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08.00 Introduction

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After the ideation and iterative sketching phase of the design process, initial ideas for a 3D printing projects must be translated from sketch lines to 3D geometry in 3D modeling software. The parametric modeling features of Fusion 360 are well suited for 3D printing since it is easy to modify and change parameters to update a design. T-splines in combination with solid modeling can create most forms imaginable, but not all. Even if a form may be possible in Fusion 360, it might not be the most practical method to achieve some designs. Polygon mesh 3D modeling programs such as Blender or Maya can achieve some forms better and in less time than Fusion 360. Polygon mesh modeling software lacks the parametric precision of CAD orientated software like Fusion 360, but makes up for this limitation with much more freedom and ease of direct manipulation of the 3D model. As you explore 3D modeling for 3D printed output, this module introduces the basics of polygon mesh modeling in Blender and Maya.

Learning Objectives

  • Translate ideas from an ideation sketch to a 3D model
  • Work within the constraints of a design challenge
  • Use polygon mesh modeling in Blender or Maya as appropriate
  • Export STL files from multiple 3D modeling programs
  • 3D model a design that takes into account the limitations of FFF 3D printing
  • Understand object mode and edit mode in polygon mesh 3D modeling

Key Terms

  • Polygon Mesh
  • Blender
  • Maya
  • Overhang
  • Vertex
  • Edge
  • Face