Mini Bookstore Project

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    This Project is over a year old (first published about 9 years ago). As such, please keep in mind that some of the information may no longer be accurate, best practice, or a reflection of how I would approach the same thing today.
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    Date Posted:
    Jun. 22, 2014

Just thought I would share a small project I just finished – a mini model bookstore for my mom (Robin) as a gift. I started with a design in Sketchup (a 3D-modeling program), then flattened all the individual components into 2d objects, printed them out, cut and glued them onto cardboard, cut the shapes out, and glued everything together. It turned out much better than I expected, and I was even able to add some electronics to the project (a flickering fireplace and overhead lights) and with an auto-shutoff powered by a 555-timer circuit.

Here is an animated GIF showing the 3D-modeling process in Sketchup:
Here is an animated GIF showing the actual build process:

Here are some pictures showing what the finished product looks like:

The awesome flickering Fireplace:

For those that want to know more about how this was created, here are the tools that you need:
  1. Sketchup 2014 (formerly owned by Google, no longer)
  2. The “Flattery” plugin for sketchup. This will allow you to “unfold” models so they become 2D. Official site is no longer good, use this page with updated plugin for 2014.
  3. Export images to 2D using built in export option in Sketchup. This site has more info.
  4. To make sure images were printed to scale, I added markers in sketchup with dimensions before printing, then in Microsoft Publisher, scaled the images until the dimensions matched the print size. You can use a multitude of image editors to accomplish this though.
  5. Printer (any kind will do)
  6. Lots of cardboard! I recommend recycling old shipping boxes if you order a lot from Amazon and other online retailers.
  7. Exacto or other sharp knife to cut out cardboard (hobby knife recommended)
  8. Hot glue gun and lots of hot glue sticks

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