3D Printing

Learn to 3D Print a Block Print Template with This New Instructable

3d printed block paint plate full 3d printing industryBlock printing is one of the oldest methods to mass reproduce artwork and the written word. This guide to 3D printing a modern version, posted by Instructables user pseaton, will allow you to create a simple 3D printed template that you can use to stamp whatever image you want onto pretty much any flat surface that you can find.

Just open this in-browser – Chrome only –  JavaScript tool, find an image, save it to your desktop and then simply drag it into the browser window. You can select the level of detail for your picture and set the size of the 3D printed plate, once you’re happy simply hit download and it will save to your computer as a ready to print stl file. Once you’ve printed your plate it’s ready to be covered in paint and stamped onto the surface of your choice.

einstein_dots 3d printed block paint toolPseaton suggests that you use a high quality 3D printer and he does specifically mention avoiding MakerBots, but I’m assuming that he simply means all desktop 3D printers. He used an Objet500 Connex to print his plates, so if you’re looking to do this you’re most likely going to need to know someone with access to a professional / industrial grade 3D printer, head over to Shapeways or a local bureaux or find someone on 3DHubs to have it 3D printed at the proposed level of detail.

einstein_blockprint_3 3d printing industry

As with all Instructables, the guide walks you through each step with detailed and easy to understand instructions and pictures. Creating the 3D printable files is pretty simple to do, and it only takes a few seconds. I tried playing around with the JavaScript page for a while and finding a suitable picture seems to be the most time consuming part of the process.

3d printed gaga block paintMy first attempt was with this picture of Lady Gaga. I assumed that the graphic nature of the image would translate very well to the pixilated image and it came out pretty cool. This Ron Swanson image fared a little better, but I had trouble finding a picture detailed enough to get the full majesty of his mustache. I ended up really liking how this picture of Peter Capaldi as the new ‘Doctor Who’ came out.

swanson dr who block paint 3d printing industry

It occurred to me that these plates would also make pretty fantastic artwork themselves, even if you don’t use them as stamps. You could either paint them, or simply print them in a very shiny material and allow light to show off the detail of the image.

You can read through the entire Instructable here, and if you have any questions about the process you can post a comment there. And pseaton is in the comments and responding. As always if you’ve made some of these yourself please show them off in the comments or tweet them to me @sjgrunewald.