3D Printing and Scanning

Design Process

My first 3D print was successful! This week we got to dive even deeper into 3D printing and actually make a model. Ryan gave a brief introduction about the printing/scanning process and its components such as file types and slicer programs.

First, we needed a scan of the object that we wanted to print using either the iSense for iPad scanner—which took a bit longer—or the handheld Sense scanner connected to the computer. I may not have had the magic touch using the Sense scanner, but the scan came out really well. After a bit of editing the model was ready for “tinkering.”

For my model, I just added a platform to etch my name in and tweaked the size and position of the bust.



I really enjoyed this week’s class because it was my first time ever interacting directly with a 3D printer and scanner. I see myself keeping the model so I could one day show my grandchildren — and who knows where we’ll be by then. As this type of technology is growing, it is also important to know how to use it and apply it so that when it does become a mainstream consumer product, we will already be familiarized with it.

What’s to Come Next

It’s clear that 3D printing is still in the beginning stages of development. There are about 2 billion PCs and only 200,000 3D printers as said by Aric Rindfleisch, the executive director of the Illinois MakerLab. We experienced some printer malfunction during class, such as the head getting clogged. Human error is very minimal as the printers are very user-friendly.

There are also online tutorials to help the newcomers 3D printing (i.e. me) that go through loading and unloading filament, leveling the build platform, and slicing the model after the initial scan. This is all new and exciting for me and I look forward to next week’s class!

I’ve posted a resource about the MakerBot printers used in class for added information or helpful tips. Check it out here.

3d scanning and printing in black-and-white

For me, it’s quite hard to belive that 3d printing is still in the “black-and-white-age”. It was on 1. January, 1969 when the first television programm was broadcasted in color! Before that time, did people image that there could exist any “upgrade” to black-and-white TVs?

Aric Rindfleisch Executive Director of the Illinois MakerLab made clear, that 3d printing is still in its infancy stages. We cannot yet imagine what we will print in 2025, or 2035. Do we still have to go to a grocery store to buy food or will every family have a printer in their kitchen?

scan my head

In any case, I was facinated how easy it was to scan ourselves within minutes! Yes, there occured some problems so that we had to rerun our scans, however we really did not need to spend more than 5 minutes per scan!

Next, we imported our scans to TINKERCAD and … well see the picture below.

My head virtually at tinkercad

me in tinkercad

print my head

The printing itself was not that successful. The reason was a problem with the printer. He unfortunately stopped grabbing new material. I’ll repat my print another time. For now, watch my 10-seconds black-and-white 3d printing video

My first 3d printed object

I was quite excited about my first class of DigitalMaking! I’ve never been to a 3d printing lab before, so even the atmosphere with all these MakerBots around was a new for me! But why do I have missed the first class, the week before? I’m an exchange student from Austria and was not aware that this course even exist until Vishal announced it in another BADM class!

I haven’t heard about Tinkercad before. I did not expect that it is that easy to create 3d object. Within 30 minutes I created the first prototype of our team logo. Following major steps were made

  1. The cube is a predefined object in Tinkercad. Just the size must be adjusted
  2. The number 3 and the letter D were placed on the top. Angle and size were adjusted. The letters should be “outside” of the printed cube.
  3. On the five sides remaining I placed the letters of our team named SENOL. These letters should be “inside” of the printed cube.
  4. Finally, I wanted to have a “adapter” to make the cube a key fob. This was quite tricky, because of the angle of this detail. I designed it out of two cylinders. One for the printed object, and one for the hole inside.

One the printed object I recognized a few mistakes, that I’ve designed wrong.

  • There are different depths inside the cube of the letters SENOL
  • The letter L is mirrored.





What’s next?

While you are sitting in front of your computer designing new objects or sitting in front of a makerbot when it is printing new objects, one can really get addicted to 3D printing! There are a bunch of sites online where you can view and download objects other users have designed and shared. I started to think, what the next object I print could look like. Here are a few ideas:

  • A wall cleat to place a cable when it is not in use! I like the idea, to replace the normal cover with a one that has a function. I think about a “function” like a mobile phone mounting while charging.
  • Eggcups are a good idea for making nice gifts for anyone. However, I think that this object would need a bigger base to stand stable and there must be different sizes for different eggs.
  • This Pen&Card Stand is a good example of useful 3d objects for daily usage on your own desk. When I was looking at similar objects I thought about making a bigger object to put in kitchen knives.
  • When you have a OnePlus One, like I do, you do might also have the problem, that there are not many accessories available to buy. You can not buy a docking station, but you can print it! This object has been published on Nov 23, 2014 but it has been modified a few times. I’m sorry to say, that there nothing I see to improve. I just want to print my own “copy”!