Smesh-up & 3d Print Aids Pirates

3 & 5 year old boys make very demanding pirates. And so it was when they received a real brass telescope with leather appointments from their Grampa (who lives on the shore of Lake Superior, but that’s another story).  Tragically, they had no way to mount the new optics to their pirate ship.

A pirate pow-wow ensued where we stated the problem and spit-balled some possible solutions. One of the design criterion was that the telescope must be easily unmounted and moved from between mounting locations on the bow and stern of the ship. Additionally, the pirates determined they might need to take the telescope with them on land during “away missions”.

We scoured the high seas for removable mounting designs and at last discovered this ball and joint design.

While this was a good start, we lacked a means by which we could attach the telescope to the removable mounting hardware. Countless hours were spent scouring the ‘verse for ideas and designs. Until at last, a possibility arose.

Harnessing a bit of creative-ingenuity, we could envision a path to a removable mounting mechanism.

One of the keys to our success was that the tool clamp design shown above is a customizable design. That is to say we could use the customizer tools on Thingiverse to alter some of the design parameters of the clamp to suit our design requirements (i.e. the specific outer diameter of our telescope).

Once we have a clamp design that matches the other diameter of our telescope, then it’s a process of “smeshing” the design files of both the ball and socket model with the clamp model. No sweat, right?

How it works is like this:

Scale the ball and socket model to suit your needs.

  1. Download the design from Thingiverse
  2. Load the design into Tinkercad
  3. Scale the model to the desired dimensions (scale both the ball and socket at the same time to ensure proper fit).
  4. Save the model
  5. Download for 3d printing


Smesh the ball and socket design together with the clamp model

  1. Download the clamp model into Tinkercad (so now you have both models in the same workspace).
  2. Re-arrange the models in a way that they can be joined together seamlessly.
  3. Group the two models together
  4. Orient the model in a way that it can be printed with the least overhang / support material
  5. save the new model
  6. Download for 3d printing


As an added sense of comfort, I load the resulting model into Meshmixer and view the model in the 3d printer tool. Within Meshmixer there are tools to move the model directly onto the build plate, generate support structures, etc.

Export your completed model with supports out of Meshmixer into your 3d printers software, and viola! Out comes the finished product.


Just like baking a cake, peeps.

Seriously, if you’re interested enough in the particulars, drop me a line and I’ll walk you through the details.