Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

3D Printing and Scanning Project

Subtitle: Sometimes you try really hard and then realize the simplest idea is the easiest.


Finished product!


Its a little piece of plastic essentially meant to act as a little splint for my injured headphones. Dimensions/curve matched to fit my headphones specifically, with little grooves in the back so I can secure it with rubber bands. 

Here it is in action (in retrospect, probably should have chosen a color other than black, because it doesnt show up super well in photos. 



This is the one done in class:

The other two options I ended up not choosing were the cutlery set, and the remixed cultural piece.

The cultural piece I admittedly spent the least amount of time on. I was going to do something with Malaysian/Singaporean/Chinese roots, so I gathered some icons from each- Merlion, traditional Chinese lion, headset from the lion dance, I was hoping to find a 3D scan of the Batu Caves in Malaysia, but no can do. i spent some time trying to mash stuff together but i.. it just didn’t turn out very well. I have a few screenshots here and there, but I wasnt very happy with how most of it went, so it looks pretty untouched.

The cutlery set was a real option. I started out with “cutlery that is intentionally inconvenient but still usable”, and then just ended up with “all the cutlery in one piece of cutlery”. Granted, its still a little inconvenient to use, I think, but it is very compact. Good for camping and the like. The handle is the knife (with a sheath, of course), and you would probably be able to slide the prongs of the fork back in.

AND THEN. My headphones broke, and I dropped both of these ideas to work on “something you need”, instead. 

This is a physical photo of my headphones after the incident, featuring my excellent rubber band engineering abilities. 

I don’t actually have a picture of it dangling freelly, but in a very rough sense, the ear-parts of my headphones can swivel, and the plastic swivel part snapped, leaving only the cable holding the ear piece attached.

My astounding mspaint abilities at work, explaining to someone what had happened. Blue being the plastic part that had snapped, and the black being the cable.

The original plan was something like this 

I’m not an art major, but clearly, I should be.

Something like a cast, wrapping around. 

So, game on. Originally, I was going to try to get a 3D scan of the headphones, and then build around that. Seemed easy enough. [ It was not. I don’t have photos for most of this, but I swear it happened]

I first tried downloading a scanner app on my phone (Scann3D, from the assignment doc).  It did not go well. I didn’t have a good setup for scanning, and either way the headphones didn’t seem to register well, and it kept picking up on literally anything other than the headphones. At one point it even pretty accurately recreated my keyboard, in the background of the photo, rather than the headphones.

I then went up a level, and tried using the fancy scanner in the Fab Lab, getting help from Colton. He was extremely helpful and great about it all, but ultimately even that gave us only partial bits and pieces, and I would have had to sit there and manually piece everything together. He then suggested making a 3D mold with clay, on the headphones, and simply scanning that, then cleaning it up. Which was a fantastic idea! So, I ordered some clay off of amazon, and waited.

Upon starting working with the clay, I realized that the piece would probably be too small to scan well, and I might be better off getting dimensions instead.

(…. It is worth noting that I… just, kind of forgot, I could probably have looked up the dimensions online. Just know that I completely forgot that until after I had finished the first prototype.)

I tried to get the right dimensions and etc off of the headphones. Here is a photo of me getting dimensions using the clay.


But not with a ruler, because apparently I don’t own a ruler, so I was trying to use my multitool for scale. I also decided against a cast setup, at this point, and instead started going for more of a splint. No wraparound, just a piece at the bottom that would essentially hold the earpiece up, and a top part curved against the band of the headphones. I was still debating on how I would keep it secured at the time of the first prototype.

Anyway, by now it was approximately Monday and I knew I had to start printing, so I gave up on the clay dimensions, went to MakerLab, and just sat there with a ruler.

And it worked! So first, I recreated the headband of the headphones using a ring, and matching it to the diameter of the headphones. I couldn’t get the thickness of the ring right (so definitely no cast, or anything else that wrapped around), but the height and curve seemed right.. I spent a while fiddling, and then printed my first prototype.

It worked okay! I was very excited, but there were two issues: The bottom hook-ish part, as pretty thin, and was also what was holding up a majority of the weight. In addition, it didn’t really have a way to stay adhered to the headphones, although I realized combining this piece and my current rubber band setup made it REALLY secure. 


This in mind, I made my second iteration: thicker (all over), and little hook things on the back so I could use more rubber bands to horizontally lash it in place.

This iteration (which I picked up the next day because I hadn’t had time to stay and wait) actually was… worse. Thickening it had messed up the curve, so it could no longer sit flush against the headphones, and the hooks had turned out funky.

This is the only pic where the hole is visible- thats meant to be there if I want to loop something through to tie it down, but the hooks mean to take the place of that. I just kept it there jic.

So, I made a third- and last iteration. I went back to my old design (I’d saved it in a separate file before making changes, thankfully), just thickened the bottom layer, and then, instead of hooks, made grooves.


Here it is in action on my headphones. + the rubber banding in the grooves.

And all of it together: 

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