How to prepare a model for 3D printing

Thicken vulnerable areas
Outstretched appendages from the core of your model might snap off during or after printing, if the point of contact or joint is too thin. Each package has a different name for this setting: Maya has Nurbs, 3ds Max has Curves and Lightwave has SubDs. This article originally appeared in   3D World   issue 183. Weight Distribution
Take the time to review how your model’s weight will be distributed. 05. During the production process, some materials are very delicate. Ceramic prints shrink about three per cent when fired and expand when glazed. If you want your model to stand by itself and not topple over, make sure the bottom of your model has a strong grounding. Words: Laurie Berenhaus
Laurie Berenhaus is a designer and educator with a focus on 3D design and printing. You might need to reconsider the pose of your character in order to bring appendages back to the core to create supported wires over free wires. 04. Making your mesh watertight
A watertight mesh is achieved by having closed edges, creating a solid volume. Hollowing out your 3D model can help you save on the expense of your print. This is especially necessary for models that are dyed because if excess powder is trapped inside your model, the model will not dye evenly. In 3D printing, these appendages can sometimes be referred to as wires. Because of casting, certain materials – such as brass, bronze, silver and steel – can shrink in production. Remove smoothing modifiers
When modelling, to create a high-poly feel with a low poly count, you typically use a smoothing modifier for faster render time. You may have to clean up any internal geometry that could have been left behind accidentally from booleans. Check your normals and make sure they all face outward (any flipped normals will be read as holes by the printer). 08. Think about size
Size your model to fit your needs and the printers. Maybe your model needs a base, thicker legs or multiple points of contact on the ground to hold it up. As you read on, we’ll explore some simple techniques that will help you tweak your models for successful 3D printing. Design for your material
In animation software, your model exists in a world without gravity or physics. If you were to fill your model with water, would anything leak out? You can now even print jewellery in gold. For your model to exist in a physical space, you’ll need to keep the material’s characteristics in mind, such as tolerances and uses. 01. 07. Escape Holes
The price to print your model is mostly based on the volume of material used. This will add to the strength of your model. Size is especially important for prints that fit together (like puzzles) or are worn (like rings). It is important that the escape holes are large enough for the support material to escape. It is best to have an escape hole so the excess material can be removed.

Updated: 21.11.2014 — 20:55