3d printing model making

3D printing for model making: from the idea to the masterpiece

The scenario of 3D printing for model making

modellismo stampa 3d

Before 3D printing or in any case before the boom of 3D printers, the models were made either by milling or even using an older technique like building a wooden skeleton (ribs which were nothing more than the master sections) on which the planking was applied, a thin wood covering that followed the shape of the skeleton longitudinally,  in short a long and painstaking work.

3D printers have existed (on an industrial level) since the end of the 90’s, but they had prohibitive costs for the most, although some pioneers were already there and some (very expensive) models were made. Only in the last decade the 3D printers market development  has favored the interweaving between the two worlds: 3D printing for modeling.

What problems does 3D printing solve?

Sea Falcon model by MATERIA

There are many difficulties in making and maintaining  the accuracy and the precision of some very complex models.

We can begin to mention the "human" commitment in terms of working hours, necessary to create the main structures and all the components of the models, a factor that is sometimes prohibitive. Furthermore, the shapes could not be accurate because they were too complex to be made by hand. Another limit was the weight. The models had a considerable weight whether they were made with milling or with the planking technique.

Another recurring problem was breakages due to heat: the models are exposed under the sun in plexiglass cases during the faire, which, for the most part, are in the hot months (September), therefore unfavorable conditions are created for those materials that do not have suitable characteristics for the environment.

The advantages of using a 3D printer for model making

3D printing solves some of the limitations of manual manufacturing and it opens the door to new possibilities that were not previously considered.

The time necessary for the realization is shorter but these advantages are not among the main ones. The post production takes time on FDM printed parts, even if they are printed at very narrow layers.

The main advantages are in the freedom of form: the domotic models have many wiring to be made and thanks to the WASP technology they can be designed in advance and they pass directly into the molded piece, with channels and slots made before, an unthinkable possibility for traditional manufacturing. Furthermore, thanks to the materials used in 3D printing and thanks to the potentiality to adjust the "infill" of the pieces, it is really possible to think freely.

Another important plus is being able to predict the division of the various pieces into the CAD. The good  division  choice allows a much more precise lacquering.

"We used to divide objects according to their color, i.e. on a black and white piece we do not want to see the slightly smudged masking, on the contrary a nice clean line which gives a vision of clean unity", says Riccardo Suriano, CEO of MATERIA.

To solve the problem of breakages, not only do we use technical materials that can withdraw high temperatures,  but the pieces are completely removable too. The least possible quantity of glue is used, preferring the joints, a system that 3d printing allows you to do without manufacturing problems.

Using a 3D printer for model making allows you to create modular models so that  you can only work on the piece that needs maintenance and / or repair both in case of  hull break or in case of bollard break; before however, everything was firmly glued and a break in the hull compromised the entire model.


"When we started we wanted an Italian and young-minded company to support us and we chose WASP. We studied the Delta WASP 3D printers and understanding the concept we found that they were all what we needed: speed, precision and a large volume in z rather than in x, y." says Riccardo Suriano.

“We exploit the advantages of delta mechanics, placing 99% of our pieces in z for a very satisfying finish. We use the Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL for the larger parts while the Delta WASP 2040 TURBO2 realization of all the smallest parts printed without any problems with an excellent surface given by the double WASP ZEN Extruder ”.


“An important concept for us is the 3D modeling realized through additive manufacturing as a final result. Normally, when designing for manufacturing, there are a lot of constraints to take into consideration: draft angles, cutter rays, etc., due to this we have radically changed our concept of design”.

"We try to make the most of the characteristics of 3D printing by making shapes for the joints but also the gears for completely unconventional movements, we try to exploit the elasticity created by the infill, we create reticular structures as supports for bridges and we are convinced that there is still a lot to be found in terms of design 4.0 ”, comments Riccardo Suriano passionately. 

MATERIA is a young company whose aims are to create scale models of the highest quality, reflecting reality as much as possible and offering constant service to customers not only during project development but also after sales.

Add-on Blender 2.8 course: digital manufacturing for the medical sector

Add-on Blender 2.8 course: digital manufacturing for the medical sector

WASP organizes a 3D modeling course for Blender 2.8 dedicated to the medical world, in particular to the specific medical add-on developed by WASP Med. The course is designed for orthopedic professionals and 3D modellers who want to learn how to use this digital fabrication tool during their daily work.

Add-on Blender 2.8 course – digital manufacturing for the medical sector

Our course will take place in September on following dates 13th, 14th, 27th and 28th. We’ve organized 4 days dedicated to the basic and advanced knowledge the proper one you need to have to use our WASP Med Add-on Blender 2.8. This Add-on is the important result of a year work of WASP Med team in the digital orthopedics sector development. The course will be organized for a maximum of 12 participants and a minimum of 5 to ensure a good teaching result and a one-to-one verticality.

Every day will be divided into 2 parts:

  • 4 hours in the morning with theoretical lesson with Prof. Zomparelli
  • 4 hours in the afternoon with practice together with the two WASP tutors.

It will be translated in English.



PROGRAM Blender Course 2.8

h 09.00 – meeting
h 09.15 – lesson
h 11.00 – coffee break
h 11.15 – lesson
h 13.00 – lunch
h 14.00 – practices
h 18.00 – end lessons


Organic vs mechanical modeling
Modeling of low-poly parts
Bridging, extrusions, erasing and moving faces


Mesh import and scans
Modify and manage an imported mesh
Use of modifiers for anatomical adaptation


Add-on step-by-step use with details
Study of the functions inside Add-on in Blender 2.8
Modify the mesh that comes out from the Add-on with additional functions


Specific cases based on participants’ feedbacks
Workflows’ creation

Blender Course 2.8: useful info

On September 13th, 14th and 27th the course will take place in Bologna, in a location easily accessible from the train station. On September 28th, it will take place at WASP in Massa Lombarda where some practical aspects of 3D printing will be tested. The course includes 32 lesson hours + 15 assignment hours at home, for a total of 47 hours.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEZ6PulqPnQ


Alessandro Zomparelli

Since 2011 he has been member of Co-de-iT, his background in Engineering and Architectural fields drove him to explore the opportunities of computational design in combination with 3D printing technologies at different scales, from architecture to human body. He is busy with both speculative and commercial projects, from masks to prostheses, fashion accessories to medical products.

Since 2015 he has been  author and developer of Tissue, an open-source add-on for Blender with the aim to introduce specific Computational Design workflow, like surface tessellations, without the need of nodes or programming skills. 

He is currently Contract Professor at Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna and at Istituto Marangoni (Milan), where he teaches digital design techniques for product design. He is also tutor in several international workshops about computational design strategies in Architecture and Product Design.



The course costs only Euro 1.200 + VAT (22%)

If you are interested to join the course please register by filling-in the below form (send your application as soon as possible because it closes on reaching the 12 participants).

You will receive a Proforma form with correct due amount and bank details for the bank wire transfer then.
Bank details: IBAN: IT21O0854267570023000095117
Transfer reason: Add-on Blender 2.8 course: digital manufacturing for the medical sector. The registration will be confirmed you by email upon receipt of payment.


WHAT: Add-on Blender 2.8 course: digital manufacturing for the medical sector

WHEN: on 13th – 14th – 27th – 28th September 2019, from 9 a.m to 6 p.m

WHERE: Bologna & Massa Lombarda, (WASP).

TARGET: orthopedic technicians, medical professionals, students

BRING WITH YOU: your laptop.

For this edition registrations are closed.

Ask informations for the next editions filling the form.  

    * I hereby authorize utilization of my personal data for the purposes of processing my request. Such personal data shall be processed in compliance with the information contained in the privacy policy

    WASP MED Add-on Blender 2.8

    WASP MED developed an Add-on for Blender 2.8

    The open-source 3D software for P&O now exists

    WASP MED Add-on Blender 2.8

    In this contemporary scenario of a global population growing more and more health care is going to be one of the main challenges of our future: according to 2018 GDR research, the global prosthetics and orthotics market size is expected to reach USD 12.28 billion by 2025.

    WASP for the Healthcare

    Since the beginning WASP considers health one of its main themes of research, as one of the man’s basic needs. For this reason in 2015 WASP MED team was born, working specifically on the needs of this huge field. The development of the 3D printers and materials for medical use it’s not enough if doctors and professionals don’t have tools to apply their knowledge. To face this need WASP MED developed an Add-on for Blender, the popular open-source 3D software: WASP MED Add-on Blender 2.8.

    The idea is to fill that gap between professional software, often very expensive and rigid, and open-source software, which are powerful but not specifically designed for medical use. The development has been carried out by Prof. Alessandro Zomparelli, teacher at Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna and Blender developer since years. His previous works on shaping objects based on the human body has been the key to get a powerful tool for designing easily complex shapes on 3D scans.

    Why Blender?

    Blender is a perfect manifesto of an open-source platform that escalated to be one of the best products for 3D modeling in the world of animation and not only. Each year in Amsterdam is organized a Blender Conference. Here the most innovative applications of the software are presented and shared: from physical simulations to medical tools, covering a wide range of professional and non-professional uses. Blender 2.8 is an open-source software: it is downloadable for free and its development is shared with hundreds of users around the globe.


    What’s WASP MED Add-on Blender 2.8?

    It’s a free Add-on that runs on Blender 2.8 and contains step-by-step commands to model a shape on a 3D scan. The final shape is suitable for being 3D printed, compatible with the 3D printer.

    The Add-on feature tools for:

    • fixing the scan
    • making corrections and modifications
    • cropping undesired parts
    • drawing the shape of the orthoses
    • managing thicknesses and borders
    • exporting the mesh for 3D printing

    The Add-on also gives freedom of intervention with all native Blender tools to solve more complex necessities.

    The future of the Add-on

    WASP imagines this as a first step to create a collaborative community around the world using open tools to give solution to main health themes. This could give access to a huge amount of the world’s population to medical devices that now cannot afford or don’t even exist in their country.

    The 3D printer for Orthopedy

    In the medical sector, innovation is the key to advance the health care. WASP MED for years has worked not only to the development of this new open source 3D modeling software, but also to design and build customizable 3D printers for the orthopedic sector. The DELTA WASP 4070 Industrial 4.0 printer is the most performing printer model, adaptable to the professionals individual’s needs for the development of medical devices.


    HOT & COLD Technology - cc

    Hot & Cold Technology is the new system of active controlling the printing thermal conditions.

    Thanks to an efficient way of heating by two internal heat sources, it is possible to ensure work temperatures up to 80 °C, without burdening the mechanical parts of the machine.

    The innovative air cooling system allows keeping the temperatures below the critical threshold of cladding materials.


    The opening scenarios are extremely interesting on the light of raising request of technical materials and application ever different. WASP takes this challenge, supporting the user in the choice of extrusion systems and offering specific solutions to meet the needs of different customers.

    Creative Commons License

    We stress on declaring that  Hot & Cold Technology, protected by Creative Commons, is now relieved.

    We declare this as being a technological innovation, a useful project; Wasp states the know-how sharing. We trust on unwritten but world-wide shared Makers rules . The approach which better corresponds to our vision is  Creative Commons, because it foresees the publication of assimilated knowledge reducing like that the exploitation from a commercial point of view.

    Licenza Creative Commons

    Hot & Cold Technology   is distribuited with License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

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