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Blender 3D Printing by Example

Book Description

Build four projects using Blender for 3D Printing, giving you all the information that you need to know to create high-quality 3D printed objects.

About This Book

  • A project based guide that helps you design beautiful 3D printing objects in Blender
  • Use mesh modeling and intersections to make a custom architectural model of a house
  • Create a real world 3D printed prosthetic hand with organic modeling and texturing painting

Who This Book Is For

If you're a designer, artist, hobbyist and new to the world of 3D printing, this is the book for you. Some basic knowledge of Blender and geometry will help, but is not essential.

What You Will Learn

  • Using standard shapes and making custom shapes with Bezier Curves
  • Working with the Boolean, Mirror, and Array Modifiers
  • Practicing Mesh Modeling tools such as Loop Cut and Slide and Extrude
  • Streamlining work with Proportional Editing and Snap During Transform
  • Creating Organic Shapes with the Subdivision Surface Modifier
  • Adding Color with Materials and UV Maps
  • Troubleshooting and Repairing 3D Models
  • Checking your finished model for 3D printability

In Detail

Blender is an open-source modeling and animation program popular in the 3D printing community. 3D printing brings along different considerations than animation and virtual reality.

This book walks you through four projects to learn using Blender for 3D Printing, giving you information that you need to know to create high-quality 3D printed objects.

The book starts with two jewelry projects-- a pendant of a silhouette and a bracelet with custom text. We then explore architectural modeling as you learn to makes a figurine from photos of a home. The final project, a human hand, illustrates how Blender can be used for organic models and how colors can be added to the design.

You will learn modeling for 3D printing with the help of these projects. Whether you plan to print at-home or use a service bureau, you'll start by understanding design requirements. The book begins with simple projects to get you started with 3D modeling basics and the tools available in Blender. As the book progresses, you'll get exposed to more robust mesh modeling techniques, modifiers, and Blender shortcuts. By the time you reach your final project, you'll be ready for organic modeling and learning how to add colors. In the final section, you'll learn how to check for and correct common modeling issues to ensure the 3D printer can make your idea a reality!

Style and approach

The profile pendant teaches background images, Bezier Curves, and Boolean Union. The Mirror Modifier, Boolean Difference, and Text objects are introduced with the coordinate bracelet. Mesh modeling, importing SVG files, and Boolean Intersection help make the house figurine. The human hand illustrates using the Subdivision Surface Modifier for organic shapes and adding color to your designs.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
    1. What this book covers
    2. What you need for this book
    3. Who this book is for
    4. Conventions
    5. Reader feedback
    6. Customer support
      1. Downloading the example code
      2. Downloading the color images of this book
      3. Errata
      4. Piracy
      5. Questions
  2. Thinking about Design Requirements
    1. Thinking about printing processes
      1. Home printing – Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printers
        1. Overhangs
        2. Detailing
          1. Layer height
          2. Extrusion width
        3. Wall thickness
        4. Other considerations – flat bases
      2. Home printing – Stereolithography (SLA) printers
        1. Overhangs
        2. Detailing
        3. Wall thickness
        4. Other considerations – drain holes
      3. Service Bureaus – Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and more
        1. Overhangs
        2. Details
        3. Wall thickness
        4. Other considerations – escape holes
      4. Comparing the Requirements
    2. Thinking about size
      1. Sizing for the printer
      2. Sizing for function
      3. Sizing for yourself
    3. Summary
  3. Using a Background Image and Bezier Curves
    1. Getting started
    2. Adding a background image
      1. Finding a good photo
      2. Adding the background image to Blender
      3. Switching to Orthographic View
        1. Perspective View
        2. Orthographic View
    3. Tracing with Bezier curves
      1. Moving the 3D Cursor and adding a new Bezier curve
      2. Changing Object Interaction Mode and editing the Bezier curve
        1. Moving control points
        2. Adjusting the shape of the curve with handles
        3. Adding additional control points
        4. Changing handle types
      3. Checking your work and finalizing your curve
        1. Deviating from the photograph
        2. Toggling Cyclic to close your curve
    4. Summary
  4. Converting a Bezier Curve to a Properly Sized 3D Mesh
    1. Converting a Bezier curve into a mesh
    2. Selecting vertices and making a new face
    3. Extruding to make 3D objects
      1. Understanding and viewing face normals
      2. Using Extrude Region
    4. Scaling and sizing the mesh
      1. Converting to the metric system
      2. Reading the current dimensions and scale
      3. Scaling a model by typing dimensions
      4. Fixing proportions by updating scale
    5. Summary
  5. Flattening a Torus and Boolean Union
    1. Creating and laying out a torus
      1. Adding a new torus object
      2. Positioning the torus
    2. Rotating the torus (for Service Bureau)
    3. Giving the torus a flat bottom (for home)
      1. Toggling vertex visibility and using border select
      2. Using Scale to align vertices
    4. Combining objects together with Boolean Union
    5. Exporting your work for 3D printing
    6. Summary
  6. Building a Base with Standard Meshes and a Mirror
    1. Working with a cube and cylinder
      1. Resizing the default cube
      2. Adding and sizing a cylinder
    2. Using Object Origins to line up objects
      1. Understanding Object Origin points
      2. Moving the cylinder into place
    3. Making the base whole
      1. Understanding the mirror axis
      2. Updating an Object's Origin to a specific vertex
      3. Adding a Mirror Modifier
    4. Summary
  7. Cutting Half Circle Holes and Modifier Management
    1. Duplicating and sizing a cylinder
    2. Placing the hole and preserving wall thicknesses
      1. Positioning with subtraction
      2. Positioning with a reference cube or ruler
    3. Mesh modeling to make a half cylinder
      1. Using Shift to multiselect
      2. Using Ctrl to multiselect
      3. Deleting vertices in the cylinder
      4. Creating new faces
    4. Making a hole with Boolean difference
    5. Changing your object with modifier order
    6. Summary
  8. Customizing with Text
    1. Adding a new text object
      1. Changing the text
    2. Changing font settings
      1. Finding the font filename
      2. Picking a new font
      3. Adjusting font size and line spacing
    3. Converting the text to a 3D mesh
      1. Using the text object properties
      2. Using the Extrude tool
    4. Finalizing the bracelet
    5. Summary
  9. Using Empties to Model the Base of the House
    1. Using Empties for reference images
      1. Adding Empties
      2. Rotating the Empties
      3. Scaling empties and adjusting for differences in pictures
      4. Setting Transparency and X-Ray Mode
    2. Modeling the base of the house
      1. Using Extrude and merging vertices
      2. Using Loop Cut and Slide
    3. Summary
  10. Mesh Modeling and Positioning the Details
    1. Modeling windows
      1. Creating a window as a separate object
      2. Adding shutters with a multi-cut Loop Cut and Slide
      3. Starting window panes with Subdivide
        1. Subdividing edges
        2. Controlling the number of cuts
      4. Finishing window panes with Inset
        1. Noting and applying exact thicknesses
      5. Raising the details with Extrude
    2. Renaming and copying windows
    3. Perfecting the positioning with Snap
    4. Summary
  11. Making Textures with the Array Modifier and Scalable Vector Graphics
    1. Making brickwork with the Array Modifier
      1. Adding an Array Modifier
        1. Picking the Fit Type
        2. Understanding the impact of scale on the Array Modifier
        3. Setting the Offset
      2. Nesting Array Modifiers
    2. Importing a Scalable Vector Graphics file for stonework
      1. Using the Outliner and Properties Shelf to find objects
      2. Scaling, rotating and converting to 3D mesh
      3. Combining with the Array Modifier
    3. Summary
  12. Applying Textures with Boolean Intersection
    1. Making template shapes
      1. Duplicating and separating vertices
      2. Joining and separating objects as a shortcut
      3. Joining and making new faces
        1. Deleting unnecessary faces and edges
        2. Adjusting vertex coordinates
        3. Creating new edges and filling faces
    2. Taking an intersection
      1. Adding a Boolean Intersection Modifier
      2. Previewing modifiers
        1. Switching viewport shading to wireframe
        2. Hiding the supporting object
      3. Making adjustments
      4. Applying and placing the Intersection
    3. Finalizing and exporting the house
    4. Summary
  13. Making Organic Shapes with the Subdivision Surface Modifier
    1. Thinking about overhangs and flat bases
    2. Making a low-poly hand
      1. Adding in reference images
      2. Modeling a low-poly hand from a cube
        1. Planning ahead for fingers with Loop Cut and Slide
        2. Shaping with Extrude and Scale
        3. Rotating faces and making manual adjustments
        4. Extruding and scaling fingers
      3. Modeling a low-poly hand from a plane
    3. Adding a Subdivision Surface Modifier
    4. Summary
  14. Trial and Error – Topology Edits
    1. Preparing yourself mentally
      1. Embracing failure
      2. Aiming for quads
    2. Adding extra edge loops
      1. Controlling rounding
      2. Shaping details
      3. Flattening the base
        1. Flattening with Loop Cut and Slide
        2. Flattening with Mean Crease
    3. Moving vertices and edge loops
      1. Selecting edge loops
      2. Sliding edges
      3. Rotating around the 3D Cursor
      4. Using Proportional Editing
    4. Modeling fingernails and wrinkles 
      1. Using Inset and Extrude for fingernails
      2. Using edge loops for wrinkles
    5. Summary
  15. Coloring Models with Materials and UV Maps
    1. Using materials
      1. Adding a material to the whole object
      2. Adding a material to specific faces
      3. Reusing existing materials
    2. Coloring with UV Maps
      1. Adding a new panel to Blender
      2. Unwrapping an object into a UV Map
      3. Marking and clearing seams
      4. Preparing to Texture Paint
      5. Painting in Blender
        1. Using the Fill Brush
        2. Painting in the UV/Image Editor
      6. Editing images outside of Blender
    3. Exporting and uploading X3D files
      1. Zipping up the model and image files
      2. Checking the renders for CMYK issues
    4. Summary
  16. Troubleshooting and Repairing Models
    1. Removing duplicate vertices
    2. Flipping face normals
    3. Finding and fixing non-manifold edges
      1. Exploring examples of non-manifold edges
        1. Faces without thickness
        2. Missing faces or holes
        3. Inconsistent face normals
        4. Overlapping and unconnected geometry
      2. Highlighting non-manifold edges
      3. Turning on and using 3D Print Toolbox
      4. Correcting non-manifold edges
    4. Repairing models with 3D Builder
    5. Summary