Fab Academy 2017
Learn how to make ALMOST anything!

3D Scanning and Printing


For this week's assignment, It was required to (1) Design something that can't be made subractively and print it and (2) 3D Scan an object.


I. 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing (an acronym for 3D Printing) is simply the development of products and prototypes by adding materials, layer by layer forming section by section until the full implementation of the product.

It was tough to think about a design that can't be made subractively especially with the new 5 and more axis CNC machine that can do awesome work on milling with angles and details. Yet, 3D printing has still the priviledge of doing some tweeks that CNC can't do. After a lot of brainstorming and mind blockage too :D, I made the spiral design and turned it into a pipe line, more like swill-roll cake.

The design mainly shows rotations and angles that CNC can't do achieve it as it will have mechanical blockage. I made the sketch on CorelDraw as shown in this picture.

Sketching on CorelDraw.

The next step was to import the SVG file into a 3D design program. For that, I used 123D design; it's a pretty easy tool. I imported the file and extruded it 3 mm; exported it as .STL file and printed it as a trial.

Spiral in 123D Design Printed Trial


The 3D Printers I used for the trial was "MakerBot Replicator 2" with standard printing settings (0.2mm layer thickness) and no supports or Rafts. Below the process in pictures.

1. Opening your design. 2. Adjust your Print setting.
3. Preview your print (layers, time and material). 4. Print.


The next step was to develop the spiral tube. I simply made this by extruding my design and using the revolve feature to bend it around the Y axis. That's how it looked at the end.


To Print it, I used another printer, "Ultimaker 2 Extended" but this time with low quality (0.15mm layer thickness), light filling and I used supports (although it didn't need, but for double check).

Cura Software for the Ultimaker printer is similar to the MakerBot's one; but in Ultimaker, after your file is ready, you need to save it to the SD card and print from there.


Here are some pictures for the final product.

Pros and Cons of 3D Printing:

As much as I believe in 3D printing and its endless possibilities, it's good also to look the other way around and see its cons.

3D Printing generally can generate complex shapes that can't be done by other technologies like milling, especially with the revolution of the 3D printers and types of materials it uses. On the other hands, 3D Printing has some limitations on the sharpe edges, thickness, time and cost.

Anyone who works with 3D printers should put these factors in consideration; not just 3D Printing, but rather which technology in Fab Lab that can serve his purpose more than others.


II. 3D Scanning:

For 3D Scanning, the job wasn't the easiest at all, although it's a simple concept. The issue I faced was mainly how to get my shoot and then how to create the model out of pictures I took.

As I am a Android user, I tried to look for a mobile app that does 3D scanning; I was hoping for 123D catch but unfortunately, its app is not available anymore on Google play store.

I found another one which does the same job called "Scann3D", The app was good and it gives the user tips and tricks about shooting the picture first.

The first object I tried to scan was my sunblock tube :D I took about 11 pictures from different angles, but the result was a total failure!

Real Object. Model Generated.


My next trial was with 123D Catch, and I tried to install it, but got no luck. But despite all, 123D catch is a great tool to use, they also have amazing simple tutorials on their website in here explaining everything in details.

The begining of hope started with AutoDesk Remake; My fellow students did amazing work with it and recommended it. You can check it and install it from here.

This time I tried something different to scan and I chose to scan my brother. I took 30 pictures from different angles too, trying to have them overlapped as previously learned in Preparing your shoot tutorial.

In AutoDesk Remake, all processing is done on cloud; so it's fast, but you'll need to upload the pictures. It'll process them, create the model and notify you that it is ready to be downloaded.

I started with 2 good tutorials


Here are some screeshoots for my project.

Choosing Pictures. Uploading to the Cloud.

After Downloading your model, you can play with the mesh and fix it until you get it right.

Downloading the model. Fixing the mesh.

My model needed more details and still needs more work to be well completed. So for future recommendation, you need to take pictures as much as you can, not less than 60 clear shots to make a good model. Moreover, you need to place your object on a base contrasting with it.


And Success Finally!

The last scan I did was the successful one! The object is a small Palm Tree. I took 55 shots from different angles, and processed it on AutoDesk Remake.

The results were very satisfactory. Here are some screenshots.

Real Object. First view.
Second View. Third view.

To Sum up why the model succeeded, there are few points you need to put in consideration:

1. Set your shooting place in a good lighting room, but not so bright or shiny or dark.

2. The base on which you put your object should be contrasting with the object as the processor catchs the edge by color difference.

3. Your object should not move at all through the shooting process.

4. You should take at least 50 clear Shots in 360 degress around your object, and they should be overlapping.

And Here you go! Happy Scanning! :)



Spiral DXF file.

Spiral 123D Design file.

Spiral STL file.

Palm Remake Model.