Chopper partitions a given 3D model into parts that are small enough to be 3D-printed and assembled into the original model. Left to right: the input chair model, Chopper’s partition (with a printing volume shown as a reference), printed parts, and assembled chair.
3D printing technology is rapidly maturing and becoming ubiquitous. One of the remaining obstacles to wide-scale adoption is that the object to be printed must fit into the working volume of the 3D printer. We propose a framework, called Chopper, to decompose a large 3D object into smaller parts so that each part fits into the printing volume. These parts can then be assembled to form the original object. We formulate a number of desirable criteria for the partition, including assemblability, having few components, unobtrusiveness of the seams, and structural soundness. Chopper optimizes these criteria and generates a partition either automatically or with user guidance. Our prototype outputs the final decomposed parts with customized connectors on the interfaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Chopper on a variety of non-trivial real-world objects.