3D printing a small press/embossing machine – is it possible, and how?

3D printing seems to be one of the new thing. Over the past few year, I have testet out a 3D printer to try to learn the software, how to design 3D prints and how it works. I always had the idea that “everything can be made”, so this summer I decided to put the 3D printing through a big test. Would it be possible to 3D print a small press for die cutting, paper embossing, leather embossing or stamping? The answer is yes, and it is already designed and files are free for you to use (CC license). This article will explain and show you how it’s done.

3D printer and filament

First you need the access to a 3D printer. The one I used is a CraftBot+ and filament (I used PLA filament).


Programs used

I have used  Tinkercad, to create 3D prints myself. This is free to use. Make an account to log in. There are small tutorials in the program, when you start to learn how to use it. Basically you add different shapes, move the shapes around and weld them together. Change the name of the file at the top, to something sensible for you, as the name suggestions are a bit funny. Then you press “Export” at the top end of the right meny, and export the file as a .STL file. Pick up the file from your “Downloads” on you computer or tablet. Then you need to open this file in a program that can help you to “slice” the file into layers for the 3D printer. For the CraftBot, I used the program CraftWarePro, a free program. The finished files were stored as .gcode files. These were stored to a memory stick, that could be directly connected to the 3D printer-


Where to find the 3D print files

There are several places you can find good files to print. The press I have printed here was found at Thingiverse. This is an Open Press Project by Martin Scheideris licensed under the CC – Non Commercial license. There is also a drawing of how to put the pieces together here.

The printed press

Be aware that the side piece (top part in the photo) and the largest fixing piece (middle row in the photo), has to be printed twice.

The screws are used to put pressure on the top roll, to make press on the plates between the rolls. The plate you see here, will move along the gears on the bottom roll as you turn the crank. I glued the plastic parts that are not going to slide or roll with super glue (inside the crank and the three fixers). I would only put simple things like embossing folders and stamps through this as it is. If I was to test dies, I would try co get some plates to put on the top of the plate on tis press, to make a sandwich with the dies.

The machine seems to be working for simple things. Embossing folders for 3D printing can also be found at Thingiverse.

Good luck with testing out the 3D printing world. Could you make anything to use as a tool for papercrafting?