GLP Souvenir (or, a foray into the 3D printing world)

7 Jun

One of the first things we had to do before we left for GLP proper was to figure out what souvenirs to give people at MIT and Leadershape (which is a leadership camp that we’re going to) and the various other people we would be meeting. So many questions: what makes a good souvenir? What kind of souvenir would they want? Should this souvenir be a puzzle, a pen, a laser cut piece of acrylic? Should we make something out of wood instead? 3D print something? On top of that, what could we possibly do in only a week?!

A laser cut piece of acrylic from the Fab Lab

A laser cut piece of acrylic from the Fab Lab

We eventually settled on an ambitious idea: a puzzle which would combine SUTD and MIT together in an interlocking fashion. After some simple solidworks, here was the first generation design (meant for the Up! Printers):


The Up! Printers mostly failed due to the lack of ability to print consistently… and to actually finish the print job! After much frustration and tearing of hair, we eventually moved on to the Solido, which is a machine which prints with laminated plastic sheets:

a3 a4

What you get is a huge mass of plastic cellophane tape that’s sort of laminated together and skillfully and strategically cut to give you the pieces you want. We had to do quite a bit of work to get the puzzle pieces that we wanted out though. The Solido pieces were indeed good (even though they stank a little due to the material): the pieces were slightly soft and extremely durable (the Solido could produce load bearing parts after all). However, the Solido was slow and extremely expensive (roughly $20 per puzzle piece, which amounted to about $120 per set!), plus it took around 10 hours to print, which meant that we could not print it and process one batch a day because each job was longer than the Fabrication Lab operating hours. Oh. Dear.


Luckily for us, on the second last day, we found that the Z Corp printer was available, and we printed all our souvenirs on the Z Corp. The Z Corp printer was able to print extremely fast, and it did not fail (or stop halfway), and so we managed to have all 10 sets of the Z Corp printed puzzle by Friday!

a6 a7

Z Corp puzzle pieces are quite brittle though, so we had to do some minor post processing with a special industrial glue referred to as “super glue type D” (ask Fab Lab), which we applied liberally to the porous puzzle pieces. The glue was extremely poisonous and produced noxious fumes so we had to apply it in the fume cupboard in the chemistry lab.

Application of super glue

Application of super glue

After much trial and tribulation, it was finally completed!


They go really well with the mdf board!


You can contact me at if you’d like the part files! Fab Lab should have a few sets too if your hands are itchy.

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