Professor, Designer, Husband, Father, Gamer, Bagpiper

A little crafting can go a long way, it turns out. Here's a story of how we raised some money for Planned Parenthood by 3D printing Pussy Hats for Lego Minifigs.

Lego Pussyhats!

Back on Feb 9th, just under two weeks before I started to write this post, a friend of a friend posted a link on Facebook to an article on Dangerous Minds about someone who created a 3D printable model for Lego Minifigs, of the knit Pussyhat's that were ubiquitous at the Woman's March.

Begging for Lego Pussyhats!

I thought this was brilliant; I was a bit sad that I hadn't thought of doing this myself, as the design was a pretty straightforward Tinkercad sort of model, and I'm a Tinkercad kinda guy (read: my 3D modeling skills are weak). A growing group of my friends, knowing I was in possession of my very own 3D printer, "gently" urged me to make some for them.

And so it began.

First samples of our Lego Pussyhats, there's no turning back now!

The folks who created the model started with a hat that would fit over the sides of the minifig's head, covering the top nicely, as a hat would do. The problem with this model, if you have a consumer-grade 3D printer, is that you either print it right-side up (which gives a nice smooth outer surface, but fills the inside with almost-impossible-to-remove support material, making it virtually impossible to have the hat fit on a minifig) or you print it upside down (which makes the inside nice and clean, fitting on a minifig with minor cleaning, but leaves the outside covered in support material).

They come off the printer pretty raw.

After trying both approaches, it became clear the easier task was to clean the support off the outside, which had the added benefit of giving the hat a rough, "knit" look (if such a thing can be said about anything make from PLA). This approach took about 5-10 minutes per hat, with a small metal file, and (I will admit) was a sort of pleasant, vaguely soothing kind of task when you're someone who doesn't work with their hands at their day job ... not counting the pain inflicted on the fingers by holding small, rough plastic tightly and the occasional jabs and pokes from the files.

Plenty of minifigs to model hats!

How bad can it be to create a dozen or so, I thought? I finished some off, and my wife delivered them to a few friends and students of hers.

What happened next makes me very happy. My wife posted a picture to facebook on Valentine's day, showing the results of my handiwork, and the requests started to come in. This isn't surprising, I suppose, given how popular the hats in the original article were. But my wife had a clever idea (to which I nervously agreed): in the spirit of the Woman's March, she told folks that if they wanted one, they just needed to donate something to Planned Parenthood and we'd send them one.

And by the end of the the week, we had raised over $3000 for Planned Parenthood, and had committed to making over 70 hats.

It took a while to make all of them and get them delivered, and thankfully some friends (thanks Keith, Mary, Reagan, and Greg!) helped with the sanding after dinner one Saturday, but eventually everyone got their hats, and we did some good while having a bit of fun!

We had some fun digging through our minifig collection to model the hats, and sent figs along with the hats to people who asked. We even managed to make a good likeness of Hillary, which seemed appropriate!

Here are some of our favorite pictures. Enjoy!

As close to Hillary as Lego would get us.
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