Sunday, December 7, 2014



Dear Princess Celestia,

This unit I learned a lot about the magic of Blender. I discovered just how challenging it could be to try and design something when you don't really know what you're meant to be doing, but when your friends (or tutorials) are there to guide you it can really help ease the burden.
In the end, I managed to create something useful and had fun doing so! I look forward to doing similar projects in the future, even though I probably won't, and overall I'm thoroughly pleased with this project!

Your faithful student,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

By Your Powers Combined: Exporting and Printing

As it turns out, I did have time to export and print my bookstand! Isn't that wonderful?

So as it turns out, it's not actually too difficult to print something that has been designed in Blender. Basically, what one needs to do is to export the Blender project as a .stl file. This isn't too difficult in itself, and that's just about all there is to it. A few tutorials I came across (I primarily used this one) suggested that I identify and remove "non-manifold" vertices.

To my understanding, these are vertices that essentially wouldn't work physically. I did have a couple of these on the design on the back of my bookstand, but I fixed them up. (This does mean that the design now looks a little different, but I can't/won't post any screenshots because I still can't be bothered rendering it and the change is almost impossible to see in the Blender interface itself.)
So um, have a different picture instead.
Um... this. Yes, this one.
So after fixing the non-manifold vertices (And ignoring the step where I hollow out the model because I'm lazy), the guide then suggested to me that I scale the model as if 1 Blender unit was equal to 1 millimeter, and then turn it 90 degrees on the X-axis. As I wasn't completely sure which (if either) of these steps had to be performed in order for immediate printing rather than uploading to Shapeways, I exported four versions of the bookstand, each with a different combination of these steps (none, one, or both).

As it turns out, the model did not need to be rotated and the printing software does give the option to scale the model once imported; however, the best idea would still be to scale it before exporting.
My bookstand is now printing as I write this, and should be ready by tomorrow morning! The saga is finally complete!

...Or is it?

Saturday, November 22, 2014


So um, I've pretty much covered everything to do with my project. But apparently the blog should have "more than 5" posts on it. Or it might have been "5 or more", but better to play it safe. So here's a picture to make it 6 posts, just to be sure!

This is awesome and you can't stop me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Blender, Part 3: Revenge of the Blend

I had an idea! And it's an idea that I'm going to use! It's really clever, and I love it!

Oh, you wanted to know what it is? Sorry. It's basically a portable bookstand - sort of like a music stand, for those of you that are musically acquainted, except smaller and without the giant pole holding it at eye-level. It came about because I realised that trying to pin a book down with one hand and do something with the other was far too difficult and annoying, and it could be so much easier if something else just held the book open. And so, the idea was born.

It only took one lesson to actually create the bookstand, which I guess is probably a good thing since it was the last lesson before presentation (next week being work experience). So without further ado, I present the bookstand!


Alright, so after much further ado in which I attempted to learn how to render stuff in Blender, then gave up and just took more screenshots, I present the bookstand!


So, I guess this project is/was really a lot less about learning about the 3D printer for me, and much more about learning 3D modeling and (to an extent) solving problems using new technology (3D modeling and printing, as is obvious).
I ran into a few challenges along the way, namely the incredibly complex nature of Blender and all the things that need to be remembered, tweaked etc. (and in fact I still haven't exported it in such a way that it can be printed, so that will/would have its own share of complexities and difficulties), but overall I am finding/have found this project satisfying and educational.
I now have a basic skillset in Blender, which I imagine will provide me with at least some advantage in the future, in whatever area I happen to end up in. Plus, if I get time to print it, I'll have my own portable bookstand (admittedly, probably a tiny one that's no use for anything other than those tiny little novelty books, but still)!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Blender, Part 2: Blend Harder

I'm back again for another week of learning, and another week of still not knowing what I want to make!
So I have now started learning how to model using Blender - working in a separate project specifically for testing things out as I learn them - and that has been... interesting. Not only are there EVEN MORE SHORTCUTS to remember, there are all these settings that I keep forgetting to change and then when I remember to change them I've forgotten what the shortcut is so I have to go look it up and by the time I've done that I've forgotten what I needed to change in the first place and then I try to save my project and I save it in a place that I can't actually save files to but it doesn't tell me that so when I try to open the file again it doesn't exist and I've lost my whole project and ARGH.
Pictured above: not my saved file.
Despite all this, I am somehow really enjoying this project so far! I think it's the idea of creating something that I'll get some use out of, but regardless I've found this project rather engaging so far. I look forward to next week, when I will hopefully have an idea as to what I should make!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How To Blender, Part 1

I have no idea what I'm doing with the format. The letter format is just silly, plus I couldn't think of any way to make it more interesting, so I guess I'll just do generic post format. Yaay.

Or not. I don't know.

This week I actually started working towards my goal of designing and printing a 3D object, the main setback so far being that I have no idea what it is I'm going to make. I'm sure I'll think of something eventually. For the moment though, I'm just learning the basics of Blender. So many shortcuts.
(Pictured above: about one-fiftieth of the shortcuts.)
Somehow, I get the feeling this whole "learning" thing is going to take me a while.
I haven't actually started modeling yet - so far, it's mostly just been camera navigation etc. - but when I do I'm looking forward to actually making something useful!
(Whatever that may end up being.)

An Actual Introduction

So, I think we were supposed to write these in a letter format? I could be wrong. Regardless.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that I like the idea of designing an object in Blender and printing it using a 3D printer. I haven't actually decided on the object I'm going to create, but I'm sure I'll think of something soon. I don't really know anything about how to use Blender, so this'll be a real learning experience for me (and maybe for readers too). More updates as they come!

Your faithful student,