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Makerspace: 3D Printing


3D Printing

What is 3D Printing?


Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is the technique of creating three-dimensional
solid items from a computer file. Additive manufacturing technologies are used to create 3D printed
objects. An object is built in an additive technique by laying down successive layers of material until
the object is complete. Each of these layers can be viewed as a cross-section of the item that has been
lightly cut


3D Modelling

Uses of 3D Printing:

3D printing produces physical components using the digital images made through the process of 3D modelling. The products are printed in various materials, mainly PLA, PETG, ABS. The Makerspace primarily prints in PLA. Due to cost difference between 3D printing and other methods of
manufacturing, it is widely used as a method of prototyping. This means creating a physical demonstration to showcase an idea and that it is feasible before mass producing or producing in final material, which can include metal.

What is 3D Modelling?

Three-dimensional (3D) models depict a physical body as a collection of points in three-dimensional space connected by geometric structures such as triangles, lines, curved surfaces, and so on. 3D models can be built manually in a CAD Software or using algorithms (procedural modelling), or by scanning since they are a collection of data (points and other information). Texture mapping can be used to further characterize their surfaces.

3D Modelling Software available to use:

Licensed softwares:

Solidworks -
AutoDesk : Inventor -

Free use software:

AutoDesk: TinkerCAD -
FreeCAD -
3D Builder – Inbuilt into Windows 10 (or install from the Microsoft store)
Blender -

Sometimes we are seeking to model something that someone might have already modelled, or we
may just not be CAD proficient to create the models ourselves. Luckily, we have 100s of thousands of
models made available to us on the net.

3D model providers include:

Free models - or
Models for sale -

Services Offered by the MakerSpace:

Now that we have a basic understanding of 3D printing, let us further elaborate on the services that the MakerSpace offers for its clients. 

We offer a 3D Printing service to all students and staff members of the University of Pretoria. It is also to offer expert advice in the design and printing of your request. This serves as a major support role to research departments across various faculties.


In terms of costing, the MakerSpace prints at R2.50 per gram of plastic used. The total amount is determined by our technicians once they have processed the given 3D model.


The Makerspace also offers the use of a 3D scanner, which seeks to make up for figures too difficult to remodel or are of a natural nature and need to preserved with their original textures and details. Please refer to our 3D Scanning section if you feel that this is the route you would like to take.




  • 3D Printing

    3D printing is a technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that facilitates the rapid prototyping in various applications. This is done by creating an object in the physical world using a digital model. We offer our clients various forms and materials for additive manufacturing or FDM.

    Request service

  • 3D Modelling

    3D Modelling is the digital creation of a three-dimensional object using Computer Aided Design (CAD). There are many CAD programs available depending the models complexity. A 3D model is needed if you would like to 3D print an object.

    Request service

  • 3D Scanning

    3D Scanning is a technique which scans a physical 3D object and creates a digital file. Based on the scanning method used, several details and number of cloud points are measured with varying accuracy, affecting the 3D model created from the scanning process.

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  • Internet of Things

    The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a multibillion device and application field. In the Makerspace we guide users in adopting facets of IoT through various kits such as Arduino, Biomaker, M5, microbit and Raspberry Pi.

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  • Consultation and training

    Fundamental to our services is the expertise we offer to help you innovate across disciplines. Should you require guidance or training on using 3D printing, 3D modelling, 3D scanning, IoT, robotics, software development or design methodologies, then let us get in contact.

    Request service

  • Usage of hardware

    3Some prototyping and making requires other tools. For this reason, we offer soldering irons, drills, glue guns and various other hardware to make something new or fix something broken.

    Request service

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