Archive for the ‘3d printing’ Category


Staithes Changes

Finished two prints of a cliff face at Staithes, North Yorkshire. The first is one seen before, a colour-mapped scan showing areas of change:


The second is a full colour print from a newer scanner:

staithes-colourHere’s a shot of both, side by side (taken by Adam Clarkson) showing how the prints are aligned to allow direct comparison.


The prints will be mounted on reinforced posters for presentation.


For Adam Clarkson‘s augmented reality project, we created AR markers as tiles:


The marker system is from NyARToolkit and the 3D modeling was done in 3DS Max 2009.



For the purposes of printing something for training on the Z650, a piece of the Martian surface, including Olympus Mons. This was produced with elevation and texture data from USGS Map-a-Planet Explorer service (  The elevation data was taken from the MOLA digital terrain model map and processed in ParaView.
olympus mons



Data, originally from Earth Sciences (?), supplied by Nick Holliman from the Interactive Media Technology Group, has finally been printed.  This took a bit of work to manipulate into a managable data-set ready for print. The original data is a LIDAR scan point cloud, originally given in VTK format. I had to write a tool to convert into point-cloud-only PLY.


Apparently, its a cliff face near the sea in the US. Large expensive houses ride on the fate of coastline erosion.


Printing Data

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Gerrard in the Dept. of Archaeology, I got hold of some geophysics data. Using paraview, I was able to mesh the data, and thickened it using 3DS Max. The print was straightforward from there:


Note that the colour information was added in paraview – by assigning a colour in the range blue to red depending on height, low to high.



Anyone want to solve this puzzle? Generated from STL files:


First prints!

After a quick bout of 3DS Max, the following mug emerged from the printer.  The lettering (and logo) on the mug are raised from the surface by a millimeter or so.

Technology Enhanced Learning mug print

The mug appears a bit ‘dirty’ because, during infiltration (dipping/pouring with a fixing fluid), bits of latex glove adhered to the surface. I also modelled up, from scratch, a stand for the air nozzle used in the Post Process Unit of the printer:



This morning saw the delivery of a ZPrinter 650 3D printer made by Z-Corp. Yesterday, the printer arrived on a delivery vehicle that didn’t have a platform for lowering the crate, so it had to go and come back on a suitable delivery vehicle.

Anatol, from Thinglab (Inition), was here to supervise the delivery. Given the sheer size of the printer, we decided to take it out of the crate on the back of the lorry, and then separate the Post Processing Unit (PPU) away from the main body of the printer, allowing us to get the printer off the lorry, in the building, in the lift, and up to our floor.  Taking it out of the crate in the back of the lorry requires sufficient space (about 6m) to get the printer out of the crate.  Conveniently, Z-Corp have cleverly designed the crate to include in-built ramps that are deployed to roll the printer off the crate.


Once in the building, Anatol was able to prepare the machine ready for the first print – a head alignment.