GOI urn

Urn for Garden of Innocence Project, Part 1; 3D Printing Urns for Unknown Children

Garden of Innocence (GOI) provides dignified burials and cremation urn for abandoned or unidentified children. Every year GOI works with woodworkers who donate handmade caskets and cremation urns to properly bury these children.

After watching the video by April Wilkerson about the urn she made, I was inspired to put my 3D printer to use for this worthy cause.

I contacted Elissa Davey, the founder of GOI and asked for her permission and input on this urn. It is with my gratitude and her permission that I continued with this project.

Designing the Urn

GOI has plans for caskets and urns  that woodworkers can download for free. Due to the size of my current 3D printer , I’m limited to 3D printing an urn.

Urns for GOI has to have space for the cremated remains of a child (which is about 1 US Cup / 237 cm3), an 8” x 8” (20 cm x 20 cm) baby blanket, and a beanie baby toy.

For conventional box shaped urns, this comes out to a minimum internal dimension of 5” x 4” x 2.5”(12.7 cm x 10.16 cm x 6.35 cm).

I looked on the GOI site to see what other woodworkers have done for inspiration. In looking through all the designs, it warms my heart to see such care devoted to making a simple box that will be buried for all time.

octagonal urn
Octagonal wood urn made by Jeff and Laurie Bristow. Pic from http://www.gardenofinnocence.org/woodworkers-across-america-build-urns-for-the-babies

I found inspiration from an urn designed by Jeff and Laurie Bristow. The Bristow’s urn is octagonal in shape, and when I saw it I knew that it would be an excellent model for 3D printing.

Designing urns in CAD is a simple task. Knowing what the urns are intended for gives the task far more weight than any other modeling job I have done.

After designing the octagonal urns, I decided to print a couple test pieces at 1/2 scale to test the form and fit. ProtoPasta sent me samples of their new HTPLA V3, which I’ll review in a future blog.

urn for GOI
Octagonal urn test print with GOI logo, 1/2 scale. A slot is in the top so this can be a bank to give to corners. Printed in ProtoPasta HTPLA v3

Test Print

The test prints would be too small for urns, but GOI has re-purposed other urns that were too small into banks to give to corners in order to remember GOI. I extracted the GOI logo and used TinkerCAD  to emboss their logo into the test prints, and then put a slot into the lids to make a bank for GOI.


Apart from the GOI logo, I looked for other ways to decorate the urns. In the same GOI web page, some urns had decorations from 3D scrap booking materials. I found a .svg file for a child on a tire swing

Boy on tire swing
Boy on a tire swing for urn. From https://www.pinterest.com/pin/13159023890426059/

that I felt would be a great decoration for an urn. In a future blog I’ll include it in the full size urn design. Printing the full size urns and lid will take about 2 days, and for part 2 of this blog I’ll go into the details of how I print the urn.

The .stl files for the octagonal urn will be release on 3dprinterchat.com and on Thingiverse.

I challenge all 3D printers, modelers and designers to contribute in any way possible to Garden of Innocence.

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