So you want to design something in Blender to 3d print at Shapeways

http://youtu.be/ZnCf-5G7DYc This is the most excellent tutorial by Jonathan Williamson about how to model for 3d printing in Blender…My steps come from this video…

Blender is a free 3d animation software…

Shapeways is a company that will 3d print a design you make in Blender…

Very very basic first steps in Blender(WE are using the default cube as an example & the sizes of things are based on a  teeny tiny minimal size 3d print-really the smallest thing you might want to have made):

Step 1: In SCENE -change your UNITS to METRIC

Step 2: In the Properties Panel (N) change your DIMENSIONS to x: 4 cm  y: 4 cm z: 4 cm

Step 3: In VIEW, ALIGN VIEW, VIEW SELECTED

Step 4: In Properties Panel again (N), in View there, at CLIP: Change START: 1 mm (change start to 1 mm)

Step 5: Add Modifier, SOLIDIFY (Also change to Wireframe mode to see the inside of the cube)

Step 6: Hit CONTROL A, SCALE

Step 7: In Solidify change THICKNESS to 0.7 mm (Shapeways minimum thickness) (Note, Blender will change that reading to 700 um don’t worry)…

Step 8: (Go to solid mode), Go to Edit Mode, SELECT the BOTTOM FACE, Hit “I” for INSET, that creates an inset that you can adjust the size of…

Step 9: Your ESCAPE HOLE (the Inset at the bottom face) has to be minimum 2 mm …You can make it bigger…(Say 4 mm)…

Step 10: If you are measuring your inset hole, use S to scale, Hit SHIFT S, SELECTION TO GRID (this will snap your inset hole to the nearest grid edge)

Step 11: With your Inset Hole (Escape Hole) Selected, the face, Hit X, then DELETE FACE…This makes a hole in the bottom of your Cube…

Step 12: The hole in the bottom of the cube is important, integral, because the cube should be hollow & the 3d printers need a hole for the middle stuff to be removed from…So you MUST have a hole in the bottom of your sculpture for it to be hollowed out!!! (Escape Hole it is called)…

Ok at this point you can EXPORT your file according to what Shapeways wants…File, Export, then choose the one you want…(OBJ, STL,COLLADA)…

Note: Shapeways has specific parameters of what they want from Blender…They also have a tutorial…Must read! Really…

3d print
Here is what your hollowed out cube looks like in Wireframe Mode in Blender…Notice the hole in the Bottom…This file is ready to print…

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