invited post: 3D printing Worskhop review
Categories: at-karaj


On Saturday April 21st, Karaj ran a 3D printing workshop and 10 people from different backgrounds partipicated. Our host ( for the 2nd time) was none other than the wonderful Bilal Ghalib. Bilal gave the attendees an overview of 3D printing and even helped a couple make their own models. The workshop was a blast and everyone had a lot of fun! Here’s what Bilal had to to say about the workshop.

Adriana, my 3D printing buddy, has been with me from San Francisco to NYC to Beijing but it was amazing to be able to bring her to beautiful Beirut. I scheduled to be back at the fantastic new media and architecture workshop Karaj.

Before the workshop I was a little nervous – I knew that we had people sign up, but I didn’t know what their experience level was, or backgrounds. But it doesn’t matter if they know anything about 3D printing! That’s the point, I’m sharing accessible tools that allow ANYONE to design, manipulate and print 3d objects! I love doing what I do because I get to share tools and ideas that allow //anyone// to make!

Arriving in Beirut I called up a good friend Bassam, an old Karaj graduate who recently started his own side business

He helped me carry my bulging luggage to Karaj the day of the workshop, and left me on the busy street near Karaj with a falafel in my hand and a 3D printer in the other. Karaj is on a busy street in Beirut and from the outside is fairly inconspicuous, you wouldn’t know it was there except for the “Karaj” label on the doorbell. Leaving the noise of the street behind, I pull my giant bag up the stairs and am greeted by the wonderful Sima!


Sima had prepared the space, brought the snacks and was always supremely helpful – as usual. Karaj looks like a movie set from an old arab movie. Concrete walls, antique furniture with the added flair of modern design and electronics strewn about. I pulled Adriana out of her box and inspected the flight damage, it wasn’t much so we were good to go! Adriana is an UP, a 3D printer made by pp3dp.com. She’s not open sourced, but she’s cheap. And good. She’s been serving me well even though she has been taking lots of abuse in flights. She was ready for one more round of printing.

People started trickling in around 2pm, we started off with snacks and introductions. People came from advertising, design, engineering backgrounds. Some of them were 3D animators wanting to take their skills and bring it to life (3d printing is kind of awesome) and others were business people wanting to know where 3D printing was developing as a business tool. It was great! The curiosity of the room was palpable. I knew that one day with them would leave them with a tool that they would take in new directions.


We stared off with a general overview of 3D printing. How it works, what kinds of machines are there, what are the pros and cons of each machine and material available. We spoke about the hundred thousand dollar and up Objet machines that we have over at Autodesk in San Francisco and how they relate to the $1.5k open source Makerbot. My conclusion is that the free / open version of both the fused deposited plastic and the cured resin machines are about 80% of the production quality and 10% of the cost or less. It’s really great to be able to demonstrate how with a relatively small investment, people all over the world can have their own “pocketfactory.org“.

That is one of the main goals of all my endeavors. While sharing maker culture and accessible tools like the 123D app suite, arduino, makerbot / cheap 3d printers I hope to see peoples eyes light up with new ideas! Also new paths to creating new DIY businesses!



After a short intermission, it was time for the hands on part of the workshop. I could tell people were hungry for a print. We attempted a group catch of the lamp in the backyard after a short break. There’s a rig at 1 Market which takes about 30 pictures of your head and uses free software produced by Autodesk called 123D Catch to generate a 3D model. We ran the demo using pictures of my foot initially. I had used those pictures to try to make my own cast a month ago. Technically the experiment was flawless. The foot cast fit right over my foot perfectly. The problem was the pain of the cast hurt more than the broken bone!


This part is my favorite part of the entire trip. One of the designers was getting concerned about how technical the 3D printing seemed so I decided to have her run her own print as the concluding demo of how to take a drawing from a paper and print it. The steps are 1) Draw something, 2) Scan it, 3) Vectorize it in illustrator, 4) Extrude the drawing, 4) Print!


It was incredible to see her blossom. She took one of her designs, extruded it and saved the STL. Opened up the UP software and initiated a print and 5 mins later had a model of an bird. After her first print, she went back and iterated on that design by giving it a loop to make it a necklace! I knew my work was done. People were now using the machine to prototype jewlery. WOW!

Before I left, I made sure to give Bassam a Maker Bot. I’m leaving it behind in Beirut for a future competition. My goal is to excite more makers around the world so stay tuned! You might be in line to own your own 3D printing factory! What will you make?

More pictures here

4 Comments to “invited post: 3D printing Worskhop review”

  1. Sherif says:

    I would love to have my hands on one. + Hope to attend another 3D workshop!

  2. Bilal Ghalib says:

    Hey Sherif! I’ve left one behind with Bassam which is available for public use! It’s going to be given out in a competition soon too! Hope to hang out with you soon!

  3. Samer says:

    pretty cool stuff!

  4. ramzi says:

    is this available inb lebanon. Can we use the services ? any contact number or email plz ?

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