Everything Digital, Everything Art

Using Blender For Precise Models

Not long ago someone mentioned that Blender was not good enough to create precise models for printing, and that it lacked the ability of exact measurements. Since then, I’ve been very confused as to why someone would say that. Sure, it’s not a CAD program, but the entire properties panel has lots of precise information about an object.

Of course, I took it upon myself to create something “precise” in Blender to figure out exactly why this statement was made, but I also want to know what others think of this comment. Blender is not made for Engineers, but even then, there are a lot of tools in Blender to accomplish this.

The model was a custom ruler I wanted for my concept sketches. I changed my world units to inches, and as I created each shape, I used the modal to input the exact measurements. When moving objects, I also typed in exact movements, or used the increment snapping for exact movements. Some times I even used vertex snapping with a single axis to line up with a vertex I knew was already at an exact point.

Each mark on the ruler was done with an array, where the offset was 1 inch. As I created each object, turning on the edge length property allowed me to make sure that there was not a single edge that was below 0.00039 inches. This let me know that the detail was not too small for my 0.01mm printer nozzle. The first ruler I made was 8″ long, and then forgot my current printing platform could not reach that length, so using the knife tool, I cut directly on the 6″ mark, and cut it down to exactly 6 inches. I was planning to use the ruler tool, but later found I didn’t need it.

Aside from being able to make an exact sized model to print, I was able to cut the model to an exact size to fit my platform. There isn’t much else you could ask for to create such models. Even if you’re sculpting, you can create an exact sized wireframe box to use as a “cage” for your model showing your size limitation.

On the right, you can see that it sliced perfectly, and each number is large enough for a shell and infill. This will print nicely.

To find out even more, check out the book Precision Modeling in Blender .