Tower of Pi

by roman_hegglin, published

Tower of Pi by roman_hegglin Mar 14, 2014

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Tower of Pi by roman_hegglin is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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Tower of Pi
Hard to print? Probably... But definitely worth every digit!
If you have a FDM printer, try the one with the solid walls first.

My third contribution to pi day March 14 (03.14).

This is a part of a series of towers/penholders made out of digits.
Tower of Pi: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:271769
Tower of Tau: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:295304
Tower of Euler: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:783098
Tower of Phi: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:788653
Pi - Penholder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:271353

Please have a look at some of my other things:


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what layer height shou i use? is 0.2mm enough? cuz with 0.1 it is printing whole eternity

what layer height shou i use? is 0.2mm enough? cuz with 0.1 it is printing whole eternity

I love that you shared this on my sister's birthday! It's such a great piece and a very mindful time for your post! Thanks you :)

Dear Mr. Roman Hegglin

Please let us show your work in our magazine.
Your credit will be, of course, shown.

Would you possibly reply me the soonest please?

Best regards

Dear Mr. Roman Hegglin

This is Yoshimi for DeAgostini Japan (publisher). We are publishing weekly magazine called My 3D printer. And we would like to use your image http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:271769 for our magazine. Would you please let us have your permission for this? We await your soonest reply (terribly sorry that our deadline is next week...).

*For credit, Tower of Pi by roman_hegglin is OK?

Thank you very much indeed for your cooperation.

Best regards
Yoshimi Ichikawa
K.K. DeAgostini Japan

Tower of Pi

I made a 3d-print timelapse of this with some fun stuff inlcluded:


Thank you for the awesome model!

I'll likely make one for the e-tower too

I already install blender software, How i can edit text in the .blend file ?

thank you

Is this Printed in FDM or SLA? Cannnot imagine it looks so perfect?

Any chance you can add customizable lettering to the bottom of the base? I'm making one as a gift. But It's too complex for my modeling software to import.

You should totally make this a customizer so you can replace with text!!!

While that would be nice, this model was created in blender, Customiser uses OpenSCAD files.

How tall are the regular and small models? I can't tell in the Cura software I am loading it into.

Regular is 15cm tall, the small one is 8cm tall.
You can scale it up or down to fit your printers build platform and volume.

Its really hard to clean the supple off.... How could it be easier?

What are peoples suggested config settings for this? I am having difficulty getting things to not "goop," while printing these more detailed delicate structures.. Should i slow down print speed?

I printed one of these at our school for myself (I'm the I.T. guy) and our 2 math teachers wanted it real bad!
Printing 2 more of them. On default settings it took 22 hours to print one. No big deal, just don't be in a rush!

Have you already posted some pictures of your prints?

On popular request: I have just uploaded the .blend file.
I hope you like it. Be creative and share it!

Of course, a fantastic model. Did you do it by hand, or is there some script you used? I really want to make a version that is taller with more digets for my Leapfrog XL (2 ft tall). Do you have any suggestions? I want one just taller, because if I scale it uniformly the estimated print time is over 100 hours I think!

I did it completely in Blender3D.
I would love to draw one that is taller than the ones here. How much taller does it need to be? Same diameter , but 2x as tall? Or even taller.
Please tell me the factor and I will create a .stl for you.

Thanks for your help! I'm looking for something just a bit shorter than 2 feet (so that I'm 100% sure it will fit on my leapfrog XL). I'm really interested to see exactly how you made it, though. I did a little bit of preliminary messing about with wrapping text to a spiral curve, but it kills my computer to model it, and I haven't figured out how to draw the line underneath the numbers and connect the tower completely. Is that how you made yours? Would you consider putting your blender file up? Thanks again for your super fast response!

I plan to release the .blend within the next few days...
BTW, take a look at this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:785318

Tower of Pi - XXL

My third print ever was the short, solid wall version, using my newly built ultibots K250 delta style printer. The exterior looks great, and the numerals are clear and crisp. The interior.... right around the transition from solid wall base to numeral-inscribed base the printer builds a LOT of strings, and "air prints" the pi symbol.

Now, I'm a total newb. Would you think in slic3r that I'm not putting enough solid bottom layers? Should I increase wall thickness? I would like to make a few more of these for teachers for pi day, but I don't want to have to hand-pick out the air printed pi symbol for each of seven layers.

Design looks fabulous, and so does finished product (at least from the outside.) Thanks for sharing your efforts with the world.

I would print this with 2-3 shells, 50% infill (rectangular) and 3 solid top/bottom layers.
Do you use RepetierHost along with slic3r or just slic3r? Rep Host does a wonderful job in the preview of the g-code. I can spot a lot of (possible) errors there before I send the file to the printer.

It not only printed well, (with some stringy bits and it needed some sanding) but I had a stroke a couple years ago, so I do random memory exercises, and after just a couple days of looking at this thing and memorizing, I got well past what I used to know. Thank you. It is actually a learning tool, if you take the time to use it =D

Thank you for your feedback!

I tried to print out the short one, but when it got to the numbers it just jammed up.
I was printing at 60 mm/s, so I think I'll try again at 45 mm/s. Is there any consequence to sizing it down? (like 0.7)

Thanks for this awesome creation!

The non-solid one has a LOT of retractions during the print. Try the solid one, it should be easier to print.

Thanks! I scaled down the solid wall one, because the print time is long, and it went well. I can even read the numbers! It's like 50mm wide. I might try to print out a larger one.

Yah the retractions are crazy. My printer has problems wi layer to layer retractions. I am going to try to play around with increasing the retraction speed to see if that helps.

Thanks, this is an amazing design!

Thinking of doing this one as a lampshade, anyone tried it?

Nice idea. AFAIK nobody has tried it.
I can do the tower in reverse: The numbers begin at the buttom, then spiral up and the top is a solid socket.

If you print it as a lamp shade, remember to mirror it so the numbers are projected properly.

I am, If youre still willing.

Printed the solidwall on my mini Kossel (Marlin firmware by RichCattel https://github.com/RichCattell/Marlin)
About 12hrs to print
Very nice

Comments deleted.

Nice design, we are printing this with our Felix 3D printer. Will soon post some images of the print

I am curious.

So cool, planing on printing any setting suggestions?

Yes: Use the one with the solid wall. I think it is easyer to print.

Very awesome just printed one and it came out great! How would I possibly be able to make this with two colors say the rails and base one color and the numbers a different. I think it would be pretty rad

Had to say,

45 digits per ring, 21 rings, 945 digits give or take a few (yes I counted -_-)

When new technology comes along we first do old things with the technology's new way. Only slowly do we discover what wholly new things---things that were either really or practically possible before---can be done with the new technology. This wonderful design is a perfect exemplar of this time-worn observation. Kudos to the author/artist.

Thank you for your kind words.

ok,so i have printed it and stand in awe. How did you draw it?

Blender 3d. It't not so difficult learn and one can do wonderful things with it! get it here http://www.blender.org/ and search for some tutorials on youtube.

2 Soon to be leaving thingiverse because of Makerbot's behavior towards open source.
Details: http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2014/5/25/has-makerbot-crossed-the-line-for-some-yeshttp://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2...

This piece is a long way from being "fixed".
Netfabb, Cura, and Kisslicer all identify copious errors in the solid-wall versions, and when sliced, half the number digit pieces appear to be separated from the solid wall by a couple of tenths of a mm. When printing, this causes the printer to first print the solid wall, with those pieces that are attached, then skips around, leaving many retractions with stringing across the open end, as it prints all the detached pieces separately.
Net is that the solid walls need to be thicker, so they intersect better with the digits.

True, it is not perfect and has some flaws. Any suggestions on how to fix these errors?
I am considering to to this model again. This time more accurate and parametric... Let's see if i find the time to do it.

Got great results on with this design on my FlashForge Dual! Took about 8 hours to print, I did both the low solid wall and then the high open mesh version. Hit it with a little sandpaper after the fact to remove the crumbs and it looks great. A fantastic 3D printing conversation piece... Thanks for your great design.
I printed in ABS. 110 degree heated build plate, 230 degree extruder. 50 for print speed and 70 for move.
Just a suggestion - could you drive your design parametrically with any 600- or 1200-character string? That would be very cool.

My god, this must have taken hours to make, how do you know that many digits of pi?

The internet is full of knowledge:
It took me hours to design the tower in blender, so that it is printable.
Insert text, make text 3D, generate spiral, let text follow spiral, insert profile, let profile follow spiral, and lots and lots of fine tuning and optimisation.

How long does it take to print?

It depends on your printer and the settings you use.
Between 2h and 10h.

Congrats Roman for having your design making the Thingiverse Feature page!

The overhangs that the 4s and the 7s and the 9s would make this print near impossible for a printrbot jr. But if I could print it, I would!

Try the one with a solid wall. It should be MUCH easier to print on a FDM printer like the printrbot jr.

Awesome! Check this out:
I made it myself on Tinkercad!

Pi - Mathematical Version

sooo cool! i need an Resin Printer.....

Can't even slice it! RepetierHost says model must be repaired. Too many errors in model...

Have you tried to "fix" the model first in either netfabb or Meshlab? Just a suggestion. Take it as you may. =)

This is exactly what I did with the file and uploaded the fixed one to thingiverse.

Did you use the new (fixed) files? I deleted the old one since the first versions had some errors.

I finally saw the fixed file! Thanks for posting Roman.

Thanks for this cool design. How many digits are there in each short and tall version?

The large one has 1200 digits, the small one has 600 digits.

Thanks, I sliced and printed it with no problem on Replicator 2. Took more than 8 hours to print.

about time nice feature

Thank you.
Strange that I just was designing an other tower for 6/28 at the same time that this one got featured. Expect an other model soon...

I wonder if it hold water.

It will hold water without any problem, but the temperature of the water must be under 273K.
Water warmer than 273k will just flow through he tower ;-)

ha ha, thanks for making one that holds water. I will upload a make as soon as my printer gets delivered. :)

Heck of a design roman! Kudos! When I look at the picture you posted I see gaps between the numbers so I'm trying to figure out how it would hold water?

I am glad you like it. The secret lies within the temperature of the water: It must be under 273k!

Ah Roman! I see what you did! Very appropriate answer! =)

you just made my day

I was the 314th person to like this,
which is kind of fun.

Nice coincidence indeed.

What are the dimensions of this pi tower?

Dia is 8.5cm and height is 15cm for the bigger and 8cm for the smaller tower. This values are rounded. I made this in blender and I didn't draw it very accurate.

It is already printable, look at my remix.
But that thing is nothing for beginners ;)

:) Very very cool. I wonder if a slightly modified font in italics would print without support.

is the first image a picture or is it computer generated?

It is computer generated. The picture is rendered in blender.
I didn't had the opportunity to print it out yet.

For some reason my slic3r window always freezes and crashes when ever i attempt to slice this part. Help please.

It will take a while to slice it. How long did you wait?
There are errors in the STL, I have uploaded a fixed one for each model. Would you please try to slice one of these?

Last nite, I had the same problem slicing with both the original file and the fixed one. I was running on a mac book air with 4gb ram and a core2duo chip. not the fastest in the bunch for sure. But I was able to slice it on my imac27", much bigger machine with gobs of memory and it sliced it fine. Today, I'll try to send the gcode to my Air to see how it prints.

I am sure it takes a lot of ram to slice it. how long took the slicing on your imac?

12:39:26 PM: <slic3r> Done. Process took 44 minutes and 8.410 seconds

On my iMac 3.4 Ghz Core i7 with 32gb of memory.</slic3r>

Enough RAM and a beefy CPU and everything slices well. Thanks for the numbers!

Hmmm...I didn't time it, but I've got 32gb of ram :) So if it's ram that it needs, I've got it LOL. If I get a chance, I'll do a timing this aft. BTW, I printed it out and it came out horrible. Very few of the numbers were legible. BUT(!!!) my printer is still very new, built from a kit and I'm still trying to figure it out. So many settings affect how a print comes out. And I think you're right: Not the print for the beginner (me) LOL. It's GREAT model so I'll keep trying.

Do you have any print suggestions?

Does anyone have any prints they'd could post?

My advice: Print it big and print it slow. (scale it up and print it slow)
ToScH printed it out: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:282067http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Tower of Pi (short version)
by ToScH

Literally the greatest thing I have ever seen!

Thank you. I am glad you like it!

Watch out, soon I will wear my Pi top hat! ;-)

I was preoccupied (!) at (3/14/15) 9:26:53 a.m, but we all get another chance to celebrate tonight... Gonna bake a.. cake.

Don't you know? The cake is a lie! Bake a pie!