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:


  • Avizo Higher-End Workstation: Dell T7910 with 256GB RAM, 512GB PCI-SSD boot drive, 2 TB scratch drive, and NVIDIA Quadro M6000 GPU card.
  • Two high-end graphics workstations (Dell T7600) with SSD boot drives and the RAM and Hard drive capacity to handle multi-GB CT datasets and CAD models.
  • The GeoFabLab currently runs MakerBot Replicator 2X and Replicator Mini producing scale models of porous geological materials. We will be receiving a Form2 3D printer in early 2016.
  • The GeoFabLab also a MakerBot Digitizer and NextEngine 3D scanners. GFL students are busy scanning everything that they can from the geology collection...check out the GeoFabLab's page on Thingiverse.
  • CT scanning is being accomplished through collaboration with Dr. Joe Gray at Iowa State's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE)


The Scan, Model, Print, Share Workflow



Academic Journals specializing in digital methods

Interesting geological uses of 3D Scanning and Printing