Introduction: 3D Printed Vases- 3 Ways to Make Fun Vases in Fusion 360

About: I teach STEM electives (engineering, robotics, and computer aided design) to 6th through 8th graders at North Middle School in Everett, WA.

These vases are a fun and functional way to introduce some of the tools and features of Fusion 360. They create a variety of interesting shapes, and small changes can make big differences in the outcomes.

Each vase models up pretty quickly, even by beginner users of fusion 360, and can be a fun intro to the program.

I use all three of these vase tutorials with my 8th grade computer-aided-design students, as a way of introducing some different tools (revolve, loft, shell, offset plane, surface modeling) after they have already become comfortable with sketch and extrude. The fourth section, with the patterning and textures is a little something extra for my kids that get ahead and want to try even more new tools.

The vases print up pretty nicely, and most seem to do a pretty good job of holding water, though they could probably benefit from being sealed, as some do leak slightly over time - the nature of there being small gaps in the printing/ porous material.

**Note- right now we are not printing/ do not have access to our printers for the remainder of this school year, we are on digital/at-home distance learning and our school printers are in service printing PPE for covid-19 first responders, so all of the student design examples pictured here are screenshots from Fusion 360.**


  • Autodesk Fusion 360
  • If printing, PLA or filament of choice
  • If printing, a 3D printer (we have Ultimater 5S at our school)
  • If wanting to be watertight, may want a sealant for the outside.

Step 1: VASE 1: Revolve a Vase

1. CREATE SKETCH on the vertical plane

2. From the origin, draw a vertical line equal to the desired height of your vase, this will be the centerline of your vase

3. From the centerline, draw two horizontal lines.One top line and one bottom line. These can be any length, and different lengths will make different effects in your final vase.

4. Use the SPLINE tool to connect the ends of the two horizontal lines with one long curving line. Again, the shape of this line will affect the final shape of your vase.

5. FINISH Sketch

6. Use the CREATE-->REVOLVE tool. Click your vase shape as the Profile, the centerline as the axis.

7. Use the MODIFY-->SHELL tool on the top surface to hollow out your vase.

Step 2: VASE 2: Crazy Vase Using the LOFT Tool

This vase is great fun because it can create so many different styles with a very simple procedure.

1. Sketch a shape on the base plane. I usually start with a polygon of some sort (square, hexagon, etc)

2. Use the OFFSET PLANE tool to create a new plane 30-60 cm above the origin plane.

3. REPEAT step 1 on the new plane. Use a different shape, or the same shape, but make sure that it does NOT line up with your first shape. You can use any shape you want, even draw random squiggles with the spline tool.

4. REPEAT step 2, offset the plane again, this time starting at your offset plane.

5. REPEAT SOME MORE. Keep building layers ( new offset plane, sketch a shape on it) until you are happy with the number of layers and height of your vase.

5. Now the magic! Open the CREATE-->LOFT tool. Click each shape in order from the bottom to the top (order matters). Loft will join together your shapes with smooth transitions and make an amazing curvy vase. You can move some of the lines around a bit and play in the loft tool and see how it changes your shape. Once happy, click OK.

6. Use the SHELL tool on the top surface of the vase. Shell at least 2 mm. Thicker if you would like your vase to hold water well.

Step 3: VASE 3: Dodecahedron Vase Using "Surface" Mode

This vase is fun because it uses a mode that we have not explored before.

1.Along the top menu bar, select "SURFACE" instead of solid.

2. Create Sketch, and sketch a polygon with 5 sides. Dimension one side.

3. Use the MOVE/COPY tool. Make sure that you have set it to COPY. Select your bottom body. Select one side of the pentagon as your axis. Rotate it up 116.6 degrees. This should create one side. REPEAT for the other sides.

4. Use the MOVE/COPY tool again. Make sure it is set to copy. SELECT ALL of your bodies. Rotate the new around so that they are an upside down directly beneath the old bodies (180 degrees)

5. Use the MOVE tool one more time. DO NOT set to copy. Use the Point to Point tool to move the six new bodies to rest directly on top on the six original bodies.

6. Find the SURFACE STITCH tool. Select all of your bodies and use this tool to stitch them. They will now become one solid body.

7. Use SHELL to make the opening and inside of your vase (choose whichever side you think makes the best "top")

8. If you want, you can "Move/copy" to make more little vase pieces to stack together.

Step 4: More Vase Fun: Adding Textures and Patterns

This section is about adding patterns and textures to the vases that we made in the other areas.

1. Use the PLANE ALONG PATH tool to create a plane along one "line" of your vase. Set the plane so that it is at the point vertically where you want your design to begin (so if you want the design to go full height, the plane should be at the top of bottom of the vase).

2. Use SKETCH to draw a shape on your plane OR use one of the CREATE tools to make something (in the green vase example, I placed a sphere on the plane)

3. Options: (1) SWEEP: If you sketched on the plane- use SWEEP to send that shape all along the line- either as a solid or as a cut. (2) PATTERN ALONG PATH: If you made an object (like my sphere) you can use Create-->Pattern along path and make many copies of your shape along the line. Try things out, play around, see what you like.

4. CIRCULAR PATTERN- this is how you get your one line to become a pattern all the way around your vase. Use the circular pattern tool to repeat your sweep, line of shapes, etc. as many times as you want around your vase.

5. Keep playing with things until you like it. Finding ways to make different textures is fun!

3D Printed Contest

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