Introduction: 3D-printed Pull/Pull Door Koozie - AutoDesk Pier 9 AiRs 2016

About: formerly an Artist-in-Residence at Autodesk, Pier 9.

Also known as a push/pull sign, for indicating whether to push or pull a door. To give it some room for creative play in the future, the sign is made of letters that can be removed, rearranged, and replaced. Like keys on a keychain, they slot into the ring and can spin freely.

Design Team

Project made possible by AutoDesk Pier 9 - AiRs 2016 Cohort

Step 1: Premise - Pesky Doors

Background Context

Here at Pier 9, there are a few doors that are not as obvious as they should be, and these are some of the most used doors in the whole office, the front door, and the shop door. Why are they so confusing? We're not sure, but our receptionist says, "People also try to open the door without turning the handle, and then they get angry". We think it might be from the fact that it's an exterior door, but it opens up into the pier, making it seem like an indoor door.

Either way, the most non-invasive way to alleviate this problem is to build a small, but noticeable sign. Hung on the door handle, we hope it'll prevent further obscenities muttered upon leaving Pier 9 or entering our shop.

Design Team

Project made possible by AutoDesk Pier 9 - AiRs 2016 Cohort

Step 2: Attempt #1 - Laser Cutting and 3D Print With Fortus 450

Our first attempt at making this was to 3D print a lower resolution ring on the Fortus 450, and then lasercut some letters out of acrylic, through the efforts of Jimmy and Shantell. Little T-slot tabs were super-glued to the bottom of the letters, but the rectangular-ness of the laser cut pieces did not fit well with the round T-slot. Better tolerances could've been had.

At the very least, we found out we measured the door handle correctly.

Step 3: Attempt #2 - 3D Print the Letters in the Fortus

Superglue wasn't really the best anyways, so we printed the letters with tabs directly. It didn't quite fit (again). The print quality is good, but we didn't account for some of the more rough tolerances. At least we can better show you what it'll look like.

Step 4: Iteration #2 - Generating 3D Printable Files From Adobe Illustrator / Rhino3D / AutoDesk Fusion 360

Once we were happy with the resilts, we decided to experiment with dual material printing. We designed a new design iteration, continuing playing with the idea of rotating elements.

The design and workflow of the fonts (words) and the ball bearing design were generated through Adobe Illustrator and Rhinoceros 3D.The modelled "spikey" version of the words protruding from the ring was designed with the Illustrator > Type along a path Tool. Then, brought into the Rhino as a DWG file, where BooleenDifferences and BooleenUnion were used to join the various pieces, to create the black (rubber) and white (plastic) layering effect.

To make the work-flow more seamless, we made sure that the fonts and the design also worked through to production detailing, by understanding the output opportunities and limits of the Fortus and Objet 3D printers at the AutoDesk Pier 9. Files were then saved from 3dm to STL for the output of the 3D printable files.

Step 5: Iteration #3 - 3D Print in Higher Resolution on the Objet Connex Printer

For the final iteration we created more designs, replacing push and pull fonts with cool graphics. Not as functional anymore, but looks amazing :P

We then printed a version on the Objet Connex, a v printer that will allow us to do dual material printing. So we did. Experimenting with the look a bit, and making the letters have ball-bearings instead of T-slots, it still didn't quite move as we wanted.

Step 6: Download the STL File and Make Your Own

Use this step to download the STL file and make your own.

Download Link -

If you make any interesting door handle iterations, be sure to notify the team.

Design Team

Project made possible by AutoDesk Pier 9 - AiRs 2016 Cohort