7 Essential Tricks to Prepare Your 3D Model for 3D Printing (Part 2)

For all who are new to 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Fabrication in general
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5. Were modifiers applied correctly?

If you applied a modifier, check to see if it applied correctly. What filters are to Photoshop and Instagram, modifiers are to 3D design. Modifiers are an essential part of 3D design, and save time on repetitive tasks. They are commonly used to add wall thickness, smooth hard edges, create symmetry, deform models, combine parts, and make holes (i.e. “Boolean”). But incorrectly applying a modifier can wreck your model, and make it unprintable.

Solution: Save a separate version of your design before applying any modifiers. That way, an incorrectly applied modifier won’t destroy your work. Pay attention to the order in which you apply modifiers, and try changing the order if your file didn’t print. Check your design immediately after every modifier you apply. Check thin walls, holes, and other delicate areas. Your eyes can spot flaws the computer can’t.

Attack of the Modifiers! Modifiers are to 3D what “filters” are to 2D graphics. The order in which you apply modifiers can determine whether your file prints. Save a copy of your file before you apply modifiers, and check your project after each modifier you apply.

6. Does your 3D model have flipped normals?

Is your model inside-out? Computers see one side of your model as the “outside” and the other as the “inside.” This is not always obvious to people, but is as obvious to computers as differences between the “outside” and “inside” of clothing are to humans.

Unlike clothing, computer models let you turn part of an object inside-out without turning the entire object inside-out. Sometimes users do this on purpose, other times it’s by accident. But if part of the outside is inside, and part of the inside is outside, computers cannot print the object. They get confused! Not all services have the built-in feature to automatically detect and fix this problem.

This problem is commonly referred to as “flipped normals” and is one of the easiest to fix: look for your design software’s “Recalculate” or “Flip Normals” button. It automatically identifies the flipped vertices, and flips all the outsides outward, and the insides inward. Perfect!

i.materialise’s 3D Print Lab automatically flips some types of vertices pointing the wrong way around. Not all 3D printing services have that feature built-in.

7. Did you checked for flaws with a software?

Have you finished post-processing? There are several post-processing “mesh repair” software packages to choose from. Our free “Minimagics” software can identify common flaws for you. Get your free download here.

A screenshot of our MiniMagics software.

Sticking to this list of 7 tips and tricks should help turning your 3D model into a 3D print. But never fear: if you upload a 3D model to our 3D printing service, we will always double-check if your design is printable. We’ll fix mistakes on the spot or send you detailed instructions of what you need to do to enhance your design. Also make sure to take a look at our material pages before you place an order. You can find valuable information – such as minimum wall thickness – for each 3D printing material there.

Creat by Roxy

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