Student Work: 3D Printer


INEFFABLE is a project completed by First Year student Eden Touil Tartour, as she used 3D printing to solve a problem. Her project was featured on MakerBot Stories.

Eden breaks down the process:

Solve the problem of communication – from boundaries of language, sight, sound and speech – that concern absolutely everyone. Is there an alternative way to communicate more broadly?


Create an image-based language that questions semiotics and the appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture that can be understood by everyone. A 3D object makes this possible.


There’s a simple code to learn to be able to understand the language where each shape represents a word, but combined with a sphere or a cube, for example, can change its meanings. Its place in the sentence can change its meaning too. The idea is to design the most simple and concise language possible. Well-known architects Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid served as inspiration for designing the forms.

The first sentence ever written in this language is “There is no word to describe”. I thought it was appropriate and meaningful because as paradoxical as it may seem, this language is not using words anymore. Plus, I wanted to write it because it was often hard to describe what I thought, saw and felt when developing the project.


There is a MakerBot: Replicator 2 available for student use in the Digital Lab at Parsons Paris, and this project was the perfect excuse to experiment with 3D objects. As I was looking for a new futuristic universal language, I wanted to use a machine that is forward thinking.

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I created the designs using the software Rhinoceros, which I discovered in the course of this project as well. It took me two to three hours to design each shape. I worked on all of them at the same time to create harmony between the shapes, which have to talk to each other in order to make the language work. The 3D printer allowed me to create these complex and rounded shapes in a very short period of time. The printer produced the designs consistently, and each came out after 4 to 7 hours of printing. I launched the printer every evening for a week to print the seven white objects.


As it was the first time I was using a 3D printer I did not know how my designs would look and feel like after they were printed. I started with some preliminary tests. One night, I launched a 3D print, but it fell after 30 minutes of printing because my design wasn’t balanced. After this first fail, I understood that my designs had to be perfect and stable before launching any print. I usually used the option “support on” on the MakerBot software for security. The MakerBot: Replicator 2 model allowed me to create 15x15x15 cm objects approximatively, which is the perfect size for objects that fit in hands.

For this project I decided to use a PLA plastic filament rather than an ABS, because the former is corn-based, biodegradable and less harmful for the environment. The forms use a significant amount of filament, so the goal was to be as sustainable as possible. Each shape came out differently in terms of textures: one might be slightly smoother, another might contain ridges. These differences add to my concept, as those who are blind would be able to recognize the objects not only by feeling their forms but also through their textures.

Take a closer look at INEFFABLE on Eden’s project website: Abstract Language.


Images by Eden Touil Tartour and PuxanBC.


Learn more about the BFA Art, Media & Technology, and MFA Design + Technology at Parsons Paris.