How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

This page covers a number of tips and tricks on how to print 3D models. We also recommend some sites where you can get ready to print 3D designs.

3D Printing Basics

How to 3d print an object

Before I go into details, I’ll give you an overview of the entire procedure. First, let’s identify the things that you need to get the job done. Here’s what you need:

  • 3D printer
  • 3D models

Step 1: Select a design

How to 3d print an object

For the 3D model, you can design your own 3D object or use the existing models available online. It’s more fun if you do your own design.

Doing your own 3D model will be easy if you are already familiar with the 3D printing software for modeling. Otherwise, designing your own 3D model alone might take time as you have to get yourself familiar with the tool.

For this reason, I suggest that you use the readily available 3D models online, for the sole purpose of getting your first 3D printed object done.

You can look for free 3D models in the following sites:

Step 2: Choose Your Materials

How to 3d print an object

The first 3D printers only use plastic parts. But, the new models of the machine can now handle a growing variety of materials.

The most popular materials are plastic filaments like ABS and PLA, but there are more materials to choose from. If you want a tough and flexible material, plastics like ABS or nylon works great especially for functional parts like gears and integral hinges.

If you want to produce 3D objects that can handle the heat, the best material would be ceramics. Ceramics can withstand a temperature of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3: Find a 3D Printer

For the 3D printer, you can borrow your friend’s machine or purchase a low-cost machine. You do not need an expensive machine, an entry-level low-cost 3D printer will be a good start.

How to Use a 3D Printer?

How to 3d print an object

This is an overview on how to use your 3D printer for the first time.

  1. Visit a site and download a 3D printer model. For instance, you can visit Thingiverse and select a 3D object that you want to 3D print. You will get a zip folder. Extract it.
  2. Download a 3D printing software. For this example, you can download Cura Software, this is free. You will use this software to set your printing parameters and slice your model. Once Cura is ready, open it and click on the machine. Then, click add new machine.

Click next. Select Other and choose your 3D printer. Cura is now ready to be used. Please remember that you might need to tweak the setting if your printer is not in the list. You can also use another program like Craftware, KISSlicer, MatterControl or Astroprint to get the job done.

How to 3d print an object

  1. Set the parameters. You have to open the basic and advanced tap to adjust the parameters accordingly


  • Layer height: 0.1mm or 0.2mm
  • Print Speed: 50mm/sec
  • Printing temp: 190 C
  • Bed temp: 45C
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Flow: 100%
  • Nozzle Size: 0.4mm


  • Travel speed: 100mm/sec
  • Infill speed: 60mm/sec
  1. Save your file. Click on toolpath to SD to save the file to your USB. The process will convert the file into .gcode.
  2. 3d print your design. Insert the SD card to your printer. Turn on the printer and adjust the setting of your machine. Once the set up is done, the 3D printer will start printing your 3D model.

If you wish to learn more, you can find more 3D printer videos online.

How to Print a 3D Printer?

How to 3d print an object

I understand that you have reached this part because you are interested in producing your own 3D printer. The good news is – that’s possible. However, do not expect a ready-to-use 3D printing machine because the process requires you to assemble the output.

Dr. Adrian Bowyer invented the first self-replicating 3D printer through the RepRap project. His first functional machine called the RepRap “Darwin” with 50% self-replicated parts was unveiled in 2008.

The 3D printed 3D printers are made using the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printing technology with plastic materials. They are desktop 3D printers and has limited applications compared to industrial machines.

Why is 3D printer iterations successful? This type of printers is low-cost. In addition, it’s easy to construct and modify. In fact, this is a must-have for hobbyists. It’s also popular in the education field.


We keep our tips and tricks simplified so it’s easy to understand. We hope that the aforementioned hacks will help you create your first 3D printed objects with ease.

Please keep in mind that you might need to make some tweaks in the settings we provided above to make it work for your 3D printer. Also, you might need to make additional changes if you are using another 3D printing software. But, overall, this is how to 3d print something.

If you need to learn more about 3D printers and 3D printing, feel free to check our homepage.

How to 3d print an object

3D printing multiple objects at the same time is a dream come true. You can print as many models that can fit the build plate, therefore, reducing the time and work required. It also allows your objects to cool faster since they can be left to cool while the next model is being printed.

However, this comes with a lot of risks.

It may be less time-consuming to print multiple objects, but it doesn’t shorten the printing time drastically. All it does is remove the in-between rebooting time for each print batch since you’ll be printing all the objects in one batch (hopefully!). There is also the risk of ruining all your prints when one of the objects gets knocked off during printing. Then there’s also the stringing due to the extruder moving from one object to another.

But there is the right way to doing this. Here’s how you can print multiple objects at once…

The secret to successful multiple object 3D printing is…

Sequential printing! Sequential printing allows you to print one model at a time and only moves on to the next one after it’s done. It also reduces the likelihood of ruining the entire batch once one fails since the material wouldn’t be dragged to other prints.

Sequential printing can be done through slicer software programs, such as Slic3r and Cura for Ultimaker printers. Both of them are freeware.

Special notes about Slic3r

  • Slic3r already checks the layout for problems with the nozzle and extruder colliding into your model and other problems that may arise during printing.
  • The default setting of Slic3r is that it prints the objects by height from the shortest to the tallest to minimise issues with height clearance. You can choose to manually change the order of sequence through the settings.

Special notes about Cura

  • Cura allows you to print the objects one at a time, which will stop the printing after an object is done and only resume once you have removed the finished object from the bed.
  • It also has a “Print all at once” feature that is similar to Slic3r. However, it is restricted by height. This option is not available for tall objects.

Reasons to print multiple objects

  • When printing models that are made up of similar multiple parts such as chains and belts
  • When splitting a model into several parts because it doesn’t fit your 3D printer
  • When printing several copies of an object

Learn a new 3D printing hack with multiple printing!

Learning new 3D printing hacks is part of what makes being a 3D printing nerd fun. If you need new 3D printer filaments to try this hack with, check out our Glowing and Twinkling filaments! For inquiries, you can contact us by email

3D tools are independent of the Perspective Grid tools and 3D objects are treated like any other object in perspective.

3D effects enable you to create three-dimensional (3D) objects from two-dimensional (2D) artwork. You can control the appearance of 3D objects with lighting, shading, rotation, and other properties. You can also map artwork onto each surface of a 3D object.

There are two ways to create a 3D object: by extruding or revolving. In addition, you can also rotate a 2D or 3D object in three dimensions. To apply or modify 3D effects for an existing 3D object, select the object and then double-click the effect in the Appearance panel.

3D objects may display anti-aliasing artifacts on screen, but these artifacts won’t print or appear in artwork optimized for the web.

For a video about working with 3D objects in Illustrator, see Moving into the world of 3D.

Create a 3D object by extruding

Extruding extends a 2D object along the object’s z axis to add depth to the object. For example, if you extrude a 2D ellipse, it becomes a cylinder.

The object’s axis always lies perpendicular to the object’s front surface and moves relative to the object if the object is rotated in the 3D Options dialog box.

How to 3d print an objectExtruding an object

Click Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel.

Click More Options to view the complete list of options, or Fewer Options to hide the extra options.

Select Preview to preview the effect in the document window.

Sets how the object is rotated and the perspective from which you view it. (See Set 3D rotation position options.)

Determines the object’s depth and the extent of any bevel added to or cut from it. (See Extrude & Bevel options.)

Creates a wide variety of surfaces, from dull and unshaded matte surfaces to glossy and highlighted surfaces that look like plastic. (See Surface shading options.)

Adds one or more lights, varies the light intensity, changes the object’s shading color, and moves lights around the object, for dramatic effects. (See Lighting options.)

Maps artwork onto the surfaces of a 3D object. (See Map artwork to a 3D object.)

Click OK.

How to 3d print an objectExtruded object without a beveled edge (left) compared to object with Bevel Extent In (middle) and with Bevel Extent Out (right)

Create a 3D object by revolving

Revolving sweeps a path or profile in a circular direction around the global y axis (revolve axis) to create a 3D object. Because the revolve axis is vertically fixed, the open or closed path that you revolve typically needs to depict half of the desired 3D object’s profile in a vertical and front-facing position; you can then rotate the 3D object’s position in the effect’s dialog box.

How to 3d print an objectRevolving an object

Applying the 3D Revolve effect to one or more objects simultaneously revolves each object around its own axis. Each object resides in its own 3D space and can’t intersect other 3D objects. Applying the Revolve effect to a targeted group or layer, on the other hand, revolves the objects around a single axis.

Revolving a filled path with no stroke is much faster than revolving a stroked path.

Click Effect > 3D > Revolve.

Select Preview to preview the effect in the document window.

Click More Options to view the complete list of options, or Fewer Options to hide the extra options.

Sets how the object is rotated and the perspective from which you view it. (See Set 3D rotation position options.)

Determines how to sweep the path around the object to turn it into three dimensions. (See Revolve options.)

Creates a wide variety of surfaces, from dull and unshaded matte surfaces to glossy and highlighted surfaces that look like plastic. (See Surface shading options.)

Adds one or more lights, varies the light intensity, changes the object’s shading color, and moves lights around the object, for dramatic effects. (See Lighting options.)

Maps artwork onto the surfaces of a 3D object. (See Map artwork to a 3D object.)

Click OK.

Set 3D rotation position options

Select a preset position from the Position menu.

For unconstrained rotation, drag a track cube face. The front of the object is represented by the track cube’s blue face, the object’s top and bottom faces are light gray, the sides are medium gray, and the back face is dark gray.

To constrain the rotation along a global axis, hold down Shift while dragging horizontally (global y axis) or vertically (global x axis). To rotate the object around the global z axis, drag in the blue band that surrounds the track cube.

To constrain the rotation around an object axis, drag an edge on the track cube. The pointer changes to a double-sided arrow , and the cube edge changes color to identify the axis around which the object will rotate. Red edges represent the object’s x axis, green edges represent the object’s y axis, and blue edges represent the object’s z axis.

Enter values between –180 and 180 in the horizontal (x) axis , vertical (y) axis , and depth (z) axis text boxes.

To adjust the perspective, enter a value between 0 and 160 in the Perspective text box. A smaller angle is similar to a telephoto camera lens; a larger lens angle is similar to a wide-angle camera lens.

A lens angle that is higher than 150 may result in objects extending beyond your point of view and appearing distorted. Also, keep in mind that there are object x, y, and z axes and global x, y, and z axes. Object axes remain relative to an object’s position in its 3D space. Global axes remain fixed relative to the computer screen; the x axis lies horizontally, the y axis lies vertically, and the z axis lies perpendicular to the computer screen.

How to 3d print an objectObject axes (in black) move with the object; global axes (in gray) are fixed.

Looking for turning a photo into a 3D model? You can easily create 3D printable objects and 3D models from images and photos nowadays. In this tutorial, we will show you how you can turn ordinary 2D pictures of everyday objects into extraordinary 3D models. Turning 2D into 3D has never been easier as this project requires no coding experience and runs 100% on free software. If you think about 3D printing these 3D models, you don’t even have to buy a 3D printer and you can do it all without leaving your house. Let’s get started!

How to 3d print an object

Let’s create a 3d model from photos!

Step 1: Capture the object through Digital Photos.

The first step is to capture your object by taking pictures of it. These images will serve as the foundation for the rest of your project and will later become a 3D model. You can do this step either with a digital camera or your mobile phone.

How to 3d print an object

In order to make a 3D print based on photos, we first need to get the right images.

  • Place your object in the middle and take photos in a loop, moving completely around the object.
  • Shoot another loop from a different angle to make sure you cover the top of the object. Aim for 30-40 total sequential photos.
  • For best results, add newspaper or sticky notes around your subject to help 3D building software distinguish where the bottom is.
  • Try to maintain consistent lighting, object position and focus in all pictures.
  • Avoid overexposed or underexposed photos.
  • Avoid plain, reflective, transparent surfaces and objects. They don’t make good 3D models.
  • For more help in setting up and taking pictures of your object, check out this tutorial.

How to 3d print an object

This is how you should take your pictures in order to create a 3D model.

Step 2: Create a 3D Model from Photos: Upload your images to Autodesk 123D Catch

Autodesk’s 123D Catch is a free tool which will help you piece together your 3D model from the pictures you just took. 123D Catch will automatically identify common features from your photographs and convert them into a single 3D design. Your model will be uploaded and saved to Autodesk’s cloud storage.

How to 3d print an object

Sign up for a free account

How to 3d print an object

Upload the pictures

How to 3d print an object

Stitched model from all of the pictures

Step 3: Review and clean up your 3D model.

Give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far, you’re halfway through. The next step is to clean up and fix any errors your model might have in 123D Catch. Sometimes the pictures capture extra elements that you don’t want to be included in your model, but you can clean it up with the “lasso” and “heal” tools. The lasso tool will help you select and remove unwanted areas. The heal tool will help you fill in any holes in your model and fix them.

How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

Step 4 (Bonus!): Edit your 3D Model and Tap into Your Creative Spark

Is your model missing something? Want to add wings or robot arms? Take it to the next level with Autodesk sister app Meshmixer which allows you to mix , mash, mix, sculpt, stamp or paint 3D designs super easily, starting from over 10,000 models in the Gallery. Learn more about Meshmixer here. Below is an example of mashing the model we just created with the heads of a bear and a swan!

How to 3d print an object

Step 5: 3D Printing Based on your Images: Print your 3D Model with i.materialise.

We are ready to print! When you’re happy with your model, click on the 123 Catch drop down menu in the top left and select “Export STL” which will generate your 3D model file in a format 3D printers understand. Upload your file to our 3D Print Lab.

How to 3d print an object

Let us print your photo-based 3D model.

There you’ll be able to choose your materials, the size of your model. The price of your model will be automatically calculated according to its material and size. After following the checkout process your creation will be 3D printed and shipped to you!

Are you looking for more ways to turn your photos into 3D prints? Then you might want to check out our article about the free online app “Smoothie-3D” which lets you turn a single photo into a 3D print. If you want to learn more about our 3D printing materials, feel free to explore our material pages . If you’re struggling to turn pictures into 3D models find a designer on our 3D modeling service to help you out.

We continue our 3D printing discovery series by showing you how quick and easy it is to customize the size of pre-designed objects — without ever going into a 3D design program.

By David Gewirtz for DIY-IT | January 29, 2016 | Topic: 3D Printing

In 3D printing, size really doesn’t matter. If you like a 3D object, you can scale it up or down easily and print at exactly the size you need. Unlike items sold in a store, you have total control over the size of what you make. In this installment of our 3D printing discovery series, you’ll see how to do it yourself.

More great project ideas

Updated: If you’re working on a DIY project of your own, this comprehensive guide to tech projects is a good place to start.

One of the interesting personal discoveries I’ve made about 3D printing over the last few months is you start to think about physical objects differently. Since I’ve never really been a fabricator, my access to physical objects has been limited to what I could buy. If I needed something larger or smaller, I could call around or do more Web searching, but that was about the limit of my flexibility.

If I couldn’t find something in the size I wanted, I had to be willing to compromise.

For a few work-related objects, I did contract out with fabricators to build me custom objects. This was not in any way inexpensive (we’re talking hand work by the hour) and usually took a few months to get back. As a result, choosing to contract for custom objects only happened when I needed to prototype something very specific for work, for a very tangible reason.

3D printing changes all of that. As long as the object can fit on the print bed, you can scale it up or down to any size. You can even print objects far larger than the print bed if you’re willing to segment them and later assemble them with either screws, glue, or pins.

Another interesting aspect of the flexibility and customizability of 3D printing is you don’t have to create your own custom design to benefit from custom sizing. In this week’s hands-on example, I’ve used a very cool little cord holder design I downloaded from Thingiverse and scaled it to organize the wires for different size gadgets.

I created one object at 100 percent, one at 75 percent, one at 50 percent, and one at 25 percent. I picked the percentages relatively randomly, but if any of them printed either too small or too large, I could easily have tweaked the scale and reprinted them.

To give you an idea of cost, the role of MakerBot-branded blue filament I used cost $48 for two pounds of filament. The four cable holders used 0.061 pounds of material. For all four cord holders, that’s about $1.40 worth of plastic, and that includes the cost to make the rafts. In the video, I estimated that one cable holder was about ten cents, but it’s more accurately closer to about fifty cents for the largest holder. Even so, we’re not talking big numbers here.

What that means is that you can choose to print, measure, tweak, and reprint, and eventually get exactly what you want. That’s very cool.

In future weeks, we’ll look at designing your own objects, but I wanted to start to show you how flexible you could be, even if you never did an iota of original 3D design work. Given there are over a million objects on Thingiverse, you’ve got a lot of objects to work with, without needing to do any 3D CAD work at all.

Stay tuned. Next week, my plan is to “kit bash” two existing designs together to create one custom, functional solution. And, once again, a special shout-out of thanks to the MakerBot folks for providing the MakerBot 5th Generation Replicator for use in our DIY-IT 3D printing discovery series.

Keeping you informed about what's happening in the LNMC!

So, you want to request a 3D print job? Awesome! We’ve got some info on the process on our website that you should likely have a peek at first.

I’ll warn that it’s a pretty popular service and it takes quite a while to process all the requests, get them printed, etc. Want to help us get through your print job a little faster? Here’s what you can do for us (and for yourself)!

1. Download Cura

Cura is the software that allows us to prep the .stl files for our 3D printer (Ultimaker2). It is free to download for Mac, PC or Linux. Cura will show you a nice blue checkerboard space which represents the build plate / space on our 3D printer which will help you in seeing if your item is too large, too small, etc. for our printer.

2. Open your .stl file in Cura

At the top left corner of Cura, you will see three buttons. The first one that looks like an open file folder with an object hovering over it is the “Load” button. Click on that to navigate to your .stl file.

How to 3d print an object

You will then see something like this:

How to 3d print an object

The yellow object in the middle of the checkerboard space is the object stored in the .stl file. In this case, it’s a pen cup in the shape of a Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars. You will see the approximate printing time show up in the upper left corner beneath the Load button. In this case, it’s over 18 hours, which is well over the 5 hour max guidelines that we require.

Click on your object so that three buttons show in the lower left corner. The second one is used for scaling the object (to make it larger or smaller). This is where we punch in the measurement values (in mm) and where you can get the measurements from to input into the print request webform. But as this is over 18 hours to print, we want to scale this back a bit. A pen holder doesn’t need to be 10 cm tall and can certainly be scaled back.

How to 3d print an object

If you look at this image, it’s currently at a “1.0 scale“, or the file’s regular scale, as is. If you change that scale, it will resize the image. You can do this either by changing the scale (where it says Scale X, Scale Y and Scale Z), or you can punch in different measurements into the Size area (Size X(mm), Size Y(mm) and Size Z(mm)). Be sure to keep the Uniform Scale locked to keep your objects proportions when scaling, or it will end up skewed (image below):

How to 3d print an object

Instead, make sure that Uniform Scale is locked (click on the lock icon) and then change the scale:

How to 3d print an object

You will now see a new approximate print time in the upper corner, new Size measurements (which you could then input into the webform) and a resized version of the original object (so you can see the physical change in the object size).

How to 3d print an object

As you can see, this print job is much more manageable at a 3 hour 22 minute print time estimate, rather than 18+ hours. Looking at the measurements, you can see they are currently 52.52 mm x 47.36 mm x 49.5 mm, or approximately 5.3cm x 4.7cm x 5cm. In this case, it might actually be a little too short for a pen cup and could be scaled up to 0.6 scale, but this is just an example of how the scaling mechanism works.

Recommendation: Once you have figured out the exact size that you want, input the measurements, in mm, as Cura shows them into the webform. Then in the Description area, tell us you’ve looked at it in Cura and that it’s a 0.5 scale (or whatever scale you are asking for). This will help us because we’ll know you’ve already looked at it in Cura and that the measurements are accurate and not an estimate. A lot of our time is spent emailing people back to talk to them about measurement expectations vs realities. If you mention you’ve looked at it in Cura, we will know that you are on the same page as we are. 🙂

To compare, let’s see the original object and resized object side by side so you can see the visible difference between the original and scaled items more clearly:

How to 3d print an object

The difference in colour just represents which object is currently selected (brighter yellow is the selected item). But as you can see, there’s quite a difference in size between these two objects.

3D printing is also known as desktop fabrication or additive manufacturing. It is a prototyping process whereby a real object is created from a 3D design. The digital 3D-model is saved in STL format and then sent to a 3D printer. The 3D printer then prints the design layer by layer and forms a real object. Read more..

2. 3D printing technologies

There are several different 3D printing technologies. The main differences are how layers are built to create parts.

SLS (selective laser sintering), FDM (fused deposition modeling) & SLA (stereolithograhpy) are the most widely used technologies for 3D printing. Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) use melted or softened materials to produce layers.

This video describes how laser-sintering processes melt fine powders, bit by bit, into 3D shapes.

This video shows how FDM works.

The video below explains the process of Stereolithography (SLA).

Generally, the main considerations are speed, cost of the printed prototype, cost of the 3D printer, choice and cost of materials and color capabilities.

3. The history of 3D printing

October 5, 2011 – Roland DG Corporation introduced the new iModela iM-01.

Sep, 2011 – Vienna University of Technology, a smaller, lighter and cheaper printing device has now been developed.

This smallest 3D printer weighs 1.5 kilograms, it costs around 1200 Euros.

Aug, 2011 – The world’s first 3D printed aircraft created by Engineers at the University of Southampton.

4. 3D printing applications

One of the most important applications of 3D printing is in the medical industry. With 3D printing, surgeons can produce patient-specific 3D printed models of patients’ body parts or organs. They can use these models to plan and practice surgeries, potentially saving lives.

3D printing makes it possible to make a part from scratch in just hours. It allows designers and developers to go from flat screen to exact, physical part.

Nowadays almost everything from aerospace components to toys are being built with the help of 3D printers. 3D printing is also used for jewelry and art, architecture, fashion design, art, architecture and interior design.

Here are some extraordinary examples of 3D printing:

  • The World’s First 3D-Printed Car

  • World’s first chocolate 3D printer

  • World’s first 3D printed bikini

5. What is a 3D printer?

A 3D printer is unlike your standard, 2D inkjet printer. On a 3D printer the object is printed in three dimensions. A 3D model is built up layer by layer. Therefore the whole process is called rapid prototyping, or 3D printing. Read more..

The resolution of the current printers is around 328 x 328 x 606 DPI (xyz) at 656 x 656 x 800 DPI (xyz) in ultra-HD resolution. The accuracy is 0.025 mm – 0.05 mm per inch. The model size is up to 737 mm x 1257 mm x 1504 mm.

The biggest drawback for the individual home user is still the high cost of 3D printer. Another drawback is that it takes hours or even days to print a 3D model (depending on the complexity and resolution of the model). Besides above, the professional 3D software and 3D model design is also in a high cost range.

Alternatively there are already simplified 3D printers for hobbyist which are much cheaper. And the materials it uses is also less expensive. These 3D printers for home use are not as accurate as commercial 3D printer.

6. Whats the difference between a basic rapid prototyping machine and a 3D printer?

3D printers are the simple version of rapid prototyping machines. It is lower lost and less capable.

Rapid prototyping is a conventional method that has been used by automotive and aircraft industries for years.

In general 3D printers are compact and smaller than RP machines. They are ideal for use in offices. They use less energy and take less space. They are designed for low volume reproduction of real objects made of nylon or other plastics. That also means 3D printers make smaller parts. Rapid prototyping machines have build chambers at least 10 inches on a side, a 3D printer has less than 8 inches on a side. However a 3D printer is capable of all the functions of rapid prototyping machine such as verifying and validating design, creating prototype, remote sharing of information etc.

Consequently 3D printers are easy to handle and cheap to maintain. You can buy one of those DIY kit in the market and build up yourself. It is cheaper than the professional rapid prototyping, for $1000 or less you can have one 3D printer. While the professional rapid prototyping cost at least $50,000.

3D printers are less accurate than rapid prototyping machines. Because of its simplicity the material choices are also limited.

7. What can you make with a 3D printer?

In 3D printing area, people say “If You Can Draw It, You Can Make It”. In the video below shows many items can be made with a 3D printer. However complicated objects can only be made by professional 3D printers, they are not yet affortable for common family.

Homepage for Michael's Science Projects & Maker Tips

This month I updated the EngineerDog ‘Best of the Internet’ web tools list by removing dead links and incorporating new suggestions from awesome readers like you. (Feedback is appreciated thank you!)

As part of that process I came across a couple new sites that gave me a fun idea.

I’ve found that it is possible to use a string of free web-browser based tools to convert common image files into different file types that can be used for 2D CNC work or 3D printing. This process can be used for drawings, logos, or whatever image you might want to try it on.

To test it out I converted the EngineerDog Logo into a coaster in a single sitting. This article will walk you through the process I used step by step.

High Level Summary of Steps:

  1. Create PNG Image. You can use MS Paint to edit any image and save it as a PNG file.
  2. Change Image to high contrast outline. Convert to black and white, white to become empty space, black to be printed. Use link here or Microsoft Office tools.
  3. Convert Contrasted PNG image to SVG. Use link here or alternative choice link here.
  4. Convert SVG to STL. link here.
  5. Resize STL & Add Backing. link here.
  6. Optional: Add words of any font. MXS link here.

Notes on Jargon:

  • .PNG file = A very common image file. Is the most common lossless image compression format on the internet.
  • .SVG file = A vector based image readable by 2D CNC software (CNC routers & lasercutters.)
  • .STL file = The standard 3d printable 3d model file type.

Steps in Detail:

1. The main Enginerdog Logo was created for me by talented animation artist Jesse J Jones, so selected because I love his work.

How to 3d print an object

I copied the image and pasted into a Microsoft Paint window so I could make the unsophisticated edits that I am able to. I found a public domain image of a wench from google and modified it to my liking.

Then I created the fun font using to overlay ‘’ over the wrench. Again I colored it in using MS Paint.

When complete I saved the file as a .PNG to proceed with the next steps.

How to 3d print an object

2. The next step is to edit the image to increase the contrast so I can see where all the edges are. The colors don’t matter for this, all that is important is their brightness/contrast relative to the rest of the image.
White’light colors will get converted to empty space and black/dark will eventually be printed solid. Those are the only two possibilities.

The tool for this is Pixlr which is like MS Paint but with more capability and browser based. It allows you to adjust the overall light vs dark by choosing “Adjustment” then “Threshold”. (See pics below) When you are finished select File>Save>PNG image.

In my logo image the dog collar was a mid-range color and ended up creating a line of contrast too thin to 3D print, so I used a paint brush tool to better define the collars perimeter.

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3. The next step is to upload your PNG to a program that converts the PNG image to SVG. You can use the link here or alternatively link here. (Good to have multiple options in case something goes wrong or a link dies over time.)

In either case all you to is upload & hit convert and download the SVG file. Super easy.

If you have a laser cutter then at this point you are done because this file type can easily be used in laser cutting software to generate g-code and zap your picture on everything. If you want to 3D print it then read on.

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4. The next step is also an easy one. Upload your SVG to, then select a thickness of 6mm , hit convert, then download the resulting STL file. The thickness here doesn’t matter too much because you will be able to stretch out the thickness as needed in the next program.

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5. Next import the STL model into TinkerCad. STL file types are normally difficult to work with; they are kind of like the pdf of the 3d world. TinkerCad is a simple & free tool mostly intended for empowering kids but its ability to easily edit STL files makes it rare and valuable.

TinkerCAD is the equivalent of Microsoft Paint for your 3D object. Not sophistocated but you’d be surprised what you can do with it. In this demo all I did to the logo was resize it as needed.

My logo’s line thickness (or thinness in this case) turned out to be a limitation because if I scaled down the size of the logo any further then the lines would be too thin to physically 3d print! So I had to either print it big or else go back to step one and cover all the outlines with a thicker paintbrush.

My logo also has lots of floating/separate pieces so I needed a backing to hold everything together. I chose a 100mm diameter disc to create a coaster.

In TinkerCAD, to create the lip around the perimeter I created two discs, classified the big one as ‘solid’ and the smaller one as a ‘hole’, and then selected both and chose ‘group object’. Combining a ‘solid’ and a ‘hole’ cuts out the little circle from the big one. (note that the grouping process can be reversed and modified by choosing ‘ungroup’. Thingiverse’s undo function has a long memory. ) After that I selected the resulting disc and my logo, then grouped again.

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Now export the STL from TinkerCAD and print away! I shared branded coaster pictured along with a blank one on Thingiverse here.

How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

Now that you know how to make pictures printable, what will you use it for?

When you have a special pet or a beloved person, you might want to create a 3D model? You can only use one photo to convert to a 3D model. If you have a series of images, you can create a 3D model with these photos for more detail. Let’s find how to turn a 2D image into a printable 3d model possible from the following article.

How to 3d print an object

How to 3d print an object

WidsMob ImageConvert

Support import various image formats including JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and famous RAW format from Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc., and batch convert them into widely used JPG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP files.

Part 1: How to Convert 2D Photo to 3D Model Online

Smoothie-3D is one of the best solutions to convert photos to 3D model online. Unlike converting photos to PDFs or converting photos to line drawings, converting a 2D image to a 3D model is much more complicated. You can use extrude tools in CAD software or other software to create new geometry for a 3D model. Smoothie-3D offers a simple solution to get the 3D model. Of course, you can also use Autodesk 123D Catch or Neutra 3D Pro to make a 3D model with multiple photos from different angles.

How to 3d print an object

When you get the Photo to a 3D converter, you have to choose the most important picture. If you want to use some professional 2D Photo to 3D model, you need to take several photos from multiple angles. As for Smoothie-3D, you might only take the stuff from the side, which makes modeling much easy. When you copy one side of the thing, you can combine them into a 3D model accordingly.

Part 2: How to Turn a 2D Image into a 3D Model

Just take a picture of a squirrel for an example. It was taken from the side and used as the best sample to convert a photo to a 3D model. When you enter Smoothie-3D, you should create an account and login first. After that, you can follow the procedure to create a 3D model out of a photo.

Step 1: Click the Image menu to Add the squirrel photo to the program online. If you add the wrong image, you can Remove it from the program.

How to 3d print an object

Step 2: You can use a default outline drawing tool and get an outline of the squirrel in different parts. Just redo it if you do not get an exact outline shape of the squirrel.

How to 3d print an object

Step 3: Rotate the outline part and remove the select part to create a 3D model out of the photo. If you are not satisfied with the size, make a resize for it.

How to 3d print an object

Step 4: After that, you can combine different 3D models into a whole. Make any change to remove the unnecessary part to turn the photo into a 3D model accordingly.

How to 3d print an object

Step 5: Export the 3D model to Sketchfab, Shapeways, i.materialise, Thingiverse or other solution to convert photo into a printable 3D model or a 3D model directly.

How to 3d print an object

It is the best gift for your friends or family. If you still have any queries to create the a 3D model, you can also consult the following tutorial to get 3D model out of a photo. For ordering a 3D model, you can also consult some online service providers for help.

Part 3: Convert Multiple 2D Photos to 3D model on Windows 10/8/7

When you turn one photo into a 3D model, it is for some simple pets or unexpected occasions. Most of the time, you should print lots of images from different angles. And then use some professional 3D model converter to stitch them as a whole. As for the case, Neutra 3D Pro is a recommended program to convert photos to the 3D model.

Step 1: Load multiple photos to s 3D model, and then use the image alignment technical to combine different pictures.

Step 2: After that, you also need a side photo to use the 3D masking to create a model.

Step 3: Using the 2D masking several times to remove the unnecessary part out of the model.

Step 4: Point Cloud Generation is also required to analyze detailed points to build a model from the photos.

Step 5: Finally, you can refine the model surface and define the texture from the photos.

If you have any queries for converting multiple photos to the 3D model, you can also find more detail from the following video tutorial accordingly.

How to 3d print an object


Convert photo to 3D model is used frequently in business as a converted photo to PDF. When you get familiar with the skills, it can be a great help to your work. If you have any queries to create a 3D model from photos, you can feel free to share your information with us.

Free tool Tinkercad makes it a snap for first-timers to create 3D objects for printing.

Recently I got the chance to spend some time with a Micro 3D Printer, my first foray into the world of turning a spool of plastic filament into, well, just about anything.

I had lots of fun downloading existing designs from sites like Pinshape and Thingiverse, but eventually I wanted to create objects of my own. Unfortunately, I don’t have a degree in CAD or access to any kind of 3D-design software.

Good news: Turns out you don’t need either one. Autodesk’s Tinkercad is a free Web-based design tool that enables you to create 3D objects, then download those creations in a printer-friendly format. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Head to Tinkercad and sign up for a free account using Facebook, Twitter or your e-mail address.

Step 2: The service will immediately walk you through a lesson to help you learn basic navigation, followed by another lesson that teaches camera controls, and so on. It’s a good idea to go through all of these, just to familiarize yourself with the environment.

How to 3d print an object Enlarge Image

Step 3: When you’re ready to create your own object, return to the Tinkercad dashboard, then click Create New Design. The tool will immediately send you to the design page, complete with a randomly assigned (and often amusing, like Tremendous Snaget-Fulffy) name for your project. You can change the name by clicking Design > Properties, though this can happen at any point along the way.

Step 4: Now it’s time to start assembling your object. The toolbar on the right side is home to a wide assortment of prefab shapes you can drag to the workplane and modify as needed. (You can also import existing SVG (2D) or STL (3D) shapes if you have any.) For purposes of our tutorial, click Geometric, then drag the Hexagonal Prism to your workplane.

alt=”tinkercad-handles.jpg” width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

Step 5: Notice that the shape has five white “handles”: one at each corner and one in the center at the top. When you mouse over any of them, you’ll see corresponding measurements appear. Click and drag any of the corners to resize the prism in that direction; click and drag and center one to adjust the height. (The thing that looks like a black teardrop above the center handle is used to raise and lower the object relative to the workplane.)

alt=”tinkercad-3d-printing.jpg” width=”370″ height=”0″ /> Enlarge Image

Step 6: As you add and modify more objects, remember the size of your 3D printer’s print bed and build accordingly. When you’re done, click Design > Download for 3D Printing and you’ll immediately get an STL file you can load into your printer. (As you’ll see, Tinkercad also has options for Minecraft versions, ordering 3D prints and uploading to Thingiverse.)

And that’s all there is to it. This is a great place to start creating 3D objects to print.

Before you get back to it, here are some quick tips for the Tinkercad beginner:

  • Use your mouse wheel to quickly zoom in and out.
  • Click and hold the right mouse button, then move your mouse to change the viewing angle.
  • After selecting an option, you’ll see an Inspector window. Click the Hole option to make that shape “pass through” any solid shape. That’s how you would, for example, create a cylindrical hole down the center of your prism.
  • To make finer adjustments to object placement, click the Snap grid pull-down and choose a number smaller than the 1.0 default.

Have you found another good tool for creating 3D printer-ready designs? Name it in the comments!