3D Printing Question

I have gone through many tutorials and tips regarding 3D printing, but was unable to find answers regarding characters -

How do you handle the clothes / Armour / object of the character?
I model them as separate objects, and the body mesh is separate. Do we need to make it one Continuing mesh? For example how would you do a skirt and hair mesh for a model for printing?


if you want to print then, unless you want it to have moving parts which only some printers support, it must be a single manifold watertight mesh. there should be a single closed surface in the shape of your object with nothing inside and no lines with any number of faces using them than two(all lines should be an edge for two faces, no more no less). you should try and join it all into one mesh, eliminate small details as they won’t print anyway. make the armour/weapons/clothes/hair into part of the same “hollow shell” as the character’s body.

So how would one do the other things like hairs for example? Liek for example we usually do separate eye balls. So we need to model them on the face mesh ?

Like if i need to print sintel - Lets say full solid. Then I just need to select everything and press ctrl j and thats it ?

Some of it depends on what kind of printer you’re using, but generally no. You need a single, solid, manifold mesh without holes. Ctrl-J just joins things to one object; it does nothing to the mesh itself. Just joining them together is insufficient. http://cgcookie.com/blender/2013/02/04/modeling-3d-printing-shapeways/

The problem with clothing is that we generally model it as a surface with no thickness. To be 3D printed it must have thickness, and every printer has a minimum thickness that must be followed or it won’t print.

Hair needs to be modeled as a mesh with thickness. See the pic below. The strands of particle-hair that most people create in blender won’t print.

Just joining them together is insufficient

With most places, you can leave things as separate objects joined together. As long as the objects intersect each other they will print as a single object. So when it comes to armor and such, you can model the pieces of armor separately and as long as they intersect the body, it will all print out okay. If there’s too little intersection, you might get a warning that you’ve exceeded the minimum thickness requirement, or the part might break off easily.

See this site for some inspiration…

Here’s the hair on one of the models. It was obviously modeled as a mesh (probably sculpted.)


For cloth, check out the one called Hoody and note how thick the hood is.

[ETA] Here’s a shot showing how he attached the shoulder plate to the upper arm. See those pegs joining the two? They just need to intersect the body. If you’re planning to paint your model, you might want to print the armor pieces separately and join them all together with a sprue, like an airplane kit.

Steve S