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Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Decho Pitukcharoen's 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Decho Pitukcharoen, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

«As part of my work as a Media Lab intern, I created an educational booklet about fundamental 3D-printing processes, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners, which will help the Met's staff and visitors to better understand how to create and print 3D models with 123D Catch and other open-source software. The booklet was designed to build on the Media Lab's practice of helping audiences use 3D models of objects in the Met's collection for their own creative purposes. There are three main chapters in my booklet—Scanning, Modeling, and Printing—as well as some examples of how to create a new art project inspired by reproduction art, an idea I got from John Berger's Ways of Seeing.»

Since I came to the Media Lab with a 2D background in communication design, I wanted to explore more about 3D printing while at the Museum. The Met's Media Lab has 3D printers that I used to learn the processes, and after doing so, I realized the important relationship between 3D printing and Berger's concept of reproduction art. There were several quotes from Ways of Seeing that inspired me to see a connection between 3D printing and art, including:

"Reproduction should make it easier to connect our experience of art directly with other experience."

"This painting is possible to see in the gallery, but now this painting is reproduced and can be seen in different places at the same time."

"Exploring reproduction art in order to see art in different ways . . ."

Tools and Resources

I chose to focus on the galleries of the Departments of Asian Art and Greek and Roman Art since there are a wide variety of objects available for scanning. There were two main software tools that I used for this project: 123D CATCH—a software that allows users to turn a series of 2D photographs into a 3D digital model; and TINKERCAD—a software used for fixing models, combining them with other models, and preparing the models for printing.

The Booklet

3D Printing Booklet for Beginners was designed to make 3D scanning, modeling, and printing accessible to people of all ages, regardless of technical background. It therefore makes extensive use of simple graphics and images to explain the multistep process.

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

The scanning, modeling, and printing process, as described in 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

The booklet uses simple visual graphics as examples to demonstrate the three-step process

Printing Objects and Using Virtual Reality

While doing research for the booklet, I printed reproductions and new works based on objects in the Museum's collection.

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Chess pieces made from objects found in the Departments of Asian Art and Greek and Roman Art

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

3D model of a horse figure from the Asian Art galleries, stretched horizontally for perspective effect

I also collaborated with fellow Media Lab Intern Laura Chen to push past the limits of 3D printing technology by exporting 3D models into software for the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset.

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Horse model made from 3D scanning in the virtual-reality world


The Met's Media Lab is a playground of technology which allowed me to experiment with both art and technology. I have learned a great deal, and feel like I've achieved the goals I set for myself before beginning my internship. I received incredibly useful feedback from my target audience at the Media Lab Intern Expo, who were motivated to dive deeper into 3D printing after my presentation, despite initially thinking it was a very difficult concept. Moving forward, I will continue to improve upon my project in the hopes of creating a one-day workshop at the Met for people who are interested in learning basic 3D printing, and what this new technology can do to enhance their exploration of art in the Museum.

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

The author assembling the hand-made booklets

Decho Pitukcharoen, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

The author presenting his final project at the Spring 2014 Media Lab Intern Expo

Related Links
3D Printing Booklet for Beginners (PDF)


  • dan says:

    When I visited the Met two months ago and tried to take photos to make a 3d model, a museum guard yelled at me to stop and said I wasn't allowed to take more than 2 pictures of any object. There was no sign saying that or about not taking pictures, and I was following all the guidelines mentioned in this book. When I asked if that was the standard policy, she said it was because she said so. It made me feel very unwelcome as a maker.

    Posted: August 12, 2014, 3:20 p.m.

  • don undeen says:

    Hi Dan,
    That's the first I've ever heard of anyone having an experience like that, and I'm sorry that happened to you. Sometimes guards are more sensitive around contemporary art objects, or concerned about photographers getting too close.

    We have a pretty good blog post here about how to take safe pictures in the museum:

    I hope you'll come back and continue to work with our collection. But thanks for letting us know about your experience; as new forms of art engagement emerge, we have to adapt our responses to visitor behavior in the galleries.


    Posted: August 13, 2014, 1:09 p.m.

  • Jessica says:

    Uh oh, the pdf of the booklet isn't loading! I'd love to take a look at this pamphlet.

    Posted: December 29, 2014, 6:07 p.m.

  • Anne Dunleavy says:

    Dear Jessica:

    I apologize that the 3D Printing Booklet isn't opening on your machine, but I'm unable to recreate the problem (I'm able to open the PDF in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer). Can you please provide information about what browser (and the version) you're using so that we can investigate the issue? In the interim, I will email you the PDF file.


    Anne Dunleavy
    Website Managing Editor

    Posted: December 30, 2014, 11:19 a.m.

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About the Author

Decho Pitukcharoen was formerly a Media Lab intern and a participant in the inaugural Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop.

About this Blog

The Digital Media Department leads the creation, production, presentation, and dissemination of multimedia content to support the viewing and understanding of the Met's collection and exhibitions, both within the galleries and online. This blog discusses a few of the activities of the department, and invites your questions and comments about the Museum's digital initiatives.

Above: Jim Campbell (American, born 1956). Motion and Rest #2 (detail), 2002. Light-emitting-diodes (LED) and custom electronics. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Henry Nias Foundation Inc. Gift, 2004 (2004.105). © Jim Campbell