Final Project Documentation_Personal Bookend_Milica Gligic



The objective of the final project was to design and fabricate an aesthetic object for our room or the studio while using at least two fabrication methods covered by the class. I have decided to make a bookend for my room. As a result of living in China for the past five years, I have read and collected a decent number of Chinese and Japanese literature. For this reason, I wanted to make a book holder which will reflect the regional and thematic characteristics of the literature it will be holding. For example, I already have a Herodotus statue replica holding by European History collection, and Plato’s holding all of my philosophy books. So i think this book holder will only contribute to an already established pattern.


Two readings assigned for the class have greatly shaped my approach to this project. First being an article called: “ How to Make Almost Anything: The Digital Fabrication Revolution” , written by Neil Gershenfeld. He stated that “ the goal of personal fabrication is not to make what you can buy in the store, but to make what you can not buy”. What he meant by this is that digital fabrication allows for personalization. For this reason I attempted to design a bookend which I can not find on Taobao, Amazon or gift shops of Athena. This reading had also explored the idea of recycling and using analog versus “digital” materials. This got me thinking about materials which are used in digital fabrication, are they synthetic or natural, polished or “raw”. This process was further deepened by another article called “Hybrid Reassemblage: An Exploration of Craft, Digital Fabrication and Artifact Uniqueness” written by Amit Zoran and Leah Buechley. Bellow is a picture of a vase which was broken by accident, and given a new form resembling its original shape. I was very interested in the way the ceramic piece and the 3D printed part are combined into a single composition.

As I started researching Amit Zoran’s work, I ran across an artist called Shiran Magriso and her series of works called “Hybrid Joinery”. She creates furniture pieces made out of wood and used plastic 3D printed joints. Some of her pieces can be seen in the pictures attached below.

Knowing that my only way of including wood in my project would be to laser cut it and combine many layers into a 3D object or use a CNC machine, I started looking at some wood designs. I ran across a website called “pinterest”, where I was inspired by two works published on the following link: I have also made the pictures available below. At this point I had a general idea of what i wanted to do, and I started sketching out the book holder.

As a result of my research, I decided to explore the way natural and synthetic materials can be used in composition of a single piece. I decided to laser cut wood, 3D print plastic and incorporate a rock in my design.


Below is scan of my original design including proportion as well as marking the materials. The wooden part is a flower pot in which i plan to grow Keshitsubo, which would be of a perfect size and contribute to the theme of the piece as well as the interaction between natural and unnatural objects.

Originally, I wanted to split the base and include the rock inside of it. However, later I decided to have the rock sit o top of the base. I also intended to separate the gate from the base, this would make the whole object a lot easier to pack and move. My Design process consisted of 4 parts:

1. 3D Scanning:

In order to have a better understanding of the base I decided to 3D scan 2 actual rocks. I would later also use these rocks to carve rock like space inside of the base, as well as create a bed on the base where the rock would rest. For 3D scanning, I used a Matter and Form 3D scanner. The software was very easy to use, and each rock took around an hour or so to scan.

2. Base Design

I was under an impression that our maximum printing capacity was 30x30x30. For this reason I set the base to be 25cm long, and later made it 26cm. After, intending to print, I realized that I would need to redesign the base. The base could not be scaled because it involved 2 actual objects. a flower pot and an actual rock. However, after doing it one time, It was relatively easy to repeat the whole process once more.

I would start off my creating a rectangle 11x20x6, then I would use a boolean difference function to carve rock like holes in the base. Then I created a flower pot, and carved a hole for it in the base. I made sure to note down the dimensions of each rind forming the flower pot, as these dimensions would later be used for laser cutting. For each rock carved into the base I used one of the two 3D scanned rocks and changed its size, shape or angle. Since the more circular rock had a large area which was missing (could not be scanned), and I did not close the area well, if that area was touching the base it would cause an error when I would attempt to use boolean difference. For this reason, I mainly worked with one side of the rock and the other rock. I created 2 bases, identical in every way, except the bed for the rock to rest in. Below is the picture of the two designs. The two have the different base for the rock, and the second one also has holes where the gate will fit in. The holes were added in a later process with the help of professor Marcela.

3. Gate Design

For the design, I used wire cut to shape the roof from a rectangle. As well as a board which is right under the roof. I would also wire cut the back so it is flat and it fits better against books. After working on it with professor Marcela, we decided to split the roof from the bottom part, making it easier to 3D Print. The two small cylinders seen in the first picture are meant to connect the gate and the base.

4. Designing the Flower Pot in Adobe Illustrator

I used the dimension for the rings that I earlier noted down. Since each ring was to be laser cut, I used black 0.01 stroke. To conserve space I placed smaller rings in each of the larger rings. Because the maximum thickness of the wood material was 0.5 cm and I needed 1cm, I would cut two rings for each size. To make sure the pot fits into the 3D printed base, I decreased the diameter size of each ring by 1 mm. This is how my file looked like.



For the final project and my prototype, I decided to print only one Bookend. This is because printing two would take a considerable amount of time and material. In total I printed four parts. The base, the cylinders meant to connect the gate and the base, the gate roof, and the gate base. The base took longest to print (22h) and it came out a bit fragile, as outside layers did not stick well together. The rock would fit perfectly, and this is important going forward with this project. If I wanted to do 5% fill, it would take 29 hours. Given that I had 3 days to print, having the printer work for such long time increased a chance of failure. This is how the base came out.

Cylinders connecting the base and the gate took only 5 minutes to print, however, the roof and the gate base took around 7 hours each to print. I decided to print the roof in red to distinguish it from the black base. After they were done, I glued the three together, and added some tape at the connecting part so it would fit better with the base.


The last step was to laser cut the flower pot and assemble it. I first laser cut it out of cardboard and made sure it fits into the 3D model, then I laser cut it out of wood. I used a glue gun to connect each of the same size rings, and then connect those into a flower pot. I wish there was a better way to glue the parts together, I would definitely use wood adhesive or small nails next time.

After all parts were printed and the flower pot was assembled, I assembled everything together and for presentation purposes placed a brunch inside of the flower pot. In the future I would like to grow Keshitsubo Bonsai inside of the pot.


I learned a lot from the whole process. I became very comfortable with designing objects and navigating in Rhino. I also used almost every 3D printer in the lab, which made me familiar with how they work and how to prepare files for them. Overall, I am satisfied with the product. Going further, I would like to send both base designs to be printed in better quality on Taobao. I am satisfied with how the gate came out, so I will keep it. I will just print the second one in the lab.

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