Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Can I use Blender to make 3D prints? The answer is yes and no. Blender is a free excellent 3D modeling software, so you can create your models in blender. But you will need a slicer software like cura or pursa slicer to prepare the model you made in Blender for 3D printing. A slicer software is where you set how detailed you want the model to be and much more for instance. filament type nozzle temp. Fortunately most slicers have premade configurations setup profiles. The slicer then makes a gcode file for your 3dprinter to print from.
Modeling for 3D printing
Back to Blender. You can model almost everything you can imagine in Blender, and it has very good sculpting capabilities. Look at this youtube video for more on sculpting in Blender
Blender has a bit of a steep learning curve, even though the user interface has become much more user friendly over the last couple of years. If you are a complete beginner in 3d modeling, Tutor4u has some great youtube videos to start from. See why in my mini review here.
Ryan King Art on youtube covers the basics on most features of Blender. Of course not everything, but Blender is a huge program, and it has many add-on possibilities. https://www.youtube.com/c/RyanKingArt try his penguin beginner modeling series and learn the basic.
So can I use Blender to make 3d prints? Yes, but you need to spend some time with Blender first 🙂
Boring but important stuff when you model for 3D printing
In Blender you can make things infinitely thin like a plane, but your 3D printer can't print things without thickness. You can use the solidify modifier in Blender to give thickness to models. It might act weird sometimes. Overhang is another problem, imagine you made a house with a window. Your 3D printer will not be able to print the top of the window 90 degree angle overhang without something called support. Support is 3D printer material that can be removed afterwards. Non manifold edges are something you always have to have an eye on when designing for 3D print. Here is a great guide about it. https://all3dp.com/2/non-manifold-edges/
By the way, it is a great site about 3D printing, and it has many articles about blender and a very interesting newsletter.
You slicer software can help you find non manifold edges and other issues and sometimes correct them for you.
Are you a maker?
I choose to put this part in the last section. You might be a maker diy type who wants to make precision 3d parts for your next project.
Even though I absolutely love blender 3D I designed many of my vases here on my site with blender. We even use it at my workplace. I have to say blender is properly not the best software to use for precision modeling. The reason is that blender isnt a parametric modeling software. Parametric means that you model in a way that makes it easy to afterwards change measurements if you want. Say you made a cool arduino case and discovered that it is too tight a fit or a hole needs to be moved, then it is much easier to change in a parametric software.
Parametric 3D software alternatives
Fusion 360 from autodesk is free for personal use if you generate less than 1000 USD per year. This guide shows you how to build a lamp precision made in fusion 360.
If you prefer free software there is Freecad
If you want to do precision modeling and stay in blender
Have a look at Maker Tales precision video series
Feel free to comment bellow on how you 3D model for 3D printing