Introduction: Future Stair Repair: 3D Scanning/ 3D Printing.

Picture of Future Stair Repair: 3D Scanning/ 3D Printing.

It can be quite frustrating when you finish remodeling a kitchen counter or building a stair case and only a couple weeks later a giant chip appears. This very thing happened at our Pier 9 workshop, when a very noticeable chip appeared on our staircase.

Traditionally, people might fill in the chipped spot with epoxy or carpenters glue. But where's the fun in that?

We busted out our Artec Eva 3D Scanner and printed a replacement piece. Here's how our OCD Stair repair went down.


1. 3D Scanner:
We used the Artic Eva 3D Scanner. The instructable on how to use them can be found here

You can also use 123D Catch ( and your Smartphone camera to scan an object.

2. 3D Design software:
Using Artec Studios we were able to Scan the chip and clean up the model.
We then exported it as an STL.
Next, we uploaded the model into Meshmixer to create the reverse section.

3. 3D Printer
We printed our piece on the Objet Connex500 in Vero White and carefully cleaned it in the water powerblaster.

4. Instillation
Clean out the chipped area.
Applied Super Glue.
Waited to dry.
Sanded the are around the printed part and wooden stair.


gabrieltaft (author)2014-03-08

I will be posting a much more in-depth instructable going into using the Eva Scanner in the future. And a demo on how to get reverse geometry from a 3D sketch using meshmixer in the future.

yueshi (author)2015-07-30

dude I walk up the stairs everyday. i thought that was some kind of plastic wood filler. turns out it is not that ordinary. amazing.

elizabeth.eads1 (author)2015-02-27

This is amazing and so useful! Having a 3D Printer around the house is so handy.

swawrzyniak (author)2014-03-08

You opened the STL in Inventor? How?

gdfj12 (author)swawrzyniak2014-03-08

You just open the file, in the 'open' dialog, change the file type using the drop down button to the right side of the 'file type' field.

swawrzyniak (author)gdfj122014-03-08

Thanks. Modifying the part is a little tricky - difficult to even sketch and extrude on surfaces.

gabrieltaft (author)swawrzyniak2014-10-07

Here's a cool instructable you might find useful on meshes in inventor...

gabrieltaft (author)swawrzyniak2014-03-08

Try downloading meshmixer. It's a free mesh editor that can edit Stls. It is super easy to bring in a stl and get the reverse geometry.

Jan_Henrik (author)2014-05-20

very cool!

gravityisweak (author)2014-03-13

Wow! Imagine the potential for fixing complex cracks or damaged pieces of ancient artifacts etc. simply by printing out the crack's negative and placing it inside! Brilliant!

Yeah! I'm more interested in the scanning of ancient artifacts to preserve their memory and sharing their existence with a larger audience. I think it would be cool for a modern Indiana Jones to hit ancient sites with a bunch of 3d Scanners.

bennelson (author)2014-03-11

I did a 2D version similar to this once. We accidentally knocked something against a hollow-core wood door and left a big ugly gash in it. I took a photo of somewhere else on the door and then printed it out at 100% in color on plain paper, and then taped it over the hole. It was really remarkable how well it worked. At even a little bit of a distance, you didn't notice the paper at all. It really blended in well and covered the hole.

gabrieltaft (author)bennelson2014-03-11

Haha, nice! Wish I thought of that in college.

elchavodelocio (author)2014-03-11

This is not a instructable, is another way to say "Hey, look I have a 3D printer and I don't know what to do with it".

True! I am writing the in depth Instructable for Artec Studio and the scanner. Coming soon.

Hey, that's the joy of having a 3D printer ;) You keep finding new ways to use it.

fusion (author)2014-03-11

This is going to sound snarky but it's not meant to be.
Did you really user a $18,000.00 scanner to fix a step?

gabrieltaft (author)fusion2014-03-11

Yeah, but we use it for lots more than just steps ;)

MetalbenderMi (author)2014-03-11

Cool idea, How do you stain it? or you just painting it?

or you could print it with brown plastic instead ;)

gabrieltaft (author)kewpiedoll992014-03-11

We just wanted to leave it white, gives you something to talk about when taking people on tours towards the printshop.

diekatzchen (author)kewpiedoll992014-03-11

Or Laywood. Someone even made a script that simulates grain.

gabrieltaft (author)diekatzchen2014-03-11

Thanks for the link! Sweet script.

Ya I never thought of that that's a great idea :)

onemoroni1 (author)2014-03-11

If you got it, use the hell out of it. In any trade you have "G" jobs (old school for personal jobs). I used to use very expensive equipment to do cool jobs.

dgateley (author)2014-03-11

This application of 3D scanning/printing should win some kind of award for useful novelty. Oh, wait, isn't that what patents are for. Quick, gab, apply before someone else does.

clockworkfish (author)2014-03-08

That is such a great use of technology! Makes me want to run out, and get a 3d printer/scanner and damage some things just to put in 3d printed filler.

spikec (author)2014-03-08

Absolutely brilliant. This I'ble changes the dynamics of 3D printers from wanting one because they're cool, to needing one because they are incredibly useful. Thanks!

Misac-kun (author)2014-03-08

Now you can do it with broken bones!

About This Instructable




Bio: Gabrielle Patin reporting for duty.
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