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Super Flowers (drooloop flowers)- customizable

by peetersm Feb 2, 2014
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Printing a bunch of these to put in a vase on my desk for work! Love them.

Had a question/request. Think you could use the same technique to create some fern-like leaves?

that is a cool idea, I will put that on my list of things to experiment with and post here anything I come up with. thanks for brainstorming.

drooloops made the cover of the September issue of the printed (and online) magazine "Tech Directions". also See page 12 for a reprint of the interview Ultimaker did with me.


Where can I print the stems for the flowers? This is a really cool design and look forward to printing several :)

I use craft pipestem cleaners as stems. I have seen people just a piece of filament too, if you want to keep it all plastic.

Thank you sir for the intel. Most appreciated.


Simplify3D tries to optimize toolpaths way too much when there is more than one flower, so, at each layer, for each flower, there is a petal that starts (and stop) mid-air.

But I really love them. I absolutely have to print them in transparent PLA with an individually addressable RGB led in each one :)

Super Flowers (drooloop flowers)- customizable

Oh the rgb led sounds cool. Make sure to post a video when you've made that.

This would be an awesome way to make insect wings...anyone done that?

I have seen insect wings printed but not using drooloops. Great idea, I might goof around with that when I have some time. I think it would prove challenging to make them look real, but maybe just the suggestion of wings would be enought to have it look cool.

Beautiful idea peetersm :-)

At least when using Cura a slicer the current version has a has a built in option to set the height at which the fan turns on automatically. No need to use a plug-in or tweak the gcode manually:

Menu Expert > Switch to full settings > click on Tab 'Advanced' > at section 'Cool' click on the button "..." next to 'Enable cooling fan' > then you can enter the mm value on which the fan shall turn on in field 'Fan full on at height (mm)'

Can you offer any advice on getting the loops to stick to the stigma? When my printer leaves the stigma, the loop tears off and travels along with the print head, then reattaches when the head comes back to the stigma. I have tried tuning temps up and down, I have tried various travel speeds, I have disabled retraction, and I have tried increasing the extruder amount to 105-110%. No matter what I try, I am getting the same result where the loop tears off. I have carefully followed your settings and the print path looks like its moving without any unneeded motions. Any suggestions? Thanks!

PrintrBot Plus and Cura

I have found that hotter temps make for better loops, sometimes I use tweak at Z to print the stigma at a normal temp and then for the petal parts I ramp up the heat a good 10C to 15C. I usually ask for higher temp 3-4 layers before the loops start so the nozzle will be at the higher temp when it starts making loops. Also I turn off the fan with tweak at Z , maybe 1 layer before the loops.

You may already be doing this. I always print with 2 shells, so if you have a 0.35mm nozzle make the shell thickness 0.7mm. If you have a 0.4mm nozzle make them 0.8mm shell thickness. If you were not printing with 2 shells, then that might be all you need to do.

Hope this helps, let me know if you get better results.

compliments! where is the stl for stem?

The stem I used was just a green pipe stem cleaner. it was not printed. I have seen other people use filament for stems.

I don't think you're stuck with just the straight and loopy petals. You could have a post processor go through the GCode
layer by layer and add G-code that slows the printing down then speeds back up, raises the petals high (creating nice hard straight lines) turns off extrusion, drops back down and out (careful as straight down means the filament must get shorter) turns on the extruder and moves away at the same speed as the extrusion then speeds back to the stem.

If you were really tricky you could design surfaces which tell the post processor what type of petal to attach to that point...

I might need a picture to follow that. I think your suggesting creating perpendicular petals by carefully controlling speed, kind of like bridging with out the 2nd end point?

This is seriously out of the box. Very cool.

hey there,

Did you make it in AutoCAD? Or Rhino? Do you have the editable files? Would like to customize it.... but I'm not good with the Makerbot software...

I used openSCAD to make this. the source file is under the "thing files"

I'm sorry for writing a ps, but I just noticed that I really want the wider loop to be when it's far out at the perimiter of the flower, but by the time it gets back to the center it has to close in on the distance, like the petals of a flower getting wider further out, but scrunching in towards the center.

maybe too much to ask for...

I did play around with making different petal shapes when I was developing this, but two things made me settle for the "stick" style petals.

  1. I noticed that if the base of the petal (where it joins the hub) is small, then even when the print head moved around the plastic just drooped down and followed the head back to the base and did not retain the path the head moved and basically just made a simple loop.

  2. The slicer setting I wanted to use (like 2 shells and a bit of top and bottom thickness) would generate infill inside the wide end of the petal. (this is not good). You can see what I mean if under Advanced Parameters you set P width to something like 2mm.

If you are using slicer settings that only print the outer layer (like a vase setting) then maybe this is not an issue for you. Start by trying to print one with a really wide petal (P width setting), if this looks more like what you want and you think the wide at the end petal is what you wand , then I do think I could change the petal module pretty easily. Just let me know.

I did my best, Mark, but the head just swirled around and did not make anything useful.

If you could get a module that allowed this it would be great!

(My wife is in shock that you would suggest helping so much! I'm trying to explain to her what this part of the tech world is like...)

So to be specific, the base of the petal where it joins the hub can be quite thick--in fact, I need it much thicker!--and the head would go straight out on a radius line, then follow the perimeter for 3 or 4 mm, and then turn back in on another radius line, then follow the inside diameter a teeny bit like you do and do it again.

give this a try. I think this is what you're talking about. Let me know if we're on the same page.

and please post some pictures of your prints. I would love to see them even, the fails are fun to look at too.

Your wife's reaction is normal, the spirit of creative commons & open source is not very prevalent. But when it's working, it's a beautiful thing for everyone involved. :-)

Super Flowers (drooloop flowers) Wide Petal- customizable

interesting. is that the 1st layer or did you make a flower that is only a single layer high? which slicer are you using? I think I am seeing a skirt circle and the 1st layer with what looks like vase settings or single shell thickness and no infill. I have been printing with 2 shells and no infill. (see instructions)

Hi Mark,

You're right, I have no infill. By the way, can you tell me more about what you said, 'printing with 2 shells'? What does that mean?

I need one layer with 40 sticks all going out on the radial line, separated at the tips by about 3.5 mm. A little star, it is going to be great.

So I first tried p_number=20, figuring I would get 2 filaments per petal, but they came out not distributed evenly. Each petal was about 1.8 mm wide so that each filament was only 1.8 mm away from its partner, too close, even if each petal was the required 3 mm or so from its partner.

So I tried going for 2 layers of petals overlapping over each other with p_number=10 and twi3st = 18, so I got half of my sticks with the first layer and half with the next layer. It wasn't perfect, because the filaments are too close to each other at the base, but it might have been okay. That's what you saw.

But. I want only single filaments, only one pass of the head per filament, but the head circled back and made 2 coats of the second layer of petals. That didn't work.

I'm using an Ultimaker 2 with PLA. Absolutely unbelievable machine. Thank you so much for everything!

2 shells means the setting for shel thickness is 2xNozzle diameter. For for a 0.4mm nozzle like the UM has would be shell thickness=0.8mm. I use that since I am choosing zero infill but want my center to have a solid circle plus the path that makes the Drooloop petals.
As far as I can tell Cura will not generate a single path loop, it always wants to do two passes that is why the original petals are sticks, that way I get a single pass per petal.
Based on your descriptions (40 petals and 3.5mm apart) I want to confirm if you want a more rigid model that would print with no drooloop , since they are very organic in shape. To reliably produce the shape maybe you would like a star shape that would be printed with 100% infill like those flower stickers from the 60's? Do you have a concept sketch of the shape you need?

Here, I hope, is an image: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:961680 PLA is a great plastic, and makes a perfect little filament in one single pass, it would be very useful to have this function of printing filaments...

My objective, to make a star like this.

not exactly what you're looking for but some people might find it useful
still thinking on how to get the effect you want, I think I've got some ideas on how to trick cura into doing single passes

Bottle Brush - Customizable

Wow this is just brilliant. I fiddled around with Openscad and got just what I wanted, almost...except...Is there any way I can make wider loops? Right now there's about 1.5 mm between the outgoing and returning pass that makes the loop, I want it to be 4 or 5 mm, adjustable. Maybe something in the openscad.

Thank you so much Mark you are super!

These remind me of the flowers that grow on the ice plants at Fort Funston. Really all over California, but there especially. If you printed one in that particular shade of dark purple-pink it'd be spot-on.

Wonderful! Is it possible to upload a file to the stalk ?

Thanks. I am using craft pipe stem cleaners for the stem. I have seen some people just using a piece of filament for the stem. So far I have not made a stem file.

When my printer gets to the drooloops part, it prints way too fast when it goes across to form the drooloop petals. It also doesn't extrude filament nearly fast enough when it does the petals, so the drooloops just bundle up into a big mess around the center and don't extend out and droop down like they should. I just get a big ball with mess on it. When it prints the ball, it's speed is normal and fine, but it's really fast when I get to the petals. What speed setting do I change to fix that? Here are my settings:
PERIMETERS: 50 mm/s | SMALL PERIMETERS: 50 mm/s | EXTERNAL PERIMETERS: 20 mm/s | INFILL: 35 mm/s | SOLID INFILL: 60 mm/s | TOP SOLID INFILL: 30 mm/s | BRIDGES: 60 mm/s | GAP FILL: 20 mm/s

(I'm using Slic3r)
Thank you! :)

I have two thoughts:

  1. the speed increase could be due to a minimal layer time setting, since the ball parts have smaller area than when it starts to print the pedals. So it's actually going at the requested speed.
  2. It is interpreting the petals as "bridges" since they are unsupported paths in the air...try lowering the BRIDGES speed.

I don't use Slic3r, so let me know if that helps...if not maybe I'll give it a try and see what results I get.

How are you connecting them to the pipe cleaners?

There is a small hole in the center of a lot of these models I made so they can just hold on with friction. But if I want them really attached I use a small dab of hot glue. The ones with large holes I always use hot glue.

If you are using Cura as your slicer, there is an easy way to turn the fan off at the desired height without manually editing your gcode. First. make sure that you are using "Switch to full settings..." on the "Expert" menu. Then determine the z height at which you want the fan to turn off. (You can use the "Layers" view mode to check this, once you set your layer height and initial layer thickness.) Then choose the "Tweak at Z" plug-in from the Plug-ins list. Enter the z height to tweak that you determined previously. Then enter 0 as your new fan speed.

Setting the fan on is meantime much easier in Cura. Since version 15.xx (don't know exactly), Cura has a built in option to set the height at which the fan turns on automatically. No need to use a plug-in:

Menu Expert > Switch to full settings > click on Tab 'Advanced' > at section 'Cool' click on the button "..." next to 'Enable cooling fan' > then you can enter the mm value on which the fan shall turn on in field 'Fan full on at height (mm)'

Attention MakerBot owners. I have made an updated 2nd part to my fan control (gcode hacking) video showing how to get control of the fans when using MakerWare. This is due to differences in how MB implements gcode on their hardware.

Special thanks to Twiney for letting me know my directions did not work on MB and special thanks to mathgrrl for helping me test the modified .x3g files!!

This is great. I am a novice and have successfully followed to opening the gcode file. I used open office (instead of wordpad) and when I use the find tool, it doesnt find the M106 file nor the layer 35 file. Please help! Thanks.

open office should be ok, as long as it treats it like text. I just opened one of mine in OO3.3 and it looks like text.
Which Slicer are you using? and what printer?
I know Cura adds the comments for the layers, maybe the slicer you are using does not comment the layers. I do find it strange there no fan controls (the M106 commands).

Thanks for the quick response! I am user cura for my slicer and makerbot replicator 2 for the printer. I have followed your video, step by step...and now am stuck. Have the gcode file (success!) but cant move forward! Ideas?

I am stumped, and this is very interesting, thanks for you post! I don't know much about the work flow for markerbots, so check with an expert...i know some of the people out there have used markerbots to print these. BUT here's what I tried, and what I think would be next steps......(I verified what you're seeing, neither of us are losing our minds) :-) I changed my "machine setting" in CURA to be "makerbot replicator" (there is not option for R2), and I don't see any fan controls in the resulting gcode either. Some quick searching seems to show that the original makerbot did not have a fan?maybe? so...maybe CURA is not putting fan control in "makerbot flavored gcode" because it thinks there is no fan? some more reading revealed that makerbots don't run on gcode raw (like the open source printers do) it needs to be converted to the binary X3G using the makerware software...Soooo I'm wondering if the makeware software would accept the Cura "rep/rap (mariln/sprinter) flavor gcode" or if it would puke on that? I would try leaving your cura machine settings like they are for printer sizes etc, and just change to gcode flavor, maybe before you bother trying to control the fan with the text editor just see if the makerware software will accept the gcode or if it will error. that's all I can think of for now, probably need to read some more forum posts. I'm going to the Detroit maker faire this weekend maybe I find a makerbot owner and grill them on their work flow, maybe there's gcode import settings.

here's a link to Mathgrrl description of her print of the drooloops on a replicatior2
she says "I couldn't figure out how to turn the fan off for just the petal loops (I could have it start off and then turn on at a specified layer, but I needed the opposite), so for the second flower head I made a custom profile where the fan was off all of the tie."

My suggestion to try generating reprap gcode and feed that to Makerware may not works since from some other reading learned that MBI actually uses mcodes differently than everyone else. so there's that trouble. :-(
here a long read, around the middle the mcode issue comes to light.

i'll keep looking seem like makerware software might let you see the gcode IT makes, then you could edit that and feed that back in with no worries of different mcodes used.

ok, did more testing and I have a solution.
here's details on how to use MakerWare to generate the gcode flavor it uses and the modify that code and then feed it back into the software to print.

oh yeah, those flower are so cool (and a little scary) . Post some pics when you've printed some.

Comments deleted.

i think it should, they print fast, give it a try. post some picts for us.

VERY clever use of the printer... (-\

so makerware doesn't have some of those custom settings to change. any suggestions on their custom profile? seems when i print the start of the loops doesn't extrude fully till half way threw.

Maybe someone with a makerbot can chime in, but I would start with low layer resolution , and maybe see if you can turn off the fan manually if you don't like the wind blown effect. A high layer resolution (like 0.1 mm or lower) will not make a nice think drooloop a lower rez like 0.2mm should make a nice thick.

This got featured twice ! :o

Very clever design. My friend Alex described it as "abused g-code".

why is this not featured! :P looks awesome!

You called it, this thing is featured right now!

For Mother's Day. I was invited and did a funny write up here. http://ultim.kr/drooloophttp://ultim.kr/drooloop
Well at least I think it was funny. :-) hope you enjoy

Awesome! very creative

This is a nice usage of drooping. Chapeau.
(pls , what is the green stuff they are sitting on?)


the green stuff is a craft pipe stem cleaner, it works great as a stem.

Lenbok, thanks I had no idea. I'm gonna follow tc_fea now, he has some great stuff.

I have a collection of similar strategies by other designers, including some of my favorite work by Zomboe. Worth looking at for more ideas. This is a new use though - beautiful and smart. Thanks for sharing!

thanks PrettySmallThings for sharing your collection, those design are great & giving me more ideas. :-)

Love it, very pretty!

Super cool idea! I've had a somewhat similar concept rolling around in my mind after some failed prints but I never really took the time to turn it into anything. Nice job!