Blender, an open-source 3D modeling application, has been updated to version 2.67 and now includes a 3D printing “Toolbox” that will help users to prepare models for 3D printing. The new toolbox consists of four main sections which cover the following aspects of 3D modeling, Statistics, Error Checking, Cleanup and Export.
The Blender team have been testing their tools with a MakerBot and Lulzbot 3D printers and they will be creating a new training DVD to demonstrate 3D modeling to printing enthusiasts.
The 3D Printing Toolbox assists modelers when dealing with several problem areas of 3D printing. The statistics tool deals with the volume and face area of the 3D model which can impact the amount of material that is used. Error checking is made to ensure that the model’s faces are orientated correctly and that the model as a whole is solid.
When 3D printing object models it is important to ensure that the “wall thickness” or the minimum thickness of a surface that a printer can actually print. Blender will now highlight any area where the material will be thinner than a predefined threshold. A Sharpness tool will also highlight areas which are too thin to print and any problems with overhangs will be highlighted.