Prototyping With The Duplicator 5S Mini

We wanted to take an everyday item and morph it into something different...thus illustrating how simple it is to create different sizes and designs of pretty much any object. We found an STL file for a pill bottle and decided that although most small bottles of this sort are basic...there is a lot of room for customization based on size, shape, and containment volume.

We used Google's Sketchup to customize different parts of the original STL file.  Sketchup is one of the simplest CAD modeling programs to learn and it's available to anyone for free. We randomly changed aspects of the bottle in a subtle progression to show the morphing process. However, if the project called for particular features it could easily be modeled to exact specifications of the designer or client.

Included with all Duplicator 5 Series printers is Wanhao Maker. This simple to use software converted the STL files that we modeled in Sketchup into .i files...Wanhao's proprietary file format. Once we had 5 designs that we liked we printed them on one of our Duplicator 5S Mini's and they were ready for review in less than 24 hours.

Starting from the left side of the photo above you can see that the bottle design started very basic. The design progressed into a shorter bottle with a wider mouth and base.

A view from the top.

As shown above, the final model is substantially different from the first . The progression from the first to the last model took 5 different designs and 5 different prints. We estimate that this cost us somewhere around $20 in PLA material as opposed to nearly $1000 in production costs if the project had been outsourced.

The final prototype was first created in .10mm layer resolution however we wanted to provide a comparison model printed in .25mm layer resolution. The Duplicator 5S Mini can print as low as .02 mm layer resolution.

Another advantage of the Wanhao Maker software is the ability to quickly scale models in order to make them bigger or smaller. This provides the ability to choose the best size for your prototype by having a physical model that you can hold in your hand...another great advantage of the Duplicator 5S Mini.

For more information or to have us print you a sample model please contact us at

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