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Blender and Bezier Curves for 3D Printing

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A presentation on using Bezier Curves in Blender to make designs for the new T-Shirt printer by Northern Virginia Community College's Innovation Lab.

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Blender and Bezier Curves for 3D Printing

  1. 1. Blender and Bézier Curves for 3D Printing Vicky Somma @TGAW http://www.tgaw.com
  2. 2. About Me ● Lead Software Developer for Food Safety Labs ● Mother of two boys (seven and five) ● Started 3D Modeling and printing designs with Shapeways in February 2014 ● Won the White House 3D Printed Ornament Contest in December 2014 ● Got my first 3D Printer in March 2015 ● Published a book on 3D Modeling in 2017 Two takeaways: ● You don’t have to apply yourself full time to learn 3D Modeling. ● You don’t need a 3D printer to get started 3D Printing.
  3. 3. 3D Printing Requires a 3D Model 3D Model -> Slicer -> Print
  4. 4. About Blender Expansive, free, open-source software for: ● 3D modeling ● Rendering ● Rigging and animation ● Game engine ● Video editing Interface can be overwhelming with lots to learn, but HUGE community behind it with lots and lots of tutorials and videos. https://blender.org
  5. 5. Blender - Windows and Screens ● Info View (Menu) ● 3D View ○ Tool Shelf ○ Properties Shelf ● Outliner (List of Objects) ● Properties Reference: https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/interface/window_system/introduction.html
  6. 6. 3D View - Navigating Rotate View Pan View Zoom In Zoom Out Mouse scroll wheel helps you view your work from all angles and distances No Mouse? http://www.blenderhut.com/use-blender-without-middle-mouse-button-or-scroll-wheel/
  7. 7. 3D View - Navigating View menu at the bottom of the 3D View has shortcuts to specific perspectives: ● Left ● Right ● Back ● Front ● Bottom ● Top
  8. 8. 3D View - Selecting Objects Left Click for Actions Scaling, Rotating, Moving (including "Moving 3D Cursor") Right Click for Selections Selecting Object, Vertex, Control Point, etc Screenshot from Blender 3D Printing by Example
  9. 9. Vertices, Edges, Faces The 3D models you make in any software will be comprised of: ● Vertices ● Edges ● Faces Reference: https://www.mathopenref.com/edge.html
  10. 10. 3D View - Object Interaction Mode Menu at the bottom of 3D View (or Tab) lets you change how you are interacting with your objects. ● Object Mode Actions for an entire object such as Add, Delete, Scale, Rotate, Move ● Edit Mode Edit specific details of an object-- even down to vertex level. ● Sculpt Mode, Texture Paint
  11. 11. Blender - First Project Each project starts with three default items: Screenshot from Blender 3D Printing by Example
  12. 12. Blender - Deleting Default Cube 1. Make sure you are in Object Mode 2. Right click to select Cube 3. Hit Delete key and confirm. Screenshot from Blender 3D Printing by Example
  13. 13. Bézier Curves ● Mathematically defined curves based off of “control points” and “handles” ● Not specific to Blender-- used in computer graphics, fonts (PostScript, TrueType), animations ● Developed to draw smooth curves for automobiles Reference: http://mathfaculty.fullerton.edu/mathews/n2003/BezierCurveMod.html
  14. 14. Why Start with Bézier Curves? ● Streamline making complex shapes, particularly flat ones. ● You aren’t defining every vertex. You’re defining curves (which Blender will turn to vertices later) ● Bézier Curves can also be used make 3D objects (Like the Cancer Ribbon) ● Once you master Bézier Curves, you can use them to add bends and curves to other objects. ● Bézier Curves knowledge translates to adding text and importing in outside logos.
  15. 15. Making It Easier with a Background Image When learning to write, we start with tracing. We can add a background image in Blender to trace without a steady hand!
  16. 16. Pulling in a Background Image 1. Click on the + or hit N to open Properties Shelf 2. Check Background Images 3. Click Open
  17. 17. Pulling in a Background Image 4. Browse to and pick image 5. Click Open Image
  18. 18. Viewing Your Background Image Upper Left corner of 3D View shows how you are looking at your object. By default, your background image is going to be visible in the Top / Ortho view.
  19. 19. Perspective versus Ortho We are looking at 3D objects on a 2D screen. ● Perspective View adjusts proportion to account for depth (like foreshortening a road to a horizon) ● Orthographic View keeps sizes intact regardless of depth (parallel lines) are parallel. Perspective is subject to optical illusions.
  20. 20. Viewing Your Background Image View->Top and then View->View Persp/Ortho Drone Credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/vector/drone-vector-gm604383194-103803029
  21. 21. 3D Cursor Where new objects are going to be added Can also be used for rotation, scaling and tweaking object’s origin points. Moving it is as action, so you move it with a left click
  22. 22. Add a Bézier Curve 1. Make sure you are in Object Mode 2. Left click to place 3D Cursor where you want to start 3. In Toolshelf, go to Create tab and under Curves pick Bezier
  23. 23. Control Points and Handles Switch to Edit Mode to change the look of the curve. ● Control Points The start point and end point of the curve. ● Handles Controls the impact and the shape of the curve, how it gets to its destination.
  24. 24. Moving a Control Point 1. Right click to select the point. 2. Left click in the white circle to drag or drop or left click on the arrows (Shortcut key G for grab).
  25. 25. Axis Arrow Cheat Sheet ● Red - X axis ● Green - Y axis ● Blue - Z axis
  26. 26. Adjusting Handles ● Right click to select the handle ● Left click to drag and drop.
  27. 27. Adding New Control Points ● Right click on the Control Point you want to grow from (that'll be the new starting point) to select it ● Control Left Click on where you want the new end point. Control-Z to Undo any mistakes
  28. 28. Changing Handle Type for Sharp Corners By default all your handles are "Auto" which keeps the curve as smooth as possible. For sharp corners, you don't want a smooth curve. ● Right click to select the Control Point ● In Toolshelf pick the Tools tab and under Curve Tools->Handles click Free
  29. 29. Finishing and Reviewing Work Alt-C for “Cyclic” mode, aka close the curve Reviewing Work 1. Switch to Object Mode 2. Hide background image if necessary.
  30. 30. Converting Curves to Mesh Curves have Control Points and Handles. We want a Mesh with Vertices, Edges, and Faces 1. Make sure you are in Object Mode 2. Right click to select curve 3. Object->Convert To->Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf Text
  31. 31. Converting Curves to Mesh Once a mesh, our Control Points and Handles are gone. We have Vertices!
  32. 32. Making a Face - Selecting All Vertices 1. Make sure you are in Edit Mode 2. Select->(De)Select All or hit A to select all.
  33. 33. Making a Face - Create Face 1. Mesh->Face->Make Edge/Face (or hit F)
  34. 34. Making a Face - Face versus Fill Make Edge/Face will make a single face and will fill any foles. Fill (Alt-F) will make a series of faces and will work around holes.
  35. 35. Sizing and Design Requirements ● With 3D Printing, think in millimeters ● What are you making? ● What are the size limitations of the printer? ○ Innovation Lab T-shirt Printer- 12" (304.8mm x 304.8mm) ● What are the size limitations of YOU? ○ A shirt on me would be more like 8” by 10” (203.2mm x254mm)
  36. 36. Reading and Setting Sizes in Blender Dimensions and Scale visible in the Properties Shelf. Treat default “Blender Units” as millimeters.
  37. 37. ● Type in exact Dimensions and match Scale to keep proportions. ● Or Object->Transform->Scale (S) to Scale with the mouse. Reading and Setting Sizes in Blender
  38. 38. Turning 2D to 3D with Extrude Our single Face has no thickness. The printer would have nothing to print.
  39. 39. Turning 2D to 3D with Extrude 1. Switch to Edit Mode 2. Switch to Face Select Mode 3. Right click to select Face. 4. In Toolshelf, under the Tools tab click on Extrude>Extrude Region 5. Type in exact height (0.5mm) or use mouse to size.
  40. 40. Turning 2D to 3D with Extrude Your 2D shape now has a thickness and is a full 3D mesh.
  41. 41. Exporting to STL STL is a file format compatible with the printer’s slicer. 1. Right click on what you want to export to Select 2. In the top menu, go to File->Export->Stl (.stl)
  42. 42. Exporting to STL STL is a file format compatible with the printer’s slicer. 3. Check Selection only 4. Pick a file name and hit Export STL
  43. 43. Using Scalable Vector Graphics Files Blender has the ability to import in SVG files. SVG files can be found at: ● Online repositories ● Graphics departments NOVAGraphics@nvcc.edu ● Make your own Inkscape, PhotoShop https://www.nvcc.edu/mascot/_docs/NOVA-Mascot-Logo%20Guidelines082316.pdf
  44. 44. Using Scalable Vector Graphics Files 1. Start a new project 2. Delete the Default Cube 3. Go to File->Import and pick Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  45. 45. Using Scalable Vector Graphics Files Does it look like nothing happened? Your SVG file may be there, just really, really little!
  46. 46. Using Scalable Vector Graphics Files SVG files import in as… Curves! You can make adjustments to Control Points and Handles. Like before, we’ll need to: ● Convert to Mesh ● Scale to proper size ● Extrude to give it height ● Export STL
  47. 47. Adding Text Text is an easy way to personalize something and make it your own. 1. Make sure you are in Object Mode 2. Left click to move the 3D Cursor where you want the text 3. In the Toolshelf, go to the Create tab and click Text under Other
  48. 48. Adding Text - Sizing Text will be “Text” at first. It may be hard to see. Multiple ways to make it bigger. 1) Hit S and using the mouse to scale. 2) Typing in a Scale in the Properties Shelf
  49. 49. Adding Text - Sizing 3) Adjust the Font properties in the Properties Window! a) Right click on Object to select it. b) Click on the F icon in the Properties window c) Increase the Size under the Font section. Note: These same Font properties can adjust the Font face and spacing between words and characters.
  50. 50. Adding Text - Customizing Changing the text changes the “shape”. 1. Switch to Edit Mode 2. The cursor is placed at the end of the text. 3. Backspace 4 times and type what you want.
  51. 51. Adding Text - Making It 3D Same steps as Bezier Curves. 1. Object->Convert to->Mesh From Curve/Meta/Surf/Text 2. Switch to Edit Mode 3. A for Select All 4. E for Extrude and type thickness
  52. 52. Working with Multiple Objects - Lining Up Switching your view may reveal alignment flaws.
  53. 53. Working with Multiple Objects - Lining Up Each Object has a yellow Origin Point. The Location in the Properties Shelf lists the exact coordinates of that point.
  54. 54. Working with Multiple Objects - Lining Up Each Object has a yellow Origin Point. The Location in the Properties Shelf lists the exact coordinates of that point.
  55. 55. Working with Multiple Objects - Selecting Multiple Objects can be selected with Shift-right click.
  56. 56. Working with Multiple Objects - Selecting Multiple Objects can be also selected with Select->Border Select (or hit B). Left click and drag a square around what you want to select.
  57. 57. Working with Multiple Objects - Exporting With both items selected, they will both be included in a single STL file when you export with Selection Only
  58. 58. Blender - Learning More ● Books Such as Blender 3D Printing by Example ● Tutorials & Blogs https://www.blender.org/support/tutorials/ ● YouTube Joe Larson (3D Printing Professor) If you see the name “Jonathan Williamson”, it is going to be a great tutorial.
  59. 59. Blender Not For You? There are lots of other modeling options (free and paid) out there. Shapeways has a compiled a great list of options at https://www.shapeways.com/creator/tools
  60. 60. Vicky Somma vicky@tgaw.com

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