Learn the art of STL-bending!

It is 2018 now, and the thing to do is, of course, start with a big “new year, new me” resolution. But we also know how hard those are to stick to. Easy solution? Just post a photo of yourself and throw Instagram filters on it until all your Internet friends forget you’re still the exact same person as last year. Well, this one’s not getting any better…

But what if you could do the same thing for your 3D printable models? Use a filter, make it smoother, turn it into a wireframe or a low-poly model with minimum effort or even draw on it and sculpt with a digital 3D printing pen that comes with an undo button? Well, that’s what I’m going to show you how to do today. As always, we’re going to use free software, so anyone can follow along, and these filters work on basically any 3D model, so even with designs that you simply download from Thingiverse or Youmagine as a good old .stl file. Let’s get to it!

Okay, so obviously, playing with 3D models isn’t quite as swipey-tappy as the real Instagram. But it’s not much harder, either, once you know the basic moves. What we’re going to be using today is Blender, a completely open-source program probably best known for being an awesome tool for creating and rendering out 3D animated shorts and movies. You all know Big Buck Bunny, right? Blender can be downloaded for free here. Depending on what slicer you use, you might also need Meshmixer or Netfabb for some post-processing. I show you how to get Netfabb Basic for free right here and Meshmixer is and has always been free anyways. I’ll be slicing my models in Cura 3.1, which deals well with even somewhat sketchy stl files and also lets me cut off the bottom of a part, which is great for when your processing distorted that bottom surface somehow.

Now, what I’m about to show you is by no means exclusive to Blender, tools like Meshmixer or MeshLab can also do some very similar things, but Blender feels very powerful and polished and it does work really well, especially when compared to MeshLab, which isn’t exactly known for running all that smoothly.

Ok, so while that’s all printing, let’s talk about my new year’s resolution: Being more grateful, focusing on the positive and all the things I and we as a community have achieved. 3D printing has become better, cheaper, easier, more accessible than ever. On this channel, we’ve already managed to cover so many important topics, and for 2018 we’re going to cover even more. Heck, I’ve even hired a full-time employee to help me keep making more quality content for YouTube – and the best thing is: This is all made possible through your support, either by just watching the videos or by contributing directly on Patreon and otherwise.

Patreon has actually reversed their fee restructure, so just like before, even a small $1 pledge a month is totally viable.

So these are some basic ways to process an stl and make it look better, more interesting or simply, well… more unique. But as always with customizing things, what I showed you here is only just scratching the surface of what’s possible and it’s up to you to make the best use of these tools. Combine effects, take the files in and out of Blender and into other software and come up with your own ways to process the designs we already have and make them your own. If you find a look you like, don’t forget to share your recipe in the comments below!

If you’re just looking for some cool owls to print, you can also find them linked down there. I, for one already have an idea of what I’m going to use this process for – stay tuned for a “quick tips” video coming up soon!

If you liked this one, hit that thumbs up button, get subscribed if you loved it and check out the ways you can support this channel through Patreon, all that info is also there right below the like button. As always, thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one!

You can find the files on Thingiverse and Youmagine

Thank you to ATOM 3D for sponsoring this video!

Big Buck Bunny by the Blender Foundation https://peach.blender.org
Owl Statue by Cushwa https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1821

You can support me without spending a single penny!