DCA Print Studio: 3D Print Drop-In Day


     Images by Claire McVinnie

     Images by Claire McVinnie

From 12-4pm in the Print Studio on the 11th of April, 49 people attended the 3D Printing drop-in day. With great interest in all of the available technology, we gained very positive feedback.

The 3D Printer, 3D Scanner, 3D Pens and 3D Print- Printmaking hybrids all proved popular with visitors. Everyone enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the drop-in day, which was mostly seen in the queue for the 3D pens (almost all adults!) Whereas kids loved swapping around the 3D Printed ‘Mr.Potatohead’ style fruit and veg body parts/gadgets and using the 3D scanner to produce digital portraits.


The attendees covered all age ranges and abilities; mostly beginners, a few hobbyists already learning about 3D Printing (one who is currently building his own printer), interested groups and individuals.

Print Studio Members and artists/makers were particularly curious about the Printmaking area; combining 3D Print with traditional Printing. One of our members even started creating Collograph textures with the 3D Pen to add to her next Collograph plate! It was really pleasing to see that people were being inspired and creating at the drop-in day, plus thinking about how they could use these techniques for future projects.

What kind of class involving 3D Printing would interest you?

“Mixing 3D Printing with other printing methods.”

“Intro course possibly combined with Printmaking”

“Creating collograph, etching boards and embossing with 3D prints”

The drop-in day provided a taster session for all. After looking around the various stations for themselves, some of the more popular questions included ‘How do I get from a drawing/an idea to the 3D Print?’ For this we would need to have gone through the process of ‘Initial design, create on 3D software and 3D Print’. At the Drop-in, demonstrating design software would have proven difficult as it turned out to be so busy, however if this was incorporated into a workshop, members would get the chance to learn the whole process.

What kind of class involving 3D Printing would interest you?


“Understanding the basic; from set-up, 3D capture; 3D design etc.”

“Sculpture proto-typing, 3D scanning and cleaning up the model. Using design programmes.”

As well as learning the 3D design/print process, quite a few people were asking how much materials cost for one print, what design software is available and if there are any intro sessions coming up. I think it’s important for future workshops to provide at least a little information about open source websites (Thingiverse) and service bureaus for material options (Shapeways, i.materialise) so they know the different services that can be tapped into online and the 3D Printing options currently available.

In the studio at the moment in terms of design software, we have ‘Cubify Sculpt’ which I think is the most user-friendly for complete CAD beginners available in here. We also have Cubify Invent, Blender and Rhino 3D. These three are more specialised and take a while to learn the commands by going through tutorials. I’m recommending sticking to Cubify Sculpt for intro workshops or classes (and Cloud 9 haptic software for a more hands on experience!)

The 3D Pens were extremely popular, with several people asking me if these were bookable to use, when could they do this and how much would it be. They  add an extra element to the drawing and design process and can be used in Printmaking methods (collograph, relief) so perhaps these should be available to book out themselves and also as an option to use in Printmaking courses as an additional process. 

Workshop ideas from the most popular suggestions:

·         Intro course and Printmaking

·         Design->Make->Print

·         Design and 3D Print your own letterpress/relief blocks

Bookable resources:

·         3Doodler

·         3D Printer (after one-to-one)

·         3D Scanner/Computer with 3D software.