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I just designed and printed my first 3D object.

The broken suction cup support

I have several window mounted cat shelves throughout the house. They are held in place by a series of four suction cups. There are two cups that provide support for straps that hold the bed parallel to the ground and create a surface for the cat to lounge on. This design means that these strapped cups provide most of the support to keep the bed’s occupant resting comfortably in a sunbeam and not catastrophically dumped into the floor. To that end, they have an outer plastic shell that holds the strap in place as well as providing reinforcement for the suction cup underneath.

Professional engineering diagram
Cup designed in Blender
Suction cup brace in Blender
Sliced in Cura
Sliced the design in Cura
First layer
Finished Print
Not a bad approximation
OMG it fits!
Holy crap! It worked first time!

I just finished my first serious papercraft model.

It definitely not perfect, but I think it turned out decently.


Source is here.

Set up units

Usually, when modeling for 3D printing, you will be using millimeters, so make sure that the scene is using “Metric” units and, specifically, set to millimeters.

Set up the view for small objects

When zooming in close to these small models, the view clipping is sometimes too far out from the camera. This can cause some visual oddities, like the following. The camera is outside of the isosphere’s mesh, but the clipping of the camera hides the faces of the sphere closest to the camera, making it appear as though the camera is inside the mesh.

A view of the Blender viewport clipping a mesh

To fix this, adjust the properties of the view.

  1. Bring up the Properties menu by pressing ‘n’.
  2. Select the ‘View’ tab from the right side of the panel that appears
  3. Change the ‘Clip Start’ to something smaller, until the object in question comes into view as you’d like.
A view of the Blender viewport with more appropriate view clipping settings

Turn on the 3D printing plugin

A “3D-Print Toolbox” plugin is available. I haven’t used it yet, so I don’t know anything about it yet.

Enabled 3D-Print Toolbox plugin

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