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I have an object that I want to print in 3D. But I have a few questions about it. What are the things that I have to watch out for when 3D printing?

I know how to change the metric size etc. Some people said that it's best to set the thickness to a low amount and not make the object solid (to leave the inside empty/hollow) in order to save money when printing.

Is this true or does it not matter?

Also what if I want two parts of an object to be separate colours or materials? Do I have to change this in Blender?

Any advice and information would be helpful, thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ Information about the printer you are using would be very helpful. Obviously a solid object uses much more material than a hollow one, so you need to find out how the printer interprets your models (do small tests?). Does the printer support multiple materials at the same time? If not, you'll need to pause the print at the right time and swap materials to change colors. You could set colors in blender as a guide, but this won't magically swap spools for you with a basic 3D printer. You may be able to set a stop point programmatically in case you forget, but again, this depends on the hardware. $\endgroup$ – Dan Jun 6 '16 at 15:52
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You are correct about the walls. Using a Solidify object modifier is probably your best bet. A low Thickness: value (0.1 is probably good) helps keep the walls thin but strong. You can monitor the thickness while you adjust the value from Wireframe view.

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Additionally, and this is probably the most important thing to know, your mesh must be clean. By clean, I mean it must all be one piece. No separate cubes, cylinders, etc. that you added while modeling, just one solid piece. Think about it this way. If you have added a cube and part of that cube is inside the rest, it might look good from the outside. But the 3D Printer isn't printing the outside, it's printing everything. So that wall, albeit hidden, that is present on the inside of your mesh will be printed.

Bad:

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Good:

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Lastly, if you have parts of your mesh that can't be printed from the bottom up, or wouldn't stand by itself, consider adding supports. You can always cut these off later.

Leg added because it wouldn't stand by itself:

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  • $\begingroup$ I have attached 2 images if you look up, i have another question. How should i place my object for printing? Should i put the text side face down so that it has something to stand on? $\endgroup$ – Ulus Jun 6 '16 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Ulus That would probably be best. If my answer helped, please consider accepting it. $\endgroup$ – Shady Puck Jun 6 '16 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again, for answering. Also i dont want the object to be solid inside, so would it be best to place a hole behind it? (I saw people do this in video tutorials )And if so where would be the best place? Please let me know if you have an idea i would be pleased :) $\endgroup$ – Ulus Jun 6 '16 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Ulus A hole? The solidify modifier will ensure that it is just walls. Do you want to be able to stick something inside through a hole? If you do, perhaps in the middle-back of the blocky mesh, underneath the center handhold. $\endgroup$ – Shady Puck Jun 6 '16 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Hm ok, i guess extruding and re-sizing the duplicated mesh to the inside will also work, then i will use a Boolean modifier to make a hole with a cylinder, that should work :) $\endgroup$ – Ulus Jun 6 '16 at 20:07
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What are the things that i have to watch out for when 3d printing?

non manifold geometry : geometry that can not exist in the real world.

It's a good idea to check if the dimensions of your mesh are correct before exporting:

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Turning on mesh analysis allows visual inspection of problems such as intersecting faces, sharp edges ,edges with thickness below a threshold and other criterias.
the inspection tool will color the faces with those problems.

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And lastly you can make selections by traits, such as loose geometry, interior faces or unconnected vertices.

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note that those are just tools to help you find the problems , none of them will fix the mesh for 3d printing.

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