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3D Design Software – Blender for 3D Printing #3DThursday #3DPrinting

This week, I am sharing about 3D design software that I recommend for those who want to get started with design and modeling for 3D printing.

Often when new designers encounter Blender for the first time, they feel overwhelmed and uncertain how to interpret the user interface. Part of the reason for this is that this tool is older than many of the more popular adoptions of UI strategies, such as Adobe’s Photoshop etc — Blender has been in development since around 1998 when it was an in-house application, designed to be fast to use rather than easy to use.

With a little bit of time spent getting to know the eccentricities of the Blender way to do things, 3D designers are quickly impressed with how much power this software package offers. In 2002, fans of the shareware version of this product joined together to buy the license so that it might become one of the first key open source software development success stories for the entertainment business.

In the past decade, Blender has expanded to include all of the bells and whistles required to create 3D art, animations, video games, and last but not least tools for 3D printing. There has never been a better time to learn Blender — many helpful resources for learning how to use Blender to design for 3D printing have come out this past year including a DVD set from the Blender Foundation itself: DVD Training 12: Blender for 3D Printing. I also strongly suggest Blender Cookie and the video tutorials create by Jason Welsh.

From the Blender website:

Blender is a free and open source 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Advanced users employ Blender’s API for Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools; often these are included in Blender’s future releases. Blender is well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process. Examples from many Blender-based projects are available in the showcase.

Blender is cross-platform and runs equally well on Linux, Windows and Macintosh computers. Its interface uses OpenGL to provide a consistent experience. To confirm specific compatibility, the list of supported platforms indicates those regularly tested by the development team.
As a community-driven project under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the public is empowered to make small and large changes to the code base, which leads to new features, responsive bug fixes, and better usability. Blender has no price tag, but you can invest, participate, and help to advance a powerful collaborative tool: Blender is your own 3D software.

Blender already supports 3D printing modeling and file-formats since 2002. With the latest Blender version (2.67) this now is even more accessible and powerful with the new 3D Printing Toolbox and real-time Mesh Analysis features….

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