Gabriella Perry

3D Printing and Scanning

"design and 3D print an object (small, few cm3, limited by printer time) that could not be made subtractively"

For the 3D printing assignment, I wanted to experiment with layering fabric into a print to connect many tiny pieces. This project was inspired by my colleague at Virginia Tech, Olivia Menezes, who added screen door material to large-scale 3D printed to create folded origami structures. Originally the intended application was a shirt, but due to the lack of large sheets of fabric material and the limiting dimension of the Prusa printer build plate, this idea was tabled. I started with smaller tests to see if the print would adhere to or through the fabric mesh. I would start the print and watch it until the end of the first two layers when I would manually pause the printer. Once the printer was paused, I would layer the fabric onto the printed parts and tape the material down with masking tape. While seemingly sketchy, the process proved viable, and the resulting meshes had interesting mechanic properties.

Once I had determined the viability of the process, I attempted to integrate the second component of this project, "3D scan an object (and optionally print it)". Originally the plan was to scan my face to make a custom-fit Halloween mask out of fabric and 3D printing. However, the generated mesh was tough to modify in rhino, and in the end I pivoted to making a facemask. The facemask also utilized a sewing machine to stitch the parts together.


- Manipulating the 3D scan mesh was difficult, and simplifying and modifying it crashed my rhino five times.

- I was limited by the bed size for the components I could print, so therefore a shirt or anything larger than a mask would take more time to sew together.

- I used two layers of mesh for the mask, and one time the print got caught on the fabric, causing it to open a hole in the mesh.

- I manually paused the printer. However, I could have added in a pause in the Gcode.

- The fabric was jankly adhered to the build plate; binder clips would have been better.

Check out The Harvard Lab's Group Assignment:

Bridge Testing Angle Testing Wall Thickness Testing