Earlier this week, legendary ZZ Top Bassist Dusty Hill passed away. So, as a bit of a homage to a musician I respect, I thought it would be nice to create a lovely tiny 3D print of his bass guitar. This post will go through the steps I used to create the STL file using PaintShop Pro, Convertio, and Fusion360.
First, finding the file.
The first step was to find a picture of the bass guitar I wanted to print. For this one, I thought the Dusty Hill Signature Precision Bass would be perfect. It includes the reverse headstock that I remember seeing him play at a ZZ Top show a few years back. Another reason I chose this picture is that the guitar already had a transparent background. That makes converting into a usable SVG a lot easier.
Dust Hill Signature Bass picture found on the Fender Custom Shop website.
Next, make the guitar one color.
Sometimes at this point, a file can be converted to SVG and then brought into Fusion360. But in this case, there was way too much detail to convert straight to SVG. Every little line would show up in the SVG file, and cleaning that up in Fusion360 would have been a pain.
To make the SVG conversion easier, I brought the PNG file above into Corel Paint Shop Pro (PSP).
In PSP I went to Adjust > Brightness & Contrast > Brightness/Contrast.
I then drug the Brightness bar to the left. You can see this left an excellent black bass guitar profile.
As the last step in PSP, I saved the file as a JPG file.
Convert the JPG to SVG
With a good profile of Dusty’s bass guitar, it is time to create the SVG file. I typically like to use the Convertio website to make my SVG files. It is quick, easy, and free.
I used the following steps on the Convertio website:
- Click on Choose Files and browse to the JPG.
- Choose SVG for the destination file type.
- Click on Convert.
- Download the file.
The SVG is now ready to go into Fusion 360.
Import the SVG into Fusion360
I typically use the hobbyist version of Fusion360 to create my STL files. I’ve had pretty good luck making STL files out of SVG’s in Fusion360.
To import the SVG into Fusion360, I went into Create > Create Sketch.
I chose the X / Y axis (Red & Green).
I then chose Insert > Insert SVG in the menu.
Here I chose to Insert From My Computer.
After browsing to the file location, the SVG is brought into Fusion360. Unfortunately, the SVG was way too large. So I used the pan and zoom tool to get the whole guitar to show up in the work area. Then I used the scale half-circle (shown in blue below) to make the guitar a size I thought would look nice. When satisfied, I clicked OK in the Insert SVG dialogue box.
Create the STL
With the SVG now imported into Fusion360, I click on Finish Sketch. To extrude the sketch, I generally like to click the little House icon up in the view area. This leaves the sketch at a nice angle for actually doing extrusions.
I then went to Create > Extrude.
Typically I will use parameters for extrusions. But in this case, I knew I wanted 5mm, so I entered it directly.
After clicking OK to the Extrude dialogue box, an excellent bass guitar profile 5mm deep has been created.
Now the file is ready to become an STL. I seem to remember Fusion360 allowing this from the body menu previously. But I had to use the 3D Print menu.
I selected the body in the 3D print menu, unchecked “Send to 3D Print Utility”, and clicked OK.
I then saved the STL where I keep my custom-made STL files.
Now the file can be printed.
I then brought the STL into Cura for slicing. Since this is a simple profile of a bass guitar, it didn’t take long to print.
Here is a look at the final printed product. This was printed using Bronze PLA from FilamentOne. The STL for this file is available on Thangs.com.
I used the above procedure to add a teardrop SVG to the same file. Below is a printing of that version. I have also put this STL on Thangs.com.
Hopefully, this walkthrough will help someone else similarly create their STL files.
Song of the Day – La Grange
This had to be the Song of the Day. I remember hearing this song as a kid and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I recently picked up playing the bass guitar, and Dusty’s work has been an inspiration for me. This is a great live version of the song followed by Tush.
Bonus Song – Dust My Broom
Here is a great clip from a 1980 concert with Dusty rocking the vocals and his great bass playing.