Make Architecture



5: 3D Printing

by Otto Ng <>

The exercise aims at producing a model with operability at the Invision 3D printer. An existing Mobile Suite Gundam 3D model was customized to achieve operability at the limbs. The project also aims at getting most of the finest details in the 3D model for such a small physical scale. The precision quality of the Invision 3D printer can therefore be assessed.




  • approx. 4″ x 2″ x 1″

:: Process

1) Customizing the model

2) 3d-printing

3) Post-printing treatment

:: Customizing arm joint details

:: Customizing leg joint details

:: Export as .STL Mesh to 3D Printer

:: Invision-si 3D Printer

– The printing process is ontrolled by invision software

– After the model is printed, use a knife to strip away the layer of filler between the part and the tray.  This part could be aggressive.

:: Melt the wax in a domestic oven.

– Settings: 150’F (Wax melting point), conventional bake

– Don’t forget to flip the model to give even heating on each side

– Result: Most of the wax was melted after 2 hours.

:: Not all the joints are working yet. However the scaffolding can be clearly seen.

:: After removing the scaffolding with a knife and files, the model was taken to several bathes

1. oil bath (cooking olive oil at 150’F, to melt the remaining wax completely)

2. soap bath (to degrease)

3. water bath (to clear the soap)

Result: All the joints become operable immediately!

The model is tinted yellow. However the tint has faded away in the next few days.

Final Product:


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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