3D Printed Monogram

Project Overview

For this project, students are given an overview of typefaces and type design. They are then required to create an alphabet with 26 original drawn characters to formulate a final design iteration. Students learn about additive and subtractive functions in Photoshop to edit their letter form. Students also utilize the 3D function in Photoshop to convert their letter form into an .obj file, ultimately sending that file to Makerbot for printing.

Project Submitter

Breanne Kanak

White Lake School District

Applicable DPI Subjects

Art & Design

Graphic Design

Equipment Used and/or Required

3D Printer


Time Required

One Week

Scenario, Criteria, & Constraints

Students are asked to design their own 3D-printed monogram from their own initials or a favorite letter of the alphabet. In order to complete this project, students must create an original design for their letterform/monogram initial, engaging the following competencies: 

  • Proper use of Photoshop tools

  • Understanding of layer functions and significance

  • Correct use of drawing tools

  • 3D functions in Photoshop


The monogram must conform to the size of Z axis; the dimensions of the letter(s) must fit within the constraints of the classroom Makerbot Replicator Mini build plate/area.

Project Steps

Steps to completing this project are as follows:

  1. Open photoshop

  2. Create new document 

    • 8.5 x 11 inch dimensions (standard letter size)

  3. Use the type tool to type a letter of your choice

  4. Use the font selection tool to find a typeface that appeals to you

  5. Change the size of your letter form to 300pt

    • This will make it easier to see your changes being made

  6. Create a new layer – title it paint layer

  7. When you switch to the paint brush mode, the program will ask you if you want to RASTERIZE your type. Click OK

    • You may use the paintbrush tool to create designs, drawings, patterns, logos, etc.


  8. Use your rectangle tool to create a ‘base’ shape for your letter.

    • Make it around the same width, or larger than, your typed letter

  9. Select your rectangle layer, paint layer, and type layer

  10. MERGE these layers together

    • Click off of visibility for your background layer; we don’t need it anymore

  11. 3D: Create new Extrusion from selected layer

  12. Click on object with move tool


  13. Change extrusion depth to 100

  14. Go to 3D and select “Export 3D Layer”

    • SAVE Model as a wavefront .OBJ file

    • Call it whatever you like!

  15. 3D export options. Click OK

  16. Open Makerbot Software

  17. ADD FILE to workspace

    • Choose file from folder


  19. Scale Object Dimensions (X value) to 20mm

  20. Select print preview

    • This lets you see how long your print will take to finish and the amount of layers/passes

Learning Outcomes

After completing this activity, students should be able to:

  • Use additive and subtractive functions in Photoshop to edit a letter form

  • Utilize the 3D function in Photoshop to convert their letter form into an .obj file

  • Send a 3D file to Makerbot for printing

Related Files

Forum Discussion

Have questions or need help with this project? Check out project-related discussions on the WiFAB Forum for advice and feedback on this project and others.​