Franek Hasiuk, Department of Geological and Atm Sciences

GeoFabLab at Iowa State

GeoFabLab Logo


follow us on Twitter! @geofablab

See what we are modeling on Thingiverse!

The mission of the Geological Fabrication Laboratory is to develop and deploy novel techniques for describing and interpreting geology. This is accomplished by not only through a deep understanding of industry and academic techniques, but also by interactions with other fields of research like materials science and biotechnology where people are interested in porous materials, microscopy, surface chemistry, etc.

Reseach Focus:

Printing Permeable Porosity: The current focus of the GeoFabLab is to produce a workflow for photocopying rocks. That is, by combining CT scanning, 3D visualization and editing, and 3D printing, we think we can make useful reproductions of porous geological materials for reservoir flow research.

Broader Impacts:

  • Models for the Masses: GeoFabLab is busy scanning as many geological things as it can (Now over 100 model uploaded to Thingiverse) so anyone in the world (with a 3D printer) can print out any geological thing their heart desires. Some examples:
  • Touchable Topography: GeoFabLab seeks to streamline the production of 3D printouts of digital elevation data for learning and research. Some examples:
  • Flexible Fossils: Inspired by a flexible trilobite model on Thingiverse, GeoFabLab would like to create models of organisms (fossil and otherwise) that move to imporve understanding of moden and ancient life.

Press coverage of the GeoFabLab:


On-line sources of free 3D models (and places to publish your own models!)...

On-line 3D PRinting Communities


3D capture and modeling programs...

  • Free software
    • Blob3D and Quant3D (UTCT's CT analysis software, requires free IDL install)
    • MeshLab (Mesh editor)
    • Meshmixer (Autocad)
    • Blender (Full-featured 3D graphics program)
    • Autodesk 123D (basic 3D graphics programs/apps integrated with cloud services, free account needed))
    • SketchUp (basic 3D graphics program integrated with 3D Warehouse, free to educators)
    • Scenect (3D scanning program for the Xbox Kinect sensor)
    • OpenKinect (3D scanning program for the Xbox Kinect sensor)
    • OpenSCAD (basic 3D modeling software with a "programmer's interface")
    • 3DTIN (web-based)
    • TinkerCAD (web-based, free account needed)
    • Wings3D (polygon modeler)
    • SPIERS: The Serial Palaeontological Image Editing and Rendering System
    • 3D Slicer:
    • OsiriX:Open-Source PACS Workstation DICOM Viewer
  • Commercial software
    • AutoDesk (Industrial CAD software ecosystem)
    • SolidWorks (Industrial CAD software ecosystem)
    • PolyWorks (3D scanning and metrology software)
    • Avizo (formerly Amira)
  • Commercial Print Labs (Upload a model, they send you a 3D print)