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.

3D printed mask - MY FACE MASK

Custom 3D printed Mask

MY FACE MASK: 3D printed face Mask with a replaceable filter.

Custom 3D printed mask with replaceable filter, obtained from a 3D scan of the wearer, an open-source project released.

3d printed mask

WASP has developed a open-source process that, starting from the 3D scan of the face, allows to customize and produce a tailored mask for every user.

3d printed mask - side

The wearer can be scanned using photogrammetry with a standard smartphone camera from a distance of 1 meter. All the photos taken are then reprocessed to create a 3D mesh

Our goal was to make the 3d printed face mask perfectly ergonomic, following the facial features as a second skin, a result that we obtained using My Face Mask Blender add-on.


The materials

The material used in this video is PCL: Polycaprolactone as it can be placed in direct contact with the skin.

PCL is a biomaterial widely used in the medical field, its melting point is 100°C, it doesn't warp and there's no need for a heated chamber to print it. The printed mask can be also hand-modeled to ensure a perfect fit using hot water (around 60°).

Another material that can be used is F1 BIO FLEX TPE is a TPE 27 Shore D certified. It prints at 200 ° and the result is a more flexible object and sanitizable at the same time.

The 3D printing process

All masks are printed using Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL 4.0. This 3D printer allows you to easily use technical materials like the described above.

3d printed mask - open-source process

The idea is of a 3D printed mask that can be sanitized and used many times. The filter is located in a central front slot, where it can be replaced. 
Here an interesting research concerning filters from Cambridge University.

It only takes about an hour and a half to customize a perfect fit face mask in TPE, this reducing skin irritation and long-use related issues. Two hours with PCL filament needed.

The choice of the filter

The perfect and reusable connection between face and filter, this is what we have made available to the community with the My Face Mask project. The term "filtering" opens up a huge theme, which is closely linked to the use of the tool and to the degree of security required.

We have expanded the functions of the Blender add-on due to the popular request to support different standard filters based on your preference and the availability of materials.


My Face Mask Add-on has now been updated with a lot of new functionalities.

As requested the add-on supports now different kinds of filters from open-source projects. In this way anyone can choose what filter to use on its customized mask, depending on preferences and availability.

The filters available are five:

The cylindrical joint is designed for electrostatic medical filters, specifically designed for the filtration of viruses and bacteria. These are usually available just for hospitals and health facilities for it’s important that they have the priority for this kind of product.
The joint can be tapered for granting the best held possible on the filter.

Requires: Electrostatic medical filter

HEPAs are filtering systems with a very wide range of applications. They are based on the principle of folding for obtaining the maximum filtering surface.
One of the easiest to find is the replacement for Roomba i7, for which these joint has been designed.

Can HEPA filters capture nanoparticles?

Requires: Roomba i7 HEPA

WASP joint has been studied to be compatible with all kinds of filtering fabrics with the use of an internal frame.
The shape has been studied to have a wide area of breathing.
For the choice of the filtering fabric you can for example use the material from a N95 surgical mask or a traditional fabric, following the related studies.

Study on 30+ materials for DIY masks:

Requires: 3D printed frame DOWNLOAD, fabric

Montana joint borns from a popular US project for using a single N95 mask to produce 6 filters.

Montana masks project:

Requires: 3D printed frame DOWNLOAD, N95 mask

The circular adapter allows fixing fabrics without the necessity of a frame by using an elastic element.
For the choice of the filtering fabric you can for example use the material from a N95 surgical mask or a traditional fabric, following the related studies.

Study on 30+ materials for DIY masks:

Requires: fabric, elastic element

Open-source project

Here you can find how to learn photogrammetry, The dedicated Blender add-on tutorial, the .stl files, and printing profiles.

We decided to use photogrammetry to obtain a 3D scan of the wearer face since it’s the easiest method and can be performed using any smartphone camera. It can also be used a standard 3D scanner if available.


There are several 3D scanning methods.
Among the various 3D scanning possibilities currently available, photogrammetry is an immediate process and within everyone’s reach, achievable without having to purchase dedicated technologies.
It is a matter of taking a series of photographs even with your mobile phone, at a minimum distance of 1 meter from the subject, starting from one side of the face to the opposite side.
It is necessary to place reference points together with the subject to be able to re-calculate the right proportions during the export phase.

Follow our instruction in the download above

To get the 3D face file, you need to transform the images into mesh.
For this operation we recommend the use of this software: RealityCapture
At the end of the reconstruction, just export the scan in .obj extension.

Follow our instruction in the download above.

WASP has developed a process to create custom masks starting from 3D face scanning through modeling with Blender 2.82. Thanks to Alessandro Zomparelli, collaborator of WASP, a dedicated Blender Add-on was born: My Face Mask Blender add-on that facilitates and automates the customization phase with specific commands until the export of the template.stl file.

Download  Blender 2.82 here: https://www.blender.org/download/releases/

Download MY FACE MASK add-on Blender 2.82 and instructions here: https://www.3dwasp.com/en/my-face-mask-addon-blender/

We recommend 2 types of materials for printing the template:

PCL: Polycaprolactone is a bioplastic already in use in the medical sector which is extruded at 100 ° and can be further modeled at the end of printing in hot water (60/70 °). It can be printed with all models of WASP 3D printers with 1.75 mm filaments with WASP SPITFIRE Extruder and WASP ZEN Extruder extruders.

BIOFLEX: Bioflex is a medical certified TPE 27 Shore D (medical certification of type USP XXXII: 2009 Class VI and ISO 10993-4 / 5/10) for skin contact. It can be printed at 200 ° using 2.85 mm filaments, therefore usable with all WASP 3D printers equipped with WASP FLEX Extruder.

Cut the filter material to right dimensions and insert it into the mask.

By publishing this 3D application and how to replicate it, we want to make it clear that under no circumstances do we want to replace medical supplies. Our Team is available to develop tech projects at the service of the community.

Discover more about:

My Space Helmet

My Space Shield PET 0,5 mm WASP Protective Visor

mascherina 3d - MY FACE MASK

Simplify3D® compatible with all the WASP's 3D printers

Simplify3D® Software

Improve your print quality with the most powerful 3D printing software available. Simplify3D® provides complete control over your print settings, making it easier than ever to create high-quality 3D prints.
Start up quickly with pre-configured settings optimized for WASP 3D printers, review a simulation of your build sequence in the Preview Mode, and begin your 3D print with confidence. Total control means amazing 3D prints!

Simplify3D® Software is now available in our shop

  • The product is an electronic download that is emailed following your purchase.
  • The software is cross platform and can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux systems.
  • The software is viewable in English, German, Spanish, Japanese, French or Italian.
  • System Requirements: Intel Pentium 4 or higher processor, 2GB or more of RAM. Windows XP or greater, Mac OS X 10.6 or greater, Ubuntu Linux 12.10 or greater. OpenGL 2.0 capable system. An internet connection is required for the installation and continued use of the software.

Simplify3D® Software and Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0

Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0 and Simplify3D® is a perfect match! The Simplify3D license is included with the purchase of our Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0 3D printer.
Expand your printing options with Simplify3D®, the powerful 3D printing software that gives you total control for amazing 3D prints.

Trabeculae Pavilion 3d printed by Delta WASP

 Trabeculae Pavilion at Politecnico di Milano © Gabriele Seghizzi

A lightweight architecture completely 3D printed by a WASP printer farm

WASP announces the completion of Trabeculae Pavilion, a lightweight architecture completely 3D printed that fuses advancements in 3D printing with bio-inspired computational design.

The synergy of design, material and manufacturing technologies allowed the conceptualization of an innovative construction technique based on an additive process which builds architectural forms conceived with a load-responsive material organization.

Five WASP printers worked H24

The fabrication process of the building components was based on four Delta WASP 4070 and a Delta WASP 60100, a WASP 3d printers farm installed in the laboratories of Department ABC of Politecnico di Milano, where parallel production processes have been run for a continuous production of 4352 hours in total.

The use of WASP Spitfire extruder was introduced for the first time to shape stiff components within a minimized amount of time.

Delta WASP Farm at work during the production © Roberto Naboni

The prototype is the result of the doctoral research of Roberto Naboni who has designed and developed the pavilion at Politecnico di Milano, together with a team of specialists in experimental design and construction.

The project looks into 3D Printing for answers to the emerging problem of scarcity in material resources. The design is based on a computational process that finds inspiration in Nature, specifically in the materialization logics of the trabeculae, the internal cells that form the bone microstructure.

From this investigation, custom algorithms have been developed to support the creation of a cellular load-responsive structure with continuous variations in sizing, topology, orientation and section, in order to maximize material efficiency.

“The last decades have witnessed an exponential growth in the demandof raw materials due to the rapid urbanization and industrialization of emerging economies. This research looks at biological models andat the opportunities offered by the new additive production technologies in order to find sustainable solutions to the exploitation of materials. Our objective is to explore a new model of construction: advanced, efficient and sustainable” declare Roberto Naboni, Architect and currently Assistant Professor at University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

 Trabeculae Pavilion at Politecnico di Milano © Gabriele Seghizzi

The built pavilion is a load-responsive shell composed by 352 components covering a total area of 36 square meters, shaped additively by a 112 kilometers-long extrusion of a high-resistance biopolymer, specifically developed with industrial partner FILOALFA® to elevate Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) to construction purposes.

The innovative methods involved for the design allow for an efficient material distribution at multiple scales, which permits an extremely resistant and lightweight structure with a variable weight to area ratio of 6 to 10 kg/m2 - about ten times lighter than typical construction techniques with comparable mechanical performance.

Beyond its technical features, the pavilion is an outstanding expression of a tectonic system conceived with and for 3D Printing, which enables multiple high-res optimization logics with the precision of a tenth of a millimeter.


Address: Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano, Italy

Completion: July 2018

Area: 36 m²

Weight: 335 kg

Weight to Area Ratio: 9.3 kg/m²

Overall Dimensions: 7,5m x 6,0m x 3,6m

Extrusion length: 112 km

Combined Printing Hours: 4352


Trabeculae Pavilion è un progetto di ricerca promosso da ACTLAB:   Prof. Roberto Naboni (University of Southern Denmark - SDU), Prof. Ingrid Paoletti (Politecnico di Milano)

Team di Ricerca, Design e Sviluppo: Roberto Naboni (Investigatore Principale e Leader di Progetto), Anja Kunić (Design Computazionale), Luca Breseghello (Design Computazionale)

Dottorato sviluppato presso il dipartimento ABC del Politecnico di Milano: Tutor Ingrid Paoletti, Relatore Enrico De Angelis

Fabbricazione e Costruzione: Mithun Kumar Thiyagarajan, Gabriele Seghizzi

In collaborazione con: Francesco Martelli (Analisi Strutturale) and ITKE - University of Stuttgart: Valentin Koslowski, Jan Knippers (Analisi Strutturale e Test Materiali)

Collaboratori: Verley Henry Côco Jr., Rahul Sehgal, Elena Kriklenko, Maia Zheliazkova, Hamed Abbasi, Francesco Pasi, Sibilla Ferroni

Partner Industriali: WASP (Stampanti 3D), FILOALFA® (Materiali Polimerici)

Supportato con il contributo di: SAPERLAB - Laboratorio Unico Dipartimento ABC (Politecnico di Milano), MADE Expo, RESEARCH FUNDS Ingrid Paoletti


Industrial Quality 4.0, big size printing doubled speed, Spitfire extrusion System

WASP is introducing the industrial line of 3D printers at Technology Hub in Milan. Many are the latest products: 1000 x 1000 mm high resolution printer, Delta Turbo2 with double Kinematics power thanks to a new 32bit industrial board, compatible to industrial wi fi 4.0 connection, new machines compatible with warm room and with an internal ventilation system, air filtering, full metal setting extruder or high ease of movement, self stabilizing double-extruder.

The right extruder for any need: SPITFIRE SYSTEM


Spitfire takes its name from the famous Second World War airplane. It's an innovative system, that throught several configurations, allows to reply to the several printing needs.  It's a guarantee of high quality and sturdy printed pieces, it can be heated up to a 350°C temperature and according to the several needs it can be assembled in 3 different sizes: 0,4; 0,7; 1,2 mm. All the exchange or configuration operations are safe and quick thanks to the Spitfire System. It can print Pla, Petg, Flex, Abs, Pa, HiPs, Asa, Carbon, Plexiglass, Burdened materials, Polypropylene.

The new extruder in the variants Spitfire Black and Spitfire Red can be adjusted on the whole 3D-printers DeltaWASP line.

The Double extruder: ZEN EXTRUDER


Led by the new generation boards, the double extruder can be attributed to materials with different melting temperature or different drop diameters.

Speed and size

DeltaWASP 40 70 Industrial

Printing big size requires high speed printing in addition to reliable high power extrusion systems. WASP has faced these topics re-planning the machines and the printers electronics. At Technology Hub WASP is introducing the new DeltaWASP 40 70 Industrial with a configuration, which can double the speed of a traditional 40 70 and with mechanics suitable for warm room working.

DeltaWASP 20 40 Turbo2
DeltaWASP 20 40 Turbo2

The DeltaWASP 20 40 Turbo2 has improved led by the turbo2 double power motor.

This is just a preview of how WASP is “getting up its sleeve”.  For more detaild information please visit our stand from 20th to 22nd April (Fieramilanocity, Pad. MiCO/Stand G22).


New paths for Industrial 3D printer

WASP draws the Italian way for 4.0 industry at Mecspe

From 23rd to 25th March WASP latest products will be introduced at Mecspe 2017 in Parma. MECSPE is the manufacturing industry reference Exhibition giving a  panning shot on the materials, on the machines and innovative technologies. Wasp has chosen this opportunity to introduce 5 latest products.


The new Delta WASP 2040 TURBO2

This is a revised and improved version of the standard Delta WASP 2040 TURBO, a more and more accurated and reliable 3D printer. With a new  integrated 32bit board of industrial  technology. It is presented with a supply system which can support 2 high power extruders. The new Delta WASP 2040 TURBO2 introduces a new carriage-sliding system improved in speed and accuracy. The room has been better insulated to reach temperature suitable  with the printing of technical materials – furthermore it has a cool system for the engines and the boards  and a kinematics for high temperature. It's introduced with the second optional extruder.

New line 3D Industrial printers 


The standard model has been revised, its is fully realized in metal, with a heated room  at forced ventilation , insulated by the outside from temperature and noise. The new Delta WASP 4070 INDUSTRIAL It has been provided with new integrated system and new mechanics able to work in warm room. It allows the printing of technical materials printable only in warm room.



It's the industrial interpretation of the Delta WASP 3MT, with an acoustic and thermal insulated room. Its metallic body is completely closed in order to avoid any vibration during the printing process. The new Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL reaches high quality outward printings equivalent to those of little size printers but with a printing area  risen to the cube. A pellet extruder can be adjusted on this machine to print big size products with nozzles of even 3 mm diam. On the other hand you can use also filaments with  extruders of 0,4; 0,7; 1,2mm diameter.


New Extruders

For the filament printing WASP introduces two new extruders at Mecspe.

Spitfire, able to lay up to 30m wire per hour. A very accurated extruder to print from little to big products very quickly.


Zen Extruder, a double extruder essential for the multi materials printing, equipped with a cleaning system and a nozzle-variable-hight-system, controlled directly by the machine movement.

WASP is waiting for you at Pad.6 Stand K032, in Parma Fair, from 9:00 to 17:30 and on Saturday from 9,00 to 17:00.