Today’s project is a little different. It’s something we made not for our own house, but as a gift. It’s something that isn’t like most of the projects we post because it’s not really a tutorial exactly. BUT it’s something we feel strongly about and are excited to share, so let’s get into it :)
We made a 3D printed deer head for Casey Neistat!
So if you know what we do, and you know what Casey does, this might seem kinda random. The content we have on our channels doesn’t have much overlap. But if it wasn’t for Casey… we might not even have a channel.
In the video below, we explain what we mean, but in a nutshell: We’ve always loved DIYing and sharing what we do, but Casey inspired us to take it to the next level by starting a YouTube channel and devoting as much time and energy as we have to building our passion into something more. This deer head design was, in a way, the kick off point of us taking what we do from just a hobby to something more, so it’s very special to us and we wanted to share it. Hope you like it Casey :)
[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]
Now, I’ll try to cover the steps we took to make this deer but there will be a few things that won’t be possible unless you have 3D printer access. So feel free to read along if your’e curious about any of the steps, or watch the video above if you just wanna see the process in action.
Making the backing
First things first, we had to find some pallet wood for the backing. We went to a tiny local hardware store in the area to see if they had some pallets we could take off their hands.
We’ve never salvaged pallet wood before (which is kinda a DIYer right-of-passage, right?) so we were excited to get our hands on this. We went for salvaged wood over new lumber because we wanted it to have a bit more wear and tear, and not look so perfect.
We used our reciprocating saw to cut the ends of the wood from the ends of the pallet, and pried off the nails from the middle of the pallet.
Then we joined three pallet boards using our Kreg jig.
And once they were joined, we cut off a little bit from each end on the miter saw so that the top and bottom were even
Printing the deer
Meanwhile we started 3D printing a big deer head. We designed this guy a while back (modeled in MODO) and sell smaller version on Etsy and at West Elm stores here in Texas (like I said, it’s really the first project that kicked off this adventure), but we wanted something slightly larger with some more oomph. So Evan got to work making the design even bigger (mainly in SolidWorks).
After a few failed prints, we got Fred to handle the larger deer size (Fred is our new printer, if you follow us on Insta you’ve met him before) and he came out beautifully. We’re still trying to fine tune Simplify 3d (the software that tells the printer what to do) and getting the supports to stick is sometimes an issue.
He was printed in three different pieces, meaning we had to join those pieces. Evan designed him with holes at each connection point so that we could attach the pieces with dowels and super glue.
We may have initially put the wrong antler on the wrong side, and we may have panicked a little, but he’s good now :)
Then we had quite a bit of surface area to smooth out. 3D prints are often printed with supports that you break off when the print is finished. Breaking off the supports leaves a rough patch. So we smooth those out with a combination of a soldering iron and coats of automotive primer (sounds weird if you haven’t worked with 3D prints before, but it does the trick!)
After the rounds of priming and soldering, we spray painted him a dark gunmetal color.
Next we painted the backing. The goal was to do something colorful with a bit of a street art vibe. First we spray painted the same gun metal gray we used on the deer on the top and bottom of the pallet to give it even more of a weathered look.
Without waiting for it to dry, we started adding strokes of acrylic paint in layers upon layers. We used about ten different colors.
We also added a little 3D printed touch: Casey’s tattoo DO MORE. We glued the 3D printed text over the paint.
Lastly, I had to hide a little YouTube icon in the details. This is Casey after all.
Lastly we drilled a hole through the backing and mounted the deer.
Here’s the finished product y’all!
Of course, we also had to figure out a way to mail this guy from Texas to New York. We bought the most economical box we could that was double walled and big enough for the deer. Turns out “most economical” means “most awkwardly sized” so we actually got this big thing and cut it down to a smaller size
Of course, we had to make the box our own. Couldn’t help but doodle on it.
Then we shed a few sweaty, happy tears, said our goodbyes and mailed him off. Hope he makes it to NY ok. Hope Casey likes him. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see him again on Mail Time :)
If you wanna see him on Mail Time too… make sure to let Casey know! Please send him the video link on Twitter @CaseyNeistat. Casey is one of our biggest creative inspirations and it would mean so much to us knowing that our gift made it to him. Thank you!!
Tools and materials
If you’re trying to tackle a similar project, we wanted to still include the tools and materials we used. Here goes!
- 3D printer
- PLA filament
- Soldering iron
- Automotive primer
- Gun metal spray paint
- Pallet wood
- Reciprocating saw
- Kreg jig
- Kreg jig screws
- Miter saw
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
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