Selfie Sculpture

How to Fake a Color 3D Print using Paper

color 3d print

Who needs a 3D printer? Instructable shows how to make a fake color 3D print by stacking a series of 2D images printed on paper. Magic!

color 3d printOver in the land of Instructables, a buzzing hive of activity for makers of all stripes, community member Michael Koehle has uploaded a tutorial for creating a color 3D print… without using a 3D printer.

Instead, the technique is a spoof of the real thing, using only flat sheets of paper and an image that’s been sliced using software.

But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a piece of cake. You’ll need some confidence with computer applications for image slicing, plus access to a laser printer and/or a craft paper cutter (or be extremely dextrous with a pair of scissors).

So far, the Instructable shows how to represent a single image on one side of the fake color 3D print — hence the appearance of unused space on the back of the object. But in theory it should be possible to create the appearance of an image from all sides, to get a fully colored model.

How Does the Color 3D Print Work?

color 3d print assemblyAs explained in the Instructables tutorial, you will need to select an image for “projecting” or texture mapping onto the model.

Then, using a slicing programme, you have to slice the model along the z axis at a given spacing. As Koehle explains:

“At every slice thickness, we are going to take a row of pixels from the projection image, and smear that some distance over the page. How far back is up to you. If you extend it over the entire length of page, you will get a mirror image on the projection image on the back side of the model.”

Koehle wrote his own code in order to control the layout of the slice. However, there are many free slicing programs available to download which you can also use.

Next, you need to print out your images to paper, and then cut and assemble the sheets in sequential order. The selfie sculpture is held together by stacking each sheet with the sliced image over a guide rod.

All in all, it’s quite a remarkable effect. What do you think of this Instructable? Are you tempted to create a fake color 3D print, or would you rather have a 3D selfie?