Ever wonder if there was a way to 3D print a flat clipart image? Well, there is. Thanks to the extra credit effort of one of our graduate students, you too can convert a vector based clip art file (.svg) into a 3D printable file (.stl). Follow these simple steps using free software (Gimp, Inkscape, and Tinkercad)*:
Step 1: Find or create a clean clip art style one color logo.
Step 2: Open image in GIMP or Microsoft Paint, which are both free, raster-based image editing software programs.
Step 3: Go to the “file” menu. choose “export.” Make sure the file name ends in .png and select PNG file format from drop down menu. Select “save.”
Step 4: Open file in Inkscape, which is a free, open-source vector image software program.
Step 5: In Inkscape select the portion of the image desired. Go to “path” menu. select “trace bitmap.”
Step 6: Next “check” the box at “remove background.” Select “Ok.”
Step 7: Go to the “File” menu. Select “Save as.” Go to the “Save as type” drop down menu and select “Plain SVG.” Select “Save.”
Step 8: In TInkercad or Autodesk 123D Design go to the file menu and select “import”. select your SVG file and select “Open.”
Step 9: From there, you can further manipulate your 3D object.
Here is our famous Texas State University bobcat logo redesigned as a 3D printable pendant: https://tinkercad.com/things/eiqhQJvHbbR
*If you don’t have the free software outlined in this tutorial, you can follow this link to accomplish the same effect using Photoshop and Illustrator: http://www.print3dforum.com/showthread.php/170-2D-to-3D-STL-Files