3D Printing Walkthrough


What you will need:

  • 3D Printer (Creator Pro) with 0.5 mm nozzle
  • Software to create G-code (Simplify 3D)
  • Conductive filament (PI-ETPU 95-250 Carbon Black)
  • Non-conductive filament

Beginning the Process

The process of creating your own tangible objects through 3D printing is a task that can vary greatly depending on environmental issues and the tools available. This tutorial will cover the basics of the process, and will progress with the assumption that those reading it will use similar tools to those used in-house at Ideum.

Included with the Tangible Engine bundles are four STL files that can be used as reference when building tangible objects. Throughout this tutorial, we will be using the 3 point STL files as an example.

The resultant tangibles created by Ideum for use with Tangible Engine are two separate prints combined to form a complete tangible. These pieces are a non-conductive support piece ("Base") and a conducting piece ("Core") that forms the actual points the Tangible Engine tracks.

Tangible core base

The Core


The material used to create the Core is extremely important. Ideum uses PI-ETPU 95-250 Carbon Black, available at Rubber3Dprinting. The selected material must be conductive. Hard materials may scratch the surface of the touch table after time.


To begin the process of printing out the Core, first import the necessary 3D model into Simplify 3D. Next, decide the orientation required for the piece being printed. For Core pieces, it is imperative the feet face upward. Check the coordinate system of your software to be sure the piece is aligned properly.

Tangible orientation

In order for the core to be printed properly, the following critical settings must be configured:

Simplify3d Settings File

Settings - step 1Settings - step 2Settings - step 3Settings - step 4Settings - step 5Settings - step 5Settings - step 5Settings - step 5


Once the critical settings are set and the appropriate filament is placed in to the 3D printer, the Core is ready to be printed. When creating your own Core pieces there are several things to consider. "Feet" of the Core must be no smaller than 10 mm The distance between the feet must be no smaller than 10 mm Points in the center of the Core are ill-advised as they often suffer from poor connection The centroid of the resulting tangible will be calculated as the center point of the printed "feet".

The Base


The material used to print the base is less important than the material used to print the Core. The material used to print the base must only be hard and non-conductive.

Setup and Printing

To begin the process of printing out the Base, first import the necessary 3D model into Simplify 3D. The Base serves as support for the rubberized feet of the Core. Because of this, the Base's pattern must match up to its counterpart as perfectly as possible. It may be beneficial to use a lower infill for the Base. We use 37%.


While the preceding instructions on how to print custom tangibles are complete, numerous variables can create issues with the final product. We have several recommendations to increase the quality of the tangibles.

Add weight to the tangible.

  • Consider increasing the infill of the Base.
  • Consider designing a tangible with an area to hold a small weight.

Ensure the areas of contact are smooth and all feet are level.

  • Use fine sandpaper to ensure the tangible's feet have full contact with the touch table.
  • If the rubberized core print has small holes, either adjust your printing settings or consider finding a way to fill the holes. It may save time to melt material manually on the Core's surface.

Tweak your settings.

  • Factors such as ambient temperature and humidity can effect printing with the conductive rubber material. Consider adjusting attributes such as the speed and temperature in order to get a stable print.
Last Updated: 9/5/2018, 3:38:57 PM