3D Print and “Mod”

Design Thinking

This is the fifth project of the TDE 110 class, and it is also the last Group A project. I personally believe it is the easiest one and I didn’t realize it until I finished the project. The design is provided on the Moodle site, and there’s no information about the author. So I assume that the author is one of the TDE 110’s instructors.

There are two .STL files provided in the folder: One of them is the centering jig and the other one is the medallion. I personally like the medallion so I chose to print this one out.

The material of the product will be Filament(PolyLite PLA). For this project, we will use the 3d printer based on Fusion Deposition Modeling (FDM). According to the instruction, It replicates a sliced solid model project by using a hot-end extruder to melt a plastic, nylon, metal-embedded, or carbon fiber-embedded filament into a highly accurate facsimile of the solid-modeled .STL file.

We might also use ABS as the material, however, during printing, ABS can emit an acrid, unpleasant odor, so it’s best used with a closed-frame printer in a well-ventilated room. The 3d printer is not located in a well-ventilated environment so ABS might not be a good option for replacement.


According to Hoffman in 2018, the most common filament types are acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Most basic 3D printers are designed to exclusively use these filaments. Part of their appeal is that they’re relatively inexpensive, costing as little as 20 dollars per kilogram.

There are many advantages to using PLA as the material of the product. For example, PLA has a relatively low melting point, with usable temperatures between 180 degrees and 230 degrees Celsius. It is plant-based and biodegradable. It’s harder than ABS, prints without warping, and is generally easy to work with, although in rare cases it can cause extruder jams. The most important is it is cheap and easy to purchase.

At first, I downloaded the file and opened it in the software called Cura. The medallion is standing up when I just imported it into the software so I need to make it flat. After doing so, I adjusted the settings of the printing procedure: 15%-20% infill and selected the material to PolyLite PLA.

The next step is saving and sending it to the external storage(SD card). The 3D printer will load the file from the SD card so I inserted the SD card into the slot on the printer, and found the section about Filament to change it to PLA. The 3D printer will start heating the table and knots, and I used the time to clip the filament at a long angle. The long angle will help thread the filament down into the feed tube on the extruder’s hot end.

According to the instruction, when the printer’s hot end is up to temperature, I need to thread the tapered end of the filament down into the filament tube by using my finger to pull forward on the spring-loaded black alignment tab. Simultaneously thread the filament down the tube. When it is correctly loaded, approximately 2.5” of the filament will thread through the tube.

The next step is loading the filament. By pressing load filament, it will pull filament in and run a purge cycle to clear out the old filament and fully load new. After the process is finished, press the button to end the purge.

After doing these steps, the 3d printer is ready for printing. By pressing Print from SD, and choosing the file saved from the computer, the print process is on the way.

After about 40 minutes of waiting, the printing process is done. It will spend some time cooling down, and after that, you can use a wide scraper and mallet to gently pop the model off of the build plate. You will need to steady the build plate, scraper, and model with one hand and strike gently on the scraper with the mallet that is held in your other hand. I felt extremely flattered that someone I believe might be Dr. Miller helped me with this step.

The product from the 3D printer:


I like this project because finally, I can use a 3d printer to print something. It is a brand new experience for me and it is amazing. The overall step is not difficult even though it has so many steps. There are no obvious difficulties in this project and I have to say it is the easiest project that I have ever done. There’s one technical problem about saving files to an SD card but it is solved for no reason. I think it might be caused by the loose connection between the SD card and the SD card reader.

I learned a lot about 3D printers. For example, it is my first time to know there are many types of 3D printers including Selective Laser Sintering, Stereolithography, and Fusion Deposition Modeling. Meanwhile, it is my first time to know the overall process of 3D printing. It is a new experience for me and I was not expecting that I could have such an excellent and extraordinary experience in this class.

If I can redo the project, I would definitely try to design something on my own. This time I am not familiar with the printing process and I have no sufficient time and experience to make my own file for printing. Next time If I can redo the project I will definitely design something related to myself and I think it will be very meaningful.


Hoffman, T. (2018, May 24). 3D printer filaments explained. PCMAG. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from