Turn your designs into physical models without a 3D printer

Use this great new tool to make papercraft models from your 3D data, says Christian Harries.

Pepakura Mario

Mario comes to life - no 3D printing required!

After designing an object using CAD software, a lot of people would like to own a physical copy of what they created.

Although 3D printing can quickly and accurately replicate your designs, not many people own 3D printers and outsourcing them can become an expensive process.

With Pepakura you can have your designs turned in to printable 2D nets which can easily be folded in to a physical 3D model.

Pepakura Star Wars

Pepakura produces printable 2D nets from your 3D designs

While it is possible for Pepakura to create complex models the more complex they are the harder it will be to accurately cut out and put together.

2D and 3D views

Pepakura has both a 3D and a 2D view area which update in relation to each other. In the 3D view area, you can see the assembled model while in the 2D view area you can see the unfolded net.

Simple changes can be made before printing such as scaling the size of the net, repositioning faces and adding tabs.

If you have a Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter, you can have your designs printed and cut with all the necessary folds, creases and scores in one easy job.

Pepakura Robot

Pepakuru can be used to print complex models like this one

It should be noted that Pepakura can not create 3D models or nets natively, although it can modify geometry from a wide range of files including .3DS, .DXF and .STL.

Words: Christian Harries

Christian Harries is a freelance product designer and recent graduate from Ravensbourne. His portfolio can be seen here.