3D Design Software Lifehacks: Basic 3D Printing Features Every Designer Should Know About (Part 3)

For all who are new to 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Fabrication in general
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Sculpting tools are increasingly being included in more technical builder-style software. If you want to gently “nudge” or pull at vertices for a more organic look, check for a sculpt tool menu. If your software of choice is anything like Trimble SketchUp, you might not find one. In that case, you can use Blender’s sculpt menu to gently sculpt without significantly altering your vertices.

This is not a boolean. This hole was made from squares, and I deleted the inside. A lot of boolean tools don’t work on complex meshes, so “building a hole” instead of “breaking a hole” might be the best idea for your model.

“Boolean”/“Hole Making”

Most free boolean (i.e. hole making) features don’t work as well as professional ones.

A lot of free 3D design software, including Meshmixer and Blender, have boolean features that work in simple models with few vertices, but crash or don’t function as nicely on more complex surfaces.

On Blender, one workaround is to “build” a hole instead of “breaking” a hole. To “build” a hole, align your vertices into the shape of a hole, or as squares around a center square/polygon. Delete the center square, and then thicken the strcture by using a thicken modifier. Of course, this won’t help if your model has bad topology or too many vertices/squares/triangles/polygons.

Meshmixer has a “pattern” boolean feature that makes several printable holes at the same time. No building needed. It functions best on models with simple topology or relatively few vertices/squares/triangles/polygons– using it on a complex surface results in lag, and the results usually aren’t as nice.

To access the pattern feature on Meshmixer, click the “EDIT” button and select “Making Pattern:”

This is what patterns look like when printed. To access this feature on Meshmixer: EDIT => MAKE PATTERN.

Which time-saving 3D print software tools do you like best?

Created by Roxy in i.materialise.com

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