I sculpted something on blender for my friend’s birthday (my first project using blender so I am still very much a noob), and I’m curious how to prepare it to be 3D printed, i’m not sure if there is anything I need to do for that. I figured I’d ask!
There are probably two main parts to this-
- Requirements for exporting, and how to actually get your model printed (exporting and sending to a slicing program)
- Best practices for modeling for printing.
For the first part-
A lot of slicing programs (programs that take models and ‘slice’ them into layers for Gcode) do a lot of the labor for you these days in making what would normally be a difficult process less so.
To print, your mesh geometry must be:
- Closed (no holes)
- triangulated (each face should be made of no more than 3 vertices)
those are the MUSTS. A lot of slicers will do this for you automatically, but there are many things to consider when modeling for printing, such as:
- overhangs: is there something that will have space below it? If you make a crevice in your model, and you build support for it, can you retrieve the support? Overhangs will need supporting (again, can be done in a slicing program) so that they can physically be built. Sometimes, breaking things off and printing as separate pieces gives you better results in the long run.
- Mesh density: Too many vertecies in a small area will cause issues. if there is a VERY dense area, it is best practice to simplify and merge where you can, without losing details. This is more true for traditional 3D printing.
- Sharp and thin: 3D printers extrude thin lines. They are not structurally sound by themselves. Things like swords and sharp or tips, come out awfully unless you thicken them a little bit. sharp Tips will always be limited to how thick the extrusion is. You can also have issues with adhesion in this case. You may want to thicken things that carry weight (like necks on a character for example, or legs/ankles). There will usually be some sacrifice made, whether it’s look, stability, or assembly.
- designing structurally: a 3D printer builds layers, and like wood; layers are stronger in one direction than the other. A long ‘rectangular prism’ for example, is best printed on its side, because vertically, with many more layers, is a lot more brittle. Layers break off from each other a LOT easier than typical plastic. when you’re designing to print, think about if structural quality will matter.
There is a lot more, but you can find that stuff on youtube, I hope that’s helpful.
In Blender there are 3d tools. Maybe default on but check preferences. You can check a mesh for printing, it looks for manifold which is clutch but can fix a lot of other things. You can learn non destructive ways to model and not worry if you stick to some rules. But yeah a whole tab I believe you can directly export from that tab. If you export via menu make sure the object selection gets exported not the whole scene. Feel free to email me [email protected] my messages don’t go to email digest as far as I know, it’s been a problem for over a year and I’m dropping years worth of info but nobody sees it. Hope you do.
I do a lot of cloth physics, solidify is your friend!
But yeah upgrade to latest enable 3d tab. I don’t know why we don’t teach blender it’s free non cloud and unlimited resources and ability. I’m able to do professional work just fine.
Blender is a great resource for the Maker community. It might be nice for a class at Generator on it, both beginner and intermediate. I would love to see more polls geared at members towards class interests.
As an aside, I could teach classes like that, I am a 3D and illustration professional by trade (and professor), but time:money is always a rub.
It’s free and there are just too many free lessons available to make teaching it worthwhile for anyone that has a job doing it. Like the cnc you come out with a skill that pays more than the teacher. So it’s basically volunteering.
I get people learn different but you can watch a video, pause, do it, continue. Post publicly for feedback. It’s all free knowledge and peer support not a business model. Even though it’s most effective anyone can learn and teach an intro class so hard to capitalize on free software, same with Adobe.
I will always disagree with locking people into paid software, everyone should have a choice.
This helped a lot! One question though, you were talking about slicing programs- is there some better than others? Also I’m guessing the computers at Generator have a slicing program on them, do you know which one those have? I think having the same one would probably make things easier for me.
The slicer is independent of modelers typically, though I would not be surprised to hear if some of them started to incorporate it.
Ultimately Blender should be able to spit out/export an stl or obj. After that you will want to use the prusa slicer, a freebie, for the printers at generator. The ones at the Generator are preconfigured for the specific machines but once you start getting use to it you can always experiment with other slicers
I needed this information as well. I am working on turning 2D images to 3D obj format in Blender for 3D printing.