How to Model: Self-Packing Scutoid in SOLIDWORKS

Some exciting news has broken out in the scientific and mathematical community. In July 2018, a paper was published by P Gómez-Gálvez: Scutoids are a geometrical solution to three-dimensional packing of epithelia. So the first question you may have is: What is a scutoid? That is the exciting news! A scutoid is a 3D shape discovered by researchers. It is described as a mix between a frustum and a prismatoid. This can be hard to visualize, so here is a picture!

Scutoid Picture

You can see that the scutoid shown has two sets of parallel faces: a hexagon and a pentagon. The uniqueness of the shape lies in how they are connected. There is one side where there is a smaller triangular face. This “Y” shaped connection is what makes a scutoid a scutoid.

So why is the scutoid such a special shape? One of its most special properties is that (when the lengths of the sides are in the right proportions) they pack efficiently. We can see this in the image below.

Scutoids Packing With Each Other

It’s actually kind of funny how this shape wasn’t discovered but occurs often in nature. In fact, “scutoid” was given its name because it resembles the scutellum of an insect, but it also describes how some living cells pack together to save the most space. This really is an amazing shape.

So with that, let’s model a scutoid, but not any scutoid, a scutoid that packs with itself!

Watch the video to find out how!

I hope you enjoyed the video and thank you for watching, if you know us at DesignPoint–nothing is ever done unless a 3D Printer is involved. Of course we had to get a tangible (and super strong) version of this at the office. Printed in our Markforged X7, check it out!

3D Printed Scutoids

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Author: Robert Maldonado, Application Engineer at DesignPoint

DesignPoint is passionate about building solutions that help product design, engineering and manufacturing companies maximize their potential. By developing trusted partnerships, we help our customers achieve game-changing results and support them in their journey as they strive for more. With DesignPoint, More is Possible.® Our solutions include SOLIDWORKS 3D software, 3D Systems and MarkForged 3D printers, technical support, training and more. Contact us today at!