The Edge has a science fair coming up, it is going to be pretty cool with heaps of free activities, experiments and workshops for people to try out. During the day various competitions are going to be running, and we wanted to print a prize for people to take home. I had a quick trawl around thingiverse and found that most of the awards and prizes that people had posted where trophies and statuettes. I wanted to print up something a little more like the ribbons you usually win at fairs.

So I cracked out blender, and after feeling like a bit of an idiot for 30 minutes (coming from 3DS max it took a little while to re-figure out how to do did things) I mocked up the shape I was going after:

A photo showing the evolution of a 3D printed prize ribbon design

The first iteration on the left was where I was trying to be fancy and get the ribbon to curl up off the z-axis, the thickness of the ribbon was a bit of a problem (only about 3mm in that version).

The second iteration I thickened everything in the z-axis (roughly doubled) and reduced the amount of curl up. Starting to get better. I was also trying to extrude a little atom, with electron orbits out of the medallion. But apparently it was a little too fine for my printer to handle.

Third iteration had some minor tweaks, to ensure I nice flat start to the ribbon from the medallion, and also tried cutting the atom into the medallion rather than extruding it. Still too fine to print.

The fourth and final iteration dropped the atom completely, and was printed with better quality settings.

The guys at The Edge also thought it would be a pretty awesome excuse to purchase some glow in the dark PLA, so we placed an order from the fine folk at Diamond Age, and the fifth in the series has a nice bright slime green glow with the lights out.

A photo of a 3D printed prize ribbon glowing in the dark.

You can now find the STL for the ribbon up on Thingiverse.


You can join the conversation on Twitter or Instagram

Become a Patreon to get early and behind-the-scenes access along with email notifications for each new post.