UWW link

3D OPAL - 3D Objects for Physics Accessible Learning

UW-Whitewater
Physics Department
Introduction 3D Object List Resources Presentations Sahyun Home

The overall goal of the 3D Objects for Physics Accessible Learning (3D OPAL) project is to make physics, math, and science more accessible for students by creating 3D printable tactile learning objects to help students with visual disabilities and for students who would find tactile objects helpful when learning physics. Our research question is: How can physics concepts (such as a pulley system, Gaussian distribution or lever) be represented in a way that meets the needs of all students learning the concept? Our method has been to develop 3D printed objects so that students with visual impairments can use these items to successfully understand each concept alongside their peers.

This page contains downloadable 3D printable objects for learning physics, math and science for students with visual disabilities. These objects may be freely used and distributed with appropriate credit, and the .stl files should work with most 3D printers.

Overview video describing the purpose of this project and how to use and download objects on this page. [4 min.]


Direct video link: https://youtu.be/5EgqlctXAU0
This video was created by Christopher Marshall, (Chris Chross Productions), Physics student at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, August 2015.

Index of 3D Objects on this page:

Tools

Electricity and Magnetism, Optics and Gravity

Mechanics

Atomic, Molecular, and Crystal Structure

Other Items

These objects were created using either AutoCAD, MatLAB, or OpenSCAD and have been printed with Printrbot or Dremel Idea Builder 3D printers. Files on this page are available in sterolithograpy .stl files which should import into a wide array of 3D printer slicer software such as Cura or MatterControl used to control the output to 3D printers. These files should print at the intended size to fit most standard printers (15 cm bed size), but may be resized if desired. .stl files with Braille letters are not recommended for resizing as that will change the size of the Braille. AutoCAD .dwg, MatLAB .m or OpenSCAD .scad original source files for the objects are also avialable. Due to server file-type limitations, all downloadable files have been compressed into a .zip format; on most operating systems, simply double-clicking on the .zip file will extract the item into the correct format. On older operating systems, you may need software such as WinZip or Stuffit to extract the files.

All models where size is important (for correct Braille character sizes) include centimeter markings to aid in correct scaling for printing.

Please let me know if you have any difficulty with these or have ideas for other objects.


Additional Resources and External Links

If you are new to 3D printing, I suggest this Instructables Page on 3D Printing Basics and this Techradar page on How to get Started in 3D Printing to learn about the 3D printing process.

For resources on 3D printing in education, I highly recommend the Ultimaker Education Site I am a pioneer member of the program.

Additional resources:

Posters and Presentations

This is a section that will contain posters and information on presentations given about our work.

2017 Fairhaven Lecture: This is a talk by Steven Sahyun introducing 3D printing and science accessibility [48 minutes]:

Beyond Boundries: 3-D Printable Tactile Objects to Aid in Science Understanding

image from video of talk
Fairhaven Lecture, March 6, 2017
from University of Wisconsin Graduate Studies on Vimeo.


GS 8-dot Braille Slate

Picture of a printed slate.Picture of assembled slate.

This is a printable slate for writing 8-dot Braille. It has two pieces, a lower piece with indentations, and an upper guide. The upper guide includes a centimeter ruler on the bottom end and an inch ruler on the top. The two pieces may be connected by inserting a straightened paper clip through the holes on the left side to create a hinge. This was developed to allow writing of Gardner-Salinas Braille Code for writing mathematic and scientific notation.

This slate was designed by UW-Whitewater physics student Chris Marshall as part of Spring 2015 student research funding by the UW-Whitewater Provost's office.

Files to download:

Build time is approximately 2.5 hrs.

Information about GS Braille:

Back to top of page.

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater 3D Central campus map

Picture of a printed UWW map.Closeup picture of a printed UWW map.

This is a printable map with Braille labels of the center of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater campus.

For a tactile map of a location of your choice, I highly recommend Samuli Kärkkäinen's TouchMapper.org site. The TouchMapper site allows you to enter an address of your choosing and configure map scale and size. You can even create multi-part(print) maps! You can download your generated .stl map files for free to print on your own 3D printer or you can order 3D prints from their fee-based printing service.

Files to download:

Build time is approximately 4.5 hrs.

This map was designed by Steven Sahyun, 2015

Features and Guide for the UWW campus map:

  • There is a North arrow, labeled with an "n" in the upper right corner of the map.
  • The map is bounded by four streets. Main Street at the bottom (south) and Starin Road at the top (north) are labeled. Streets have tactile markings spaced 1 cm apart. There are different tactile indicators for pedestrian crosswalks.
  • The major campus pathways are displayed on the map. Pathways have been approximated with straight lines.
  • The central campus fountain, an important auditory landmark, is indicated with a torus (ring).
  • The larger buildings have Braille labels on the top of the buildings. Building height approximately reflects the height of the buildings on campus.

Map labels and touch-cons

  • UWW - University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
  • * - Center for Students with Disabilities
  • circle - campus fountain
  • c - McCutchen Hall
  • e - Heide Hall
  • g - McGraw Hall
  • n - north
  • s - Starin Hall
  • t - Laurentide Hall
  • w - Winther Hall
  • y - Hyer Hall
  • al - Anderson Library
  • ca - Center for the Arts
  • hh - Hyland Hall
  • rs - Roseman Hall
  • uc - University Center
  • uh - Upham Hall
  • ya - Young Auditorium
  • Main - Main Street
  • Starin - Starin Road

Back to top of page.

Pulley system

Picture of the printed pulley.Picture of assenbled single pulley.

This is a printable pulley system. The file contains two pulleys, a large wheel and a small wheel; the smaller wheel is useful when creating systems with 3 or 4 pulleys.

Files to download:

Build time is approximately 45 min.

Features of the pulley system:
The pulley is designed with tactile indicators on the pulley wheel and on the pulley base so students can feel the rotations of the wheel as the pulley is used. By comparing the rotational rates between a simple and combined pulley systems, students can feel the difference in how much the pulley moves for different configurations. In addition, the pulley base is designed in an interlocking pattern of hooks so that pulleys can be easily linked together.

There are two sets of three hooks for the pulley base. This allows greater stability when attaching the pulley to a base-board (It is recommended using three screws in a wood board to hook the pulley base onto. There are two orientations that the base may be attached; the redundancy is useful in the event that one of the hooks breaks.

Single Pulley configuration:

Picture of a single pulley in use.

Two Pulley configuration: Note that the string attaches to the upper pulley base hook.

Picture of a two pulley system.

Three Pulley configuration: Note that the string attaches to the lower pulley base hook and that the two upper pulleys lock together.

Picture of a three pulley system.Closeup picture of a three pulley system.

Useful information about the mechanical advantage for a pulley system can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_advantage_device. The following image shows 1, 2, 3, and 4 pulley systems that this 3D object can replicate.

Picture of four pulley systems.
Image credit: Prolineserver, Tomia, and Stanislaw Skowron from Wikipedia (2015).

This pulley was designed by UW-Whitewater physics student Rebecca Holzer as part of Spring 2015 student research funding by the UW-Whitewater Provost's office. Additional design revisions by Steven Sahyun.

Back to top of page.

Normal (Gaussian) Distributions

Picture of a 2D normal distribution. Picture of the normal distribution in 1 standard deviation segments.

Here is the classic normal (Gaussian) distribution and the distribution separated into one standard deviation (1 σ) segments. These have been calculated using the MatLAB code below.

Files to download:

Symmetric and Asymmetric distributions

Picture of a symmetric normal distribution. Picture of an asymmetric normal distribution.

Here are two more normal distribution files that have been calculated using MatLAB. The first is a symmetric distribution (x and y have the same standard deviation.) This is the case for a laser beam or a Bose-Einstein condensate. The second file is an asymmetric distribution (standard deviation of x is different than that for y.) This could be the profile for a diode laser. The asymmetric profile feels more interesting and shows what it means when the standard deviation is different for similar conditions.

Files to download:

Build time for these are approximately 1 hr each.

Back to top of page.

Diffraction Patterns for Circular and Rectangular Apertures

Picture of diffraction from a circular aperture. Picture of diffraction from a rectangular aperture.

Here are two Fraunhofer diffraction intensity pattern files that have been calculated using MatLAB. The first is for diffraction from a circular aperture and printed as approximately perceived by the eye. The second file is for diffraction from a rectangular aperture and printed as approximately perceived by the eye. Since the eye has a somewhat logarithmic response to the intensity of light, these patterns are the square root of the calculated intensity, this brings out the detail and is equivalent to "overexposing" the film.

Files to download:

Build time for these are approximately 1 hr each.

Back to top of page.

Wave Patterns for Red and Blue Light

Picture of red and blue wavelengths. Picture of continuous change from red to blue wavelengths.

Here are two wave pattern files that have been calculated using MatLAB. The visual range of light is from 400 nm to 700 nm. The first object represents a blue light (400 nm) wave next to a red light (700 nm) wave to gain an understanding of the difference in the wavelengths. The second object represents a continuous change in the wavelengths from 400 nm to 700 nm.

Files to download:

Build time for these are approximately 1 hr each.

Back to top of page.

Plank Blackbody Spectra

Picture of Plank Blackbody print. Picture of normalized Plank Blackbody print.

Here are Plank Blackbody Radiation spectra over a range of temperatures that have been calculated using MatLAB. The displayed prints are for wavelengths from 0 to 1500 nm and for temperatures from 4000 K to 7000 K. The first object shows the relative intensity changes between the spectra; the second print represents equal (scaled) maximum intensity curves so curve shape and peak intensity wavelength can be more easily compared.

Files to download:

Build time for these are approximately 45 min. each.

Back to top of page.

Gravitational Potential Well

Picture of Gravitational Potential well.

Here is a Gravitational Potential well that would be produced by mass and calculated using MatLAB. The surface represents how space is deformed by a massive object. If the object were a point mass, the result will be a Black Hole. This surface shows the Black Hole's event horizon as a circle in the bottom of the model. If this model is printed at a size of 20 cm the central hole will have a 2 cm diameter which is the size of the event horizon if the Earth were compressed to a point mass. However, for a more reasonable print time, I recommend a size of 10 cm (the central hole will have a 1 cm diameter, representing a Black hole produced by half the Earth's mass.)

Files to download:

Picture of 10x10x2 cm Gravitational Potential well with metal ball in orbit.Picture of 20x20x2 cm Gravitational Potential well with metal ball in orbit.

Build time at 10x10x2 cm with 0.2 mm layers and 20% (white, left) fill is approximately 5 hrs. A 20x20x2 cm print (black, right) takes approximately 20 hours but produces a model that is much easer to demonstrate an orbiting ball on.

When printed, a steel ball can be made to orbit the central hole. The larger the print size, the more easily it is to get the ball to orbit.

Back to top of page.

Bravais Cubic Lattices

Picture of Bravais Simple Cubic Lattice. Picture of Bravais Body Centered Cubic Lattice. Picture of Bravais Face Centered Cubic Lattice. Picture of Bravais Diamond Lattice.

Here are four Bravais Cubic Lattice unit cells: simple cubic, body centered cubic, face centered cubic, and a diamond lattice. The simple cubic unit cell contains eight one-eighth atoms arranged each at a corner so each unit cell contains "one" atom. The Body Centered Cubic unit cell has the eight corners and a complete atom in the center so it consists of two atoms. The face centered unit cell has the eight corners and six half-atoms, one on each of the cube's sides for a total of four atoms. The diamond lattice has the eight corners, six half atoms and four internal atoms for a total of eight atoms. These models were produced using OpenSCAD. There are two versions of these cells, a "supports" version, that has a printing support structure of horizontal and vertical bars to aid in printing (and in the case of the diamond lattice, the supports are needed to connect four free corner (eighth) atoms to the model). Most of these supports can be removed after printing. A non-suport version is also available if your printer is able to provide some sort of adequate support structure.

Files to download:

  • Bravais cubic unit cells with supports .stl.zip file.

    This is a .zip archive containing a Simple Cubic, Body Centered Cubic, Face Centered Cubic, and Diamond Bravais lattice unit cell models with support structure to aid in printing. They may be printed at any size. 4 cm recommended.
  • Bravais cubic unit cells .stl.zip file.

    This is a .zip archive containing a Simple Cubic, Body Centered Cubic, Face Centered Cubic, and Diamond Bravais lattice unit cell models. Some sort of support structure will need to be added for successful printing (especially with the Diamond lattice!) They may be printed at any size. 4 cm recommended.
  • Screenshot of  OpenSCAD with lattice cubes. Bravais cubic unit cells OpenSCAD code. This is the OpenSCAD file used to generate these unit cells. You can adjust the support structure and select unit cells.

Back to top of page.

Bravais Lattice Unit Cells

Picture of Set of Bravais Lattice Unit cells.

Here is a set of the seven Bavais Lattice geometric figures cells. The unit cells are: Triclinic, Monoclinic, Orthorhombic, Tetragonal, Hexangonal, Rhombohedral, and Cubic. These are solid unit cell representations of the crystal unit cells. Each cell has text and braille labeling.

Files to download:

  • Bravais set .stl.zip file.

    This is a .zip archive containing the set of the seven Bravais unit cells: Triclinic, Monoclinic, Orthorhombic, Tetragonal, Hexangonal, Rhombohedral, and Cubic.
  • Screenshot of  OpenSCAD with bravais lattice. Bravais unit cells OpenSCAD code .zip There are two files in this .zip archive: Bravais_Lattics_Geometry.scad and Lattice_Module.scad that are used to generate these unit cells. Created by Christopher Marshall

Back to top of page.

Carbon-60 Molecule (Buckyball)

Picture of Carbon-60 molecule.

Files to download:

  • Carbon-60 molecule .stl file.

    This model may be printed at any size. 10 cm recommended.
  • Picture of a OpenSCAD screen.Bucky60.stl OpenSCAD code to plot the Carbon-60 Buckyball model.

    This is a modification of pmoews' Carbon 60 molecule found on Thingiverse.

    Buckyballs - Molecular Models by pmoews

    Published on October 19, 2011

    www.thingiverse.com/thing:12675

    Creative Commons - Attribution

Thermal Distribution of Molecular Speeds

Picture of atomic velocity distribution for a variety of temperatures.

This is the Maxwell distribution of the speed of molecules in an ideal gas for a range of temperatures. The equation is The plotted speed (x-axis) varies from 0 to 1600 m/s while the temperature (y-axis) ranges from 300 to 900 Kelvin. Plot produced by Dan Marzahl and Steven Sahyun.

Files to download:

Back to top of page.

Equal Torque Lever

Picture of balance beam lever.Picture of balance beam lever.

This is a balancing lever system for learning about torques (τ = r ⨯ F = rFsinθ) in equilibrium.. This object consists of a base plate, a support beam and a lever beam. Features include tactile marks in the center of the lever to easily find the middle and 9 fulcrums and 9 hanging holes to provide a range of options for investigating torques. There are bins on the top of the lever to allow for fine balancing adjustments if needed. There are centimeter markings on all objects so printing scale can be coordinated. Lever designed by Chris Marshall and Steven Sahyun.

Picture of balance beam lever with masses.Picture of balance beam lever with masses.

Also available is a mass set with 1, 2, and 4 mass unit blocks that hang from the holes on the lever. The masses can be connected to provide more arrangements.

Files to download:

Picture of masses on lever.

Here the lever is shown with the 2 and 4 mass units.

Picture of balance beam lever.

Here the lever is shown with the 1, 2 and 4 mass units. On the left the 4 unit mass is 2 distance units so 2x4 = 8. On the right, the 1 unit mass is 2 distance units and the two unit mass is three distance units so 1x2+2x3 = 8 and the torques balance.

Picture of balance beam lever.

Here the lever is shown with a 10 g mass on one end (Ll = 5 units) and a 20 g mass on the other end (Lr = 3 units) which are approximately equal (50 g units ≅ 60 g units). Note: the finite mass of the lever accounts for the missing 10 g units.

Picture of balance beam lever.

Here the lever is shown with 30 g of mass on one end (Ll = 6 units) and a 100 g mass on the other end (Lr = 2 units) which are approximately equal (180 g units ≅ 200 g units). Note: the finite mass of the lever accounts for the missing 20 g units.

Back to top of page.

Protractor

Picture of tactile protractor.

(Updated August 8, 2017)

This protractor allows students and their teachers to create tactile angles using a standard braille stylus or pen in order to make marks on paper. Our design comes with a base plate similar to that of a braille slate, with pegs that stick through a piece of paper to lock the protractor in place. The protractor can then be used to draw angles. The protracor has markings every 5 degrees and a gnomon pointer to guide the drawing and measurement of angles. There are larger marks every 10 degrees with additional indicators at 0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees. There are marking holes, guide marks in the gnomon angle pointer, and the base plate has divots to help with markng angles. This protractor also includes a centimeter ruler along the base. Protractor designed by Steven Sahyun.

Files to download:

How to use this protractor.

Picture of base plate, paper and protractor.

To use this protractor, start by placing the bottom on the underside of a piece of paper. The pegs on the base plate will stick up through the paper, and the top can then be fitted over those pegs. Now, simply snap the gnomon into place, and away you go! The gnomon has marks in it that allow the user to measure angles with more precision, and holes in the protractor allow the drawing of lines and arcs.

Picture of protractor on paper.

Next, set the gnomon to the desired angle. The gnomon fits between the 5 and 10 degree markings to act as a useful guide. The 5 degree markings are inset so you can easily feel between adjacent angle markings such as 15 and 20 degrees. The holes for the stylus are in the center of the marks. Note that the 0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degree marks are extended so they can be easily located. Mark the angle on the inside area of the protractor (there are five additional locations along the gnomon) and on the outer edge where the gnomon is near the angle marks.

Picture of marking the angle on the inside.Picture of marking the angle on the outside.

The angle has now been marked and when the protractor is removed, the paper retains the indented markings. Turn the paper over and the tactile angle is easily felt.

Picture of angle with all markings.

A tactile 180 degree semi-circle with marks every 5 degrees and additional marks at 0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees is easily constructed with this protractor. The base is marked with rulings spaced 1 cm apart with an extra mark at the circle's center.

Back to top of page.

Hydrogen Electron Radial Probability (S, P, D, F)

1S, 2S and 3S Radial Probability:

Picture of 3D print of hydrogen electron s radial probability.

2P, 3P Radial Probability:

Picture of 3D print of hydrogen electron p radial probability.

3D Radial Probability

Picture of 3D print of hydrogen electron d shell orbitals.

These objects are Hydrogen Radial Probability through the xz-plane for several quantum values. Note that the region of highest probability corresponds to the classical Bohr radius. However, the radial probability values u2 are not the same as the maximum wavefunction value (Ψ).

Files to download:

The Hydrogen 2s radial probability graph as shown on the HyperPhysics site.
Graph of hydrogen probability
Image credits: R Nave, Hyperphysics. (2016) http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hydwf.html#c3

A typical image of the Hydrogen wavefunctions is shown on Wikipedia:
Pictures of hydrogen orbitals
Image credits: Wikipedia, Hydrogen Atom. (2016) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_atom

Hydrogen Electron Orbital Shells (S, P, D, F)

Picture of 3D print of hydrogen 1D isopotential surface.

Here is an excellent source for the Hydrogen Isopotential Surfaces:
Do-It-Yourself: 3D Models of Hydrogenic Orbitals through 3D Printing
Kaitlyn M. Griffith, Riccardo de Cataldo, and Keir H. Fogarty
Journal of Chemical Education Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00293
July 7, 2016
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00293

The site has a link to the pdf of the paper by Griffith, deCataldo and Fogarty that has general information about printing techniques for the orbital isopotentials. The Supporting Information pdf goes into specific detail about how to create the objects, and the

ZIP archive contains a set of .stl file objects for the s, p, d, and f orbitals.

Back to top of page.

Direction of the Magnetic Field Due to a Linear Current (Right-hand rule)

Picture of Magnetic field.

This print demonstrates the right-hand rule for the magnetic field produced from a current of strength I given by the equation B = μ0I/2πr. The current is represented by the central column with a cone to indicate the direction. The arrows indicate the direction of the magnetic field. This object has both Braille and text labels.

Files to download:

Back to top of page.

Magnitude of the Magnetic Field Due to a Linear Current

Picture of Magnetic field.

This print demonstrates how the magnitude of the magnetic field produced from a current changes with distance from I given by the equation B = μ0I/2πr. The current is represented by the central column with a cone to indicate the direction. The arrows indicate the direction of the magnetic field. The magnitude of the magnetic field at distances r, 2r and 3r are indicated by the height of the rings (1, 1/2, 1/3). This object has both GS Braille and text labels.

Files to download:

Back to top of page.

XYZ and IJK Coordinate Axes

Picture of XYZ axes. Picture of IJK axes.

These are right-hand X-Y-Z and I-J-K coordinate axes. These objects have both Braille and text labels.

Files to download:

Back to top of page.

Braille Labels

Picture of braille labels.

These labels were created with the Braille label maker OpenSCAD script. It may be useful to have labels for some of the objects on this site. Objects and appropriately placed labels may be glued (a hot-glue gun is particularly useful) to a base board after printing. Each label has a raised edge below the text for text orientation. The labels pictured above were printed with two high contrast colors filaments so that the braille text can more easily be seen. To do this, we paused the printer just before the braille layer and switched filament colors.

The following labels are included in the .zip file:
blue, frequency, pressure, red, speed, temperature, volume and wavelength.

File to download:

Braille Label Maker

Picture of a braille label.

This is the OpenSCAD file created to easily generate Grade 1 GS Braille. In the code, simply type the text you want on your label and the script does the rest. This script can be used to create labels of several rows. Note: labels with much text take a long time to render. The default braille character size is close to the Braille Authority of North America Size and Spacing of Braille at http://www.brailleauthority.org/sizespacingofbraille/ though we have found a dot size of 2 mm in diameter prints better and feels better than the official radius of 0.72 wich does not print well on our printer. Play around with this value to see what works best for you. The labels pictured above were printed with two high contrast colors filaments so that the braille text can more easily be seen. To do this, we paused the printer just before the braille layer and switched filament colors.

This code has been adapted from OpenSCAD 3D Text Generator, Made by tdeagan, uploaded Apr 29, 2013 to http://www.thingiverse.com/make:37162 and Braille OpenSCAD Font Module by Drayde, published Nov 13, 2010 to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4758

File to download:

Back to top of page.

Converging Lens Ray Diagrams

Picture of ray diagram. Picture of ray diagram.

These are several ray diagrams for a converging lens for when an object is placed at half, one and a half, two times and three times the focal length of the lens. These objects have braille labeling describing the converging lens.

Files to download:

  • zip file of Set of four converging lens .stl files.


  • OpenSCAD Converging Lens Maker file. This is the script used to generate the above files. There are two files in this zip archive, Optics_Ray_Diagram_Converging_Lens.scad and ORD_Modules.scad which needs to be placed in the same directory when running the optics ray diagram script. The ORD Modules script provides the information for creating the braille labels. In the .scad script, you can adjust the location of the object and the image and rays will be automatically calculated.
  • Picture of ray diagram maker OpenSCAD screen.Converging Lens .scad zip file. Keep both files in the same directory when using these in OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD script created by Christopher Marshall.

Back to top of page.

Cone of Apollonius: Conic Sections

Picture of the cone of Apollonius showing conic sections.

The Cone of Apollonius of Perga demonstrates the following geometrical objects that can be made from slicing a cone: circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola. Quadrivium.info has a nice article by Dennis and Addington about conic sections for Apollonius' cone.

This printable cone contains posts so that the parts can be conveniently assembled. The arrangment of objects when printing provides support to the posts so there is no need for additional support structures. This object was created using OpenSCAD.

File to download:

Back to top of page.

hit counter
Live Stats For Website


Creative Commons License
These 3D printable objects are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Last Updated: March 18, 2017.

For comments on webpage: sahyuns@uww.edu.
This page is © Copyright 2016 Steven Sahyun
Last updated: March 8, 2016 by SCS.
URL: http://sahyun.net