The Great Pyramid of Giza

by MakerBot, published

The Great Pyramid of Giza by MakerBot Apr 14, 2014

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What we know about Egypt's ancient civilization comes from what was left behind. Archaeologists scour the region for remnants to piece together pictures of the past, but some clues are hard to miss: at six and a half million ton, taller than the Statue of Liberty, and as wide as 10 football fields, the Great Pyramid of Giza can be seen from space.

Now with MakerBot's second curriculum unit, teachers and students, can download and 3D print their very own model for use in the classroom!

Infill: 3%
Shells: 2
Resolution: Standard


The Great Pyramid Giza
What can this model tell us about Ancient Egyptian culture?


Class periods

Learning Objectives
Students will understand the following:

  1. Explain the meaning of the word artifact.
  2. Explain an example of size and scale of the pyramids.
  3. Discuss the purpose of pyramids.

What purpose do the Egyptian pyramids serve? How do the pyramids tell us about the culture of ancient Egypt? Historically, they housed and protected the Pharaoh and his belongings after death; presently, they lead archaeologists to understandings of ancient Egyptian culture.


  1. One computer with connection to the Internet; one MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.
  2. Great Pyramid of Giza 3D models (pyramid_Slidepiece.obj, pyramid_Mainpiece.obj)
  3. Paper, pencils, poster boards, markers

Lesson Plan Instructions
This lesson consists of three learning activities that build upon one another. Activity 1 introduces students to artifacts and archaeology. Activity 2 considers pyramids as artifacts and examines the scale of these structures. Activity 3 asks students what clues pyramids give us about ancient Egyptians.

DAY 1: Messages in Stone
Explain to your students where the pyramids located, how big they are, and ask them what these structures tell us about ancient Egyptians by observing and analyzing tomb artifacts. Search the following images:

  • Mummy case
  • Mummy mask
  • Mummy
  • Peasants Driving Cattle and Fishing
  • Ka aper with Funerary Offerings
  • Papyrus of Nes-min, Weighing heart of the dead man
  • Mummy mask
  • Chantress Mummy coffin

Remind your students that ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their pharaohs. But what kind of person would want such a great structure built? Proud? Self-important? Powerful?

See examples of pharaohs and court dynastic figures available through Exploring Ancient World Cultures, or searching online for images of the following:

  • Amenhotep III
  • Amenemhat III
  • Statute of Minemheb

The pyramids contained chambers filled with expensive objects that were buried with furniture, jewelry, games, and food. Why did the pharaohs need these things? (Afterlife)

The ancient Egyptians had no cranes or machines to help them move and cut the stone blocks used in the pyramids. They had to do it all by hand. Many of the blocks weighed the same as 25 refrigerators. What does this tell us about the ancient Egyptians? Ask your students, how do they suppose they were able to move these huge blocks?

The pyramids pointed toward the sky, which delivers another message about the ancient Egyptians. (the Egyptians believed that their pharaoh was a god and that he would rise up and join the other gods after his death. He would symbolically climb the pyramid's sloping sides to the sky, where he would live forever.)

Whether or not the pharaohs lived forever, their stone structures endure. More than 4,000 years after they were built, the pyramids of the ancient Egyptians continue to be monuments with a message.

DAY 2: Scale of the Structures
Build around 2560 B.C., the Great Pyramid of Giza is the last survivor of the Seven Wonders of the World, and until the early 20th century was the tallest building in the world.

The Great Pyramid dominates the plateau of Giza. Students can get a sense of the scale and magnificence of the pyramids from virtual reality views available through Pyramids: The Inside Story and on Nova: Pyramids.

Building the Great Pyramid was a huge task. Your students can learn about it by watching the flash animation at the British Museum's Ancient Egypt site.

Here are some quick facts:

  • Height: taller than the Statue of Liberty.
  • Weight: more than 2 million blocks of stone, each about 2.5 tons (the weight of about 25 refrigerators)
  • steep of the sides
  • Width at the base: approximately 10 football fields.

DAY 3: What is an Artifact?
Tell your students that they will dig into the past to find clues about lost civilizations. People who do this kind of job have a special name. Do any of your students know what they are called? (Archaeologists, from the Greek word, arkhaio meaning ancient.)

Archaeologists search the earth for evidence of past civilizations. Like digging detectives, they try to find clues about how people used to live. Clues can come in all shapes and sizes. Show the students these artifacts from the following websites:

  • Carved wall relief
  • Palette
  • Sculpture
  • Haremhab statue
  • Coffin
  • Jewelry
  • Tomb

Mention that all of these things are called artifacts. An artifact is something created by humans usually for a practical purpose.

Use this definition with your students to brainstorm on examples of familiar artifacts. Where did they see these artifacts? When did they originally exist?

Arrange for your students to locate Egypt on a map.

Now that students have located the pyramids, let them be virtual archaeologists and find out what the pyramids tell us about the ancient Egyptians.

Turn back to the learning objectives for this lesson: What do the pyramids and the artifacts found in them tell us about ancient Egyptians' attitudes toward death? What do they tell us about life in ancient Egypt?

Assign the following activities to teams to research and present findings to their classmates.

  1. Team Geographers: Research the geographic location of the Great Pyramid of Giza and determine the environmental conditions of the time in which it was constructed.
  2. Team Architects: Determine measurement, material, and construction methods used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  3. Team Archaeologists: Identify artifacts found within and around the Great Pyramid of Giza, then determine their function(s).
  4. Team Historians: Create a timeline for the period when pyramids were created. Record rulers, their dynasty, and identify other positions held by Egyptians during the time.

Then, students can collectively construct an Ancient Egypt timeline.

Source: http://edsitement.neh.gov/

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It looks different from any existing pyramid, but most likely Khafre, which is the middle pyramid of the 3 large pyramids at Giza.

people mistake the middle pyramid at Giza as the Great pyramid, because a lot of photos are taken with the smaller of the three pyramids in front, which make the middle pyramid to look the biggest.
and also the Sphinx is in front of the Middle pyramid, not the Great pyramid.

the Great pyramid of Egypt is the Northern Most of the 3 Giza pyramid, and the Eastern Most, Nearest to the Nile.

Comments deleted.

Am I the only one who realized this is NOT the pyramid of Giza? Huge mistake for an "educational" print.

this is the wrong pyramid


How i can print dots in B, R, A, D letters? It means supports use?

Thank you!

I am going to use this model for a social studies project

I haven't been able to get this to download. Any suggestions?

As previous commenters have noted, this is NOT an accurate exterior depiction of The Great Pyramid of Giza, which is missing virtually all of its exterior casing stones. To me, this is a ridiculously bad mistake on a model that is supposed to have an educational purpose.

how long does it take :)

What program was used to design this project?

loved it.
Can some one help me to amend this a lil bit please.

This is amazing! A true architect! I am so getting one printed! Awesome design!

The outside is the pyramid of Khafre, not the Great Pyramid. All the rest of the information inside is accurate (for the Great Pyramid), however. Any chance we could get either an updated outside or inside? Though I'll admit the inside of the pyramid of Khafre isn't nearly as interesting as the inside of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

If someone uses a Slic3r, file Giza_main.stl may be corrupted and will print bad. I recommend repair the file in Netfabb https://netfabb.azurewebsites.net/ - It helped me

I dont understand why people cant make manifold objects. I wish thingiverse would prohibit files that are not solid.

Hi Curriculum!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is it my impression or this a very - and I mean VERY - cool 3D rendition of the Pyramid of Khafre, not the Great Pyramid of Giza? It's that little extra at the top that gives it away...
I love the fact that these things can be printed out as schools and used to teach kids so, even though I feel like I'm nit-picking a little bit on this, I think it's worth mentioning it.
But congrats all the same.

Oh, I've just noticed you're Makerbot! I'm new at this and I was trying not to hurt the feelings of some poor anonymous user... Well, get your act straight "Curriculum"! This is inadmissable!!
(And could you please give me a job? "History Fact Checker" maybe? )

I will definately try this on our Felix 3.0 machine...will post the result one of these days !

I can second the hair spray idea. I have an Afinia H479 that I use glass build plates with. I give the plate two shots of hair spray (Suave Max Hold) and then start the 15 minute preheat. So far it's worked well. Plan to give this pyramid a try after some other projects are finished.

Thank you for the hair spray suggestion. Does it really work that well? It is difficult getting the tackiness just right: so the plastic sticks and does not slide around if the adhesive is too wet. How long should I wait between the three shots of spray? Then, how long should I wait after the third spray before starting the print? Thank you.

how long did that take?

Hi, This is really a great design and I downloaded the files to print it. UNFORTUNATELY, I am using a CUBE to print it, and true to form, the material started to warp terribly due to the large size of the base. The CUBE works well for smallish objects, but the glue they use to secure the printed object to the glass print plate leaves a lot to be desired. Bottom line, I could not print your pyramid. Bummer! You did an outstanding job though!!! Congrats.

Try using hairspray instead of the Cube glue. Spray 3 layers of the hair spray on the glass plate and try it again. It will still wash off with water but sticks better.

it would look great in sandstone

love this! would be awesome to hide something that shows only when held to a light

So, these should really print on their SIDE? Looks like it will fall over during printing........no?

Thanks for pointing this out! Repositioned and saved as .stl files. Let us know how it looks now.

Thank you! I was pretty convinced that gravity would be the enemy for that sideways printing. ;)

Nope, you can print as shown without any problem!

Okey dokey....the OBJ file is not the same as pictured above, sitting on its base.

Wow! this is so cool Curriculum.
I have received my 5th Gen Replicator last week and I'm surprised how many cool things I've made within the week.
My question is, what setting should i use for this print?
I was thinking 0.10mm, 10% infill, should i use support? (i'm thinking yes because of the letters)
I have read that i can do 0.050mm on my machine.
Would i be able to print at 50 microns?
I will upload my make when i finish the print :)

Hi Daniel,
These files have been optimized for printing without rafts or support. For best results, set it at 3% infill and print at standard resolution. We can't wait to see what yours looks like!

Awesome! Love your work :)
Will post some pics when i have finished
Many thanks