3d Printing with Blender 2.82, Fixing Errors and the Perfect Print

Using Blender 2.82, or any other version of blender in the past for modeling has been considered difficult for many.  However, I find that Blender as a modeling tool for 3d printing is not difficult at all.  While it has a lot of features built into it, and can perform many different functions, from modeling, to sculpting, to game engine development and video editing, modeling is one of the strong points. 

Using Blender to model my 3d prints has become second nature to me.  I would like to think that after five years of using it, that I’m very good with Blender, however, even now, I find new and alternative ways to model my 3d prints quicker, and more efficiently.

Once of the issues I’ve had in the past, and even now is that while I may spend an hour modeling something complicated, sometimes my models have errors in them.  Blender is not the most perfect modeling tool, but for a 3d artist, it is fantastic.  Somehow, every now and then, errors in my model result in non-printable 3d prints that have strange things happen while printing.

I’ve searched for a long time on how to fix these without a lot of work, or even having to start over.  No artist likes to start from scratch after they invested hours into a design, I’m no different.

In the video below, I’ll cover the quick and easy way I’ve discovered to fix certain modeling errors so that they will print well on my any of my SLA or MSLA, lcd, dlp printers.  After you have watched the video, read the description below for more information and help.

Quick Fix for 3d Printing of your Blender file

Modeling Errors from Blender

Let me start with repeating myself, and saying that as a modeling tool, Blender has a lot to offer, but it is designed more for the artist in mind.  Thus, while modeling, you may find that errors in your model crop up from time to time, and to be honest, you may not be able to find that quickly.

While Blender does come with a tool for helping you fix models for 3d printing, it is difficult to work with, and very time comsuming.  Because of this, I sometimes find myself starting over with a model, that should actually be easy to fix.  I have actually used the 3d printing addon tool for Blender, but, I don’t like it.  I will use it for very simple models only, where I have little details in my design.

So, what happens when I take the time to design a ring, that has all kids of details, and features in it.  A model that I have both sculpted, boolean’d, shaped and stretched.  Errors will crop up.  How the heck do I fox those, and how do I actually find those errors?  It isn’t difficult, and I’ll show you.

Finding the errors before printing

As you noticed in the video, (if you watched it).  I’ve modeled a ring, and it looks perfect on my screen while using blender.  It modeled well, it renders perfectly, and while the 3d printing tool shows errors, I can’t seem to find them easily enough to fix them.  The automated repair tool in the 3d printer tool box, messes up my model to the point it is unusable.  I spent two hours on this model, and I’m not going to loose it and start over.

Assuming that the model is good enough to print, I’ll export as an “.obj” file so that I can import it into my ChiTuBox slicer that I use for my Elegoo Mars and Epax X1, and QIDI printer.

The picture above, shows the model on the right that I imported into my slicer.  You can see that the surface of the model has holes in it.  If I look at the model from the bottom, the bottom has holes in it also.  This makes the slicer unable to produce the correct file to 3d print on my printers.

This is the most common problem with blender files, and the conversion to “.obj” files.  OBJ files are very detailed files used in the cad industry, and compatible with may different design and cad programs.  

So, are you wondering about the model to the left?  It is a file that I exported using blender.  Just as I did with the obj file, I used Blender to export the file on the left as an “stl” file.  STL files are standard files used in the 3d printing industry.  It is code generated to  send to a specific printer so that your model can be converted into a physical product.

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From within Blender (2.82), I use the export tool to send my design to my hard drive as an “STL” file.  This file can then be imported into my slicer.  

As you can see, the model imports perfectly, and the errors are gone.

I will admit now, that I do not know the exact details of the export script in blender, but I’m assuming that the difference in the file process from an obj file is much more specific to layer information on the model, then the actual faces and vertexes associated with a blender file or an obj file.

Is the model really fixed?

The file, for the most part, is not quite repaired just yet.  However, it is printable, and importable into any 3d printer slicer.

Once the file is stored on the hard drive as an stl file, I can then delete the model in my blender application, and import the stl file from the hard drive back into Blender.  Once I’ve done that, I can re-mesh the model with a modifier, or just re-save the file as a new blender file.

After I’ve imported it, I also go into edit mode, and look at all the details.  Once I’m happy with the fact that the model is not corrupt, and I’m happy with it, I can then export it as an “obj” file once again.   Then, I can import the file into my slicer and print it as I wish.

The model is fixed, it prints, and I can still import it into blender and make changes to it if I need.

Then! Why safe it as an OBJ File!

There are two significant reasons why I do not save all my files as STL Files.  First and most important, some slicers, and some modeling software programs commonly available today, do not allow certain types of STL files as imports and therefore can not work with them.

All slicers and 95% of modeling applications can, however, import “obj” files.  

The last reason I save all my files as “obj” files is that I sell my models.  If you don’t know about BlenderGems, you can check it out.  It is a collection of jewelry models for jewelry designers and others who wish to make custom items.

“OBJ” files are the best for that purpose.  And if you decide to do the same thing, sell models, you should consider using the most popular standard, “obj” files.

I hope that this helps you with your modeling, and if you run into the same situation that I have, I truly hope that this works as well for you as it does for me.

I’m not saying that this will work 100% of the time, but for me, I have yet to run into a model that it has not worked well for.

Happy Modeling, and good luck!

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