble.png

I brought the STL into the Windows 3D builder in order to see if I could learn more. Nothing. I went to the 3D print menu of builder, and it said there were some errors with my STL (it didn’t say what), and offered to auto-repair them. I let it auto-repair. It took a couple minutes, but it finished up, and gave me a pretty good looking file. I saved it as an STL again, and was able to order the 3D print from i.materialise or Shapeways. Success!


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