3D Printed Project: the Stair to Heaven, Inspire by Roman Architecture. (Weekend Project)




About: My hobby is building robot. My goal is design and 3D printing all different kind of robot and provide the robotic hobbyist community with a platform that could then program and improve up on.

After couple projects under my sleeve, designing and 3D printed the model not much of a challenge. However, painting, sanding, painting again, and final touch are my new challenges now. For that reason, I decided to document this project so that any Makers or 3D printing artists out there want to push their project from a prototype to a finish project and also for anyone interested in stop motion animation (me,me,mee).

I have always been fascinating about Roman's architecture skills. From the Roman Aqueduct to the Temple of Athena Nike, these were all marveled architectural achievement for their time and their level of technology. The most inspiring thing about Romance architecture is their beautiful sculpting to perfect shape. The size of these structures is something that you have to be there to experience it.

The Roman devoted their time and mad skill for the gods that they believe in is one of the most inspirational for me. When I designed "The Stair to Heaven", I imagine an ancient mega temple where thousand of believers gathered from around Rome. The temple with its gigantic metal door opens once a year. In the center of the temple is where the one piece graphite stair connects to the balcony where one of the most honorable believers gather and look over Rome.

Check out the Update section for more info about the project.


Step 1: Download STL Files, 3D Printing All the Parts and Collect Material Need

  • You can find the STL file here on Tinker Cad website or in the end of this step.

I am using:

  • Printrbot 3D printer, Simple Metal for more info about the printer you can click here.
  • Printer set up :
    • Layer height (mm): 0.2
    • Shell thickness(mm): 0.8
    • Fill: 5%. (Tip: when fill too dense, the structure cool at more dynamic way causing warping!)
    • Diameter(mm): 1.75
    • Nozzle size (mm):0.75
    • Support on. I do support for the stair and the two half of the temple.

The spray paints was bought from Home Depot. Liquid Leaf can be bought from any crafting supply.

And what I would do since I only have one 3D printer so I would print out small part first. Work on the sanding while waiting for more part to be printed.

Also I would recommend print the 2 half of the temple only 5 to 10% filling only to prevent warping. I would set it to print over night to save production time.

Step 2: Sanding, Painting, Drying Are a Big Part of the Project.

  1. Carefully removing all the supports.
  2. Roughly sanding down all the rough parts from the parts.
  3. Using the spray paint Flat White and paint a thin layer of paint on the part. (Tip: this layer of thin paint will show the area need to sand down more. A thin layer will dry faster and less messy.)
  4. Sanding down the column will contribute a huge step at the end and on how the final project look.
  5. Using the spray paint Flat White and paint a thin layer of paint on the part again to make sure achieving perfect smooth surface.The reason why I stressing so much on the sanding down the part because of the type of material that was using to build the temple. It was white marble and a bronze dome for its Bronze Age.

Step 3: Detailing and Sealing Step. ( Fixed)

Now I believe that you have smooth out all the surface of the the temple inside out. We are about to enter an important step toward the end and there is no turning back after this.

  1. Cover the dome and the door's roof with paint tape.
  2. Using the spray paint Paint+Prime and DO NOT apply a thick layer of paint, have to say thank to #Lorddrake, he recommends:"applying several light coats of paint until you get the desired buildup of paint on your part."

    , so do that to the part that suppose to be white ( the balcony, the stair , the two haft and the top of the temple).Wait for the part to dry completely to make sure archive the criteria of the material apply a second layer if needed.

  3. While waiting for there parts to dry ( recommend a fan would speed up the process) you can paint the door with the liquid leaf ( Tips: this is a great place to practice the brush skill with the liquid leaf, DO NOT try the dome first or try to paint it while it wet).
  4. The top of the temple is a good place to practice on how to paint on a dome since the nature of the liquid leaf might a little hard to work with but the outcome is replaceable.( Tip: liquid leaf dry fast(15-25 mins) when it dry and you try to go over it too rough it will pill off, something to keep in mind).
  5. By now you will see the area where the dome,the columns and the wall are connected is very easy to mess up. What I did is I using a small paint brush and clean up after.
  6. After detailing all the area that the two different type material need, make sure everything is completely dry especially the liquid leaf. Now spray the clear paint on all the part to seal all color and texture of the project.
  7. Continue detailing with a small brush after if needed.

Step 4: Assembly

You could do this step before start painting everything to make sure that all the parts fit well together. However since I already go through that process you could just trust me and assembling everything at the end.

Not much to talk here since the picture speak for itself, however I do have some tips:

  • Make sure the balcony floor connect the stair with the top reasonable.
  • Fit the top dome with the balcony before glue everything to the half of the temple.

Step 5: What I Would Do Differently and What Next.

I glued the two half of the temple with the mean to finish the project. However I was regret after since it hard to show the stair and the inside of the temple since I had the door kind of open. I definitely would use strong magnet to hold the two part of the temple together. It would be easier to demonstrate, do digital art, and photographing.

What next? I would use for my digital art gallery. I really want to do some stop motion animation after I build up my building and characters collection.

I want to say thanks to all the support from TinkerCad's community the Maker's community and AutoDesk make all of this possible.

Please any question leave it on the comment below and I will answer it as best as I could.

Follow me on Twitter for more future project: @khangtnguyen8

Step 6: !!!UPDATE Section!!!!

12/10/2016 UPDATE:I will also do some digital art as I mention. This is not much for now but I hope I will have some time to work on it over the holiday. I am fairly new to the digital art word so if you have any advice or recommend for this newbie then please leave it on the comment section below. Thank you in advance :).

12/11/2016 UPDATE: Just finish the rough sketch for Roman Public Library.



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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Nicely done. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    1 reply
    Khang NguyenLorddrake

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for your support. There will be more 3D printing artwork and projects over the holiday. :)

    Happy Making and Merry Christmas.