3D Printing with Minecraft


Printcraft started as a fun project at home with my children. I brought home a Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer when it first came out, only to find it's attraction less than Minecraft's to my two boys. So with a little crude Javascript I wrote something that would allow them to print in plastic things they created in Minecraft. Sharing this script with the Minecraft community, gatecrashing the first 3D Print Show in London with my family, and funding from NESTA lead to Printcraft becoming a long running STEM education and arts project.


  • System Architecture
  • Minecraft
  • Java
  • Python
  • Printcraft toured the UK through 2013 and early 2014 teaching, holding workshops, participating in research projects and curating exhibitions:

    • 3D Printshow - Oct 2012
    • Big Bang Science Fair - ExCeL London - March 2013
    • Technocamps workshops & research project - Wales - April 2013
    • MakerFaire - Newcastle - April 2013
    • Elephant and Castle Mini MakerFaire - June 2013
    • Bethnal Green Academy (teaching) - London - July 2013
    • Techmix Digital Summer Camp - London - July 2013
    • Deershed Festival - Yorkshire - July 2013
    • Insomnia 49 - Telford - Aug 2013
    • V & A Museum Minecraft Late - Aug 2013
    • Oggcamp - Liverpool - Oct 2013
    • Minecon - Florida - Nov 2013
    • 3D Printshow - London - Nov 2013
    • Cloudmaker, curated exhibition FACT Liverpool - March 2014
    • Science Museum Make Hack Do Late - London - May 2014
    • Games Britannia - Sheffield - June 2014

    Minecraft is a truly unique and interesting video game, its open world game play includes fighting to survive against creepers and zombies, but it also offer a rich, creative world in which childrens' imaginations can run wild. They build worlds, games and societies that the game's creators could have never imagined.

    Printcraft turned Minecraft into a CAD tool that required little training and allowed children to participate in collaborate co-design for additive manufacturing from day one, so they could enjoy building and printing their own creations.

    Minecraft has proved to be a richer online social game than Second Life, a real-time collaboration tool before Google Docs and an amazing education tool. I have spent far too long playing Minecraft myself, and while playing have been lucky enough to meet and work with an amazing collection of gamers, technologists, educators and artists. Amongst these collaborations was the cloudmaker exhibition at FACT in Liverpool

    Printcraft's website, cloud service and custom Minecraft servers ran from 2013 - 2017, allowing children all over the world to build 3D models using Minecraft, and processing them for printing. In this time Printcraft's servers have processed over 20,000 Minecraft models for 3D printing, and published them in multiple file formats for download.

    Printcraft's core functionality of converting Minecraft models into models for 3D printing is available as blockmodel an easy to use, open source Python library