How to curve SVG text object for 3D printing?

I have a vector text image (“York”) that I would like to 3D print to use as a bicycle badge (a small metal piece that wraps around the front of the head tube.)

I saved the vector text image as an SVG, imported it into Blender 2.73, extruded and beveled it in the Object Data panel.

The problems start when I try to curve the “York” object so that it sits flat on the bicycle’s cylindrical head tube (39mm diameter). Here’s what I’ve tried:

Curve modifier: on the text object, with “Object” set to BezierCurve with same diameter of head tube. This achieves my goal, but if I export this as an .STL and upload that to Shapeways, the text object is no longer curved.

To fix this, I applied the curve modifier, but that distorts the “York” object’s shape so that it will not sit flat against the head tube.

I next tried converting the original SVG curve import to a mesh, then extruding and curving that. This created a complex mesh with very uneven surfaces. I used Limited Dissolve to clean up the topology, but that made the model more uneven.

Any thoughts on what I’m missing or how I can achieve my goal? Thank you for your help.

Could try this

  • Curve. Lower the resolution until it starts to affect the overall form and then +1 it back. No need to have geometry that doesn’t do anything
  • Set the thickness
  • Convert to mesh.
  • Edit mode: select all, W -> remove doubles, X -> limited dissolve
  • Add remesh modifier and add depth until the general shape is back again. This makes a lot of geometry but since it’s a 3D print it’s just a plus
  • Add simple deform modifier

If you scale in object mode, Ctrl+A -> scale before continuing with the process. Tools and modifiers work on object data level so the object level scale has to be transferred to that.

Same with the rotation. If you can’t get simple deform modifier to bend it along correct axis, Ctrl+A -> rotation and then rotate in object mode or add a helper object for custom axis and tell the modifier to use that.

The goal of this is to get geometry aligned with the deformation direction (here lower resolution) for it to deform cleanly.

Thank you, JA12. Your solution worked great. Remesh modifier was a new one to me, and perfect for this. Model successfully posted to Shapeways.

Thanks again for your help, JA12. Here’s the 3D-printed bike badge installed.