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Can I use blender to make 3d prints?

Updated: Apr 26

Image two of the best 3D printers for consumers from Prusa and Bambu lab.

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. Blender 3D is very good at organic modeling fx. characters, not that it cannot be used create you shelf holder. There are better free alternatives for creating maker stuff with precise measurements, as you will see later in the article.

What is G-code, it is the language spoken by 3D printers.

G-code in 3D printing is a language that instructs the printer on how to create a 3D object. It contains commands that guide the printer's movements, like where to move, at what speed, and what path to follow. G-code is generated by slicing software, which converts a 3D model into layers and creates a path for each layer. Each line of G-code corresponds to a specific action, such as moving to a point or extruding plastic. The printer reads the G-code line by line to build the object layer by layer. This code is crucial as it translates digital models into physical objects. In essence, G-code is the set of instructions that a 3D printer follows to print an object. It is possible to modify the G-code by hand. It could be speed and temperature and much more. It is properly for more advanced users.

I made this short video showing the beginner in 3D printing and 3D modeling, how you can model a simple vase in blender export it to prusa slicer and 3D print it.

Modeling for 3D printing

Back to Blender. You can model almost everything you can imagine in Blender, and it has very good sculpting capabilities. Try to make this sodacan and learn basic modeling. The video is good because it shows each step very clearly.

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. try his penguin beginner modeling series and learn the basic.

If you prefer a written complete beginner guide. Here is a good one.

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.

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.

If you download 3D models on the internet, you might have tried to get 3D scanned models so high in resolution/polycount that the slicer program has difficulty opening the 3D file. You can use blenders decimate modifier to reduce the resolution/polycount and make the model more manageable. Here is a video that shows how to do it.

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.

In dept description of parametric modeling in 3D print designing.

In the context of 3D printing, parametric design plays a crucial role in creating customizable and adaptive 3D models. Designers can use parameters to adjust dimensions, geometries, and other characteristics of the model. This flexibility is particularly valuable when designing objects with variable sizes, shapes, or features. Parametric design allows for the rapid iteration of prototypes by simply tweaking the defined parameters. Additionally, it aligns well with the capabilities of 3D printers, as the parametric model can be easily translated into G-code instructions for precise 3D printing.

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

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