Generatively Designed Textures for Flexible Surface Printing (TfCD TUDelft)




Introduction: Generatively Designed Textures for Flexible Surface Printing (TfCD TUDelft)

[This Instructable is part of the TfCD course of the TUDelft.]

Start with finding yourself a product you wish to create a textured surface for. In this case we are using a simple cone shaped stone mug, as can be seen in the pictures. Although it would be possible to used a double curved surface; single curved surfaces such as the mug are ideal for the application of the wrap-around textured surfaces. Once you have found yourself a product, proceed to step 1.

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Step 1: Tape It

Get out some (if possible double sided) tape and stick it on your object.

Step 2: Wrap It in Paper

Take a sheet of international A4 paper (you can cut it in half if you want to reduce the size) and wrap it around the place where you want your surface to end up. Use the tape to stick it to your product.

Step 3: Trace It

Trace with a black pen the shape on the paper.

Step 4: Photograph

Unwrap the paper and lay it flat out on a table, add additional lines if necessary and take a photo.

Step 5: Cut It Out

Cut out the shape you created to make sure it fits your object.

Step 6: Load the Picture in Your Editting Software of Choice

In this case we loaded it in Adobe Illustrator. Use an A4 canvas and scale the photo to fit the canvas.

Step 7: Trace the Shape

Use the 'Path' tool to create the outlines of the shape, make sure it is a single path. Delete the photo, leaving you with the single path outline.

Step 8: Rotate the Path

Rotate the path to fit your printer bed orientation.

Step 9: Add Anchor Points

Add anchor points, repeat several times to make sure you have plenty of points dividing the shape into small sections.

Step 10: Save It As a Vector File

Save the file as a vector file (.SVG), make sure to have the same settings as shown in the picture.

Step 11: Download the Code and Change It Up

Download the Processing IDE if you do not have it already on

Download the following Processing pieces of software at


Now add the file in the second link in the folder from the first link.

If you want to, you can now, or later, make some changes in the software.

Step 12: Run Program and Import

Run the Surface Creator program and import your newly created .SVG file. Click update. The top view will appear. You can scroll and zoom through the view by scrolling and dragging your mouse.

Step 13: Adjust Parameters

Adjust the parameters to your liking, you can experiment with the sliders at the top and hit the update button on the bottom right to see its effects.

From left to right: Pattern angle, base frequency, base amplitude, finish frequency, finish amplitude, starting slicing distance, ending slicing distance.

Step 14: Export As .gcode File

When satisfied, hit the save file button in the bottom right and save it as .gcode. Send the .gcode file to your 3D printer and print your customised textured surface out of TPE materials.

Step 15: Try Some More!

Try different parameter settings to create all kinds of designs you like.

Step 16: Attach Your 3D Printed Part

Take your freshly printed surface and attach it to your product! You have now created your own textured surface!

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    2 years ago

    Neat addition! I love how many possibilities 3d printers open up for making new fun things :)