3D Printed Volleyball

Volleyball is my greatest passion. I started playing when I was 11 years old following in my older brothers footsteps. Early in my career, I was a starter on a nationally ranked team and later chosen to play on the youth USA national team (High Performance A2, Phoenix 2008) where we won the gold medal in an international tournament. I continued my journey into being a starter for a NCAA team. Volleyball has given me the opportunity to learn teamwork, experience small doses of fear and failure and quickly take action on it, and keep my mind and body in great shape. I now play competitively in beach volleyball.

I have been fascinated by 3D printing and I wanted to model and print something meaningful to me to learn more about the actual practice. A volleyball was an easy choice. The model was designed using Solidworks.

Update #2

  • Printed the volleyball in black PLA plastic.
  • Painted sections with a red, acrylic paint pen

Key Takeaways

  • The raft (support for printing) proved to be bothersome surface to paint on because it was not smooth. A better approach to print the volleyball in seperate halves, with the largest diameter on the printing plate. Then adhere the halves together to give a better surface finish.


Update #1

  • I added more of a curve to each of the layers so that it printed out more like a volleyball and less like
  • I printed the volleyball on a Makerbot Replicator 2

Key Takeaways

  • My 1st design I brought in had a thin wall to minimize the amount of material used. A experienced 3D printer showed me how infills worked (honeycomb design that gives strength and minimal use of material) and that I didn’t need to redesign a solid feature to save time and material
  • Longer prints have a higher chance to fail. My 1st print (shown below) failed halfway through its 2 hour print. The feed stopped at one point and had to redo my design.

Original Model

  • A volleyball has 6 sections that are identical, but rotated in a different direction. I modeled the section and used the move and copy feature to connect all of them
  • It is likely I will be using one material, and one color for this 3D print. An issue I discovered is that there is no depth to distinguish the different colored portions of the volleyball. As shown below I need to make a revision to fix this, otherwise I will be printing a sphere.



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