printer’s log

The 3D printer I have been using since September 2022 is a Form 3+ that belongs to CEAU in the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. It is an excellent stereolithographic printer, and several prints are stunning. Still, others have failed, mainly because my polyhedral models tend to push the printer’s limits.

Since printing solid models is far too easy, I prefer to print models without faces and replace the edges with long cylinders or “pipes.” Depending on the number and length of the edges and existing intersections, some models come out perfect, while others require an internal structure to avoid breaking. Here, I will show some of my 3D prints, including the ones that failed, hoping that my experience may be helpful to anyone who is beginning to explore stereolithographic printing.

I use Rhinoceros and Grasshopper to model polyhedra (from scratch, so to speak). After editing the edges and any existing internal structure with the Multipipe tool in Grasshopper, I export the .3dm as .stl and prepare it for printing in PreForm.

This webpage will be written in reverse order, meaning that more recent texts will appear at the beginning. Feel free to reach out in the comments below! I will publish other prints here as soon as I can.

3D Prints: Great dodecahedron | Small Stellated dodecahedron | Icosidodecahedron |

Great dodecahedron

Photos of the printed great dodecahedron are somewhat confusing, so I prefer to show a video of me taking out the supports (which I enjoy doing very, very much). This model took me about 20 minutes to take everything out, but the video is shown in fast-motion:

vera viana taking the supports out of a 3D print of the great dodecahedron

[circumdiameter 130 mm | pipe radius: 1.5 mm | Total printing time: 12h45m]

Great stellated dodecahedron

Printing concave polyhedra can be tricky because of the self-intersecting faces. For the print to include all the edges, the model must be prepared so that the edges inside the polyhedron are distinct line segments. This way, the multipipe will work fine, but other details must be attended to depending on the edge length and model size.

[circumdiameter 130 mm | pipe radius: 1.5 mm | Total printing time: 10h15m]


Since the edge length was appropriate for the model’s size, the 3D print came out nicely:

[circumdiameter 100 mm | pipe radius: 2.0 mm | Total printing time: 5h45m].

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