Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ice Cream store made from a pill bottle

This project was inspired by an article in Railroad Model Craftsman with in the last year or so.  In the article, the author proposed using a printer paper wrap for the windows and doors, and paper to build the awnings.  I filed the article away for later use, then 3d printing became available, I decided to give it a try on this project.

This is a picture of the completed building.  This is HO scale, and the bottle measures 2-5/8" in diameter, which seems to be a standard pill bottle here in the USA.  The windows, doors and awnings are available on
The sign was printed on my Afinia printer, and could be customized to say just about anything.  The lettering is raised on the backing, and is 1/4" tall.

I drew the round cylinder of the bottle in SketchUp, and then started adding windows and doors.  As can be seen in the drawings, all the parts have an angled "wing" on them to conform to the curve of the bottle.  Two of the windows have a counter on them, and both are modeled in the open position.  Since the door would be used for deliveries, I modeled it as a 4' wide door, a little wider than the windows, but all the awnings are the same size.

You can see in this drawing that the outside casing on the door and the windows is angled to match the curvature of the structure.  This is a drawing of all the parts, as shown on the shapeways site. They can be purchased on the site for $17.10 plus shipping.  Here is a link to the items.

Here is a close up of several of the parts after a coat of primer and finish paint.  The layering from the printing process is evident, particularly on the door, but not overbearing. If the door had been oriented laying flat for printing, layering would not have been an issue...not being able to control orientation being one of the issues in dealing with shapeways.

This overall view shows the relative size of the components in relation to the overall structure...a pill bottle.

I cut the window and door holes in the bottle using a hobby knife.  The pill bottle material, in this case, seemed to be some type of polypropylene, and was very flexible.  It also proved hard to get a good paint finish on it. I used some foam core board for the interior floor, and for a second floor.  This added some strength, worked as a view block, and eliminated some of the flexibility.  The "roof" was made from a piece of styrene and a piece of wood.

I painted the inside of the awning white, but that is virtually impossible to see unless you stand on your head to look at them.  I glued the pieces in place with CA.

In this upper angle view, you get a good view of the sign.  This was printed on my Afinia printer, and should anyone want one, just send me a personal message, or leave a comment with your contact email.  There were a lot of surface issues that needed to be filled, but a little painted dobbed on, the it was all good.  If I had to do it over again, I would probably make the letters white, with the sign red.

1 comment:

  1. I have always looked around at stuff and think how could I use that or what can I make from that. It's good to know that I am not the only one. Great model and use of pill bottlems!