Can you imagine? The 3DBenchy boat is almost eight years old! In 2015, my friend and working colleague Daniel Norée started designing the first version of a model aimed to be used as a file for testing and benchmarking 3D printers.
We often printed MorenaP's popular treefrog model because its sloping belly quickly revealed any part-cooling performance issues in a 3D printer or its slicing software settings.
At the time, while working at Creative Tools, we both decided we should design our original 3D model, which we could share with everybody in the rapidly-growing 3D printing community. So Daniel devised the idea to create a boat whose hull fulfilled the same function as the frog's belly. A boat's shape also gave us more ways to add measurable and challenging geometry.
While Daniel drew the boat in CAD, I thought about what our creation should be called. So we named it 3DBenchy, referring to its future benchmarking task in the 3D printing world.
A few weeks and many iterations later, we launched #3DBenchy on its official web page and several online repositories for 3D printing files. Eight years have passed, and at this point, 3DBenchy has been downloaded millions of times. It gladens me that our tiny creation has become a mascot for testing 3D printers and filaments.
To celebrate 3DBenchy's eighth anniversary, I am sharing some unique photos of an early version of the 3D model that Daniel and I modified shortly before launching it. Can you spot the differences? ;-)
Nowadays, eight years after the launch of 3DBenchy, I am spending my spare time developing The STEMFIE Project, which aims to provide an open-sourced construction set toy to the world. As anyone who loves such toys knows, this will be a neverending and hopefully everlasting project, which I will gladly continue to develop, welcoming any feedback and help I can get; STEMFIE aims to be a community-driven toy.
Happy 3D printing!
The 3DBenchy boats in these images are the first 3DBenchys made in 2015. The green 3DBenchy in the center is the same model seen in the initial release on Thingiverse. Note that the other 3DBenchys were printed from a pre-release version of the STL file, having a round window, thinner chimney, and no nameplate at the stern of the boat.
You can download the #3DBenchy STL file from STEMFIE, Github, Printables, Thingiverse, Thangs, MyMiniFactory, Wikipedia, and many other sources.