noob, everything takes 5 minutes, complex model


I’m extremely new to both Blender and 3D work of any sort. I am trying to create what should be a simple model so that I can 3D print it, but in reality it has turned into something pretty complex. It’s a cylinder with holes cut into it following a voronoi graph pattern. (yep, one of those) I made the original mesh in Meshlab but found it kept breaking the mesh (made it non-manifold) and I need to be able to do things like attach some other items and cut screw holes and so on. So I brought it into Blender and at first everything was great, but now the problem is that every single thing takes 5 minutes to complete. I mean, say I want to move an item. I click it and that works fine, but the moment I try to enter a new X-value, I must wait 5 minutes before I can then enter a Y-value, and so on.

Please. Help. OMG. Yes, the mesh is probably overly complicated. By “complicated,” I mean it has several million vertices (didn’t start that way - got that way after remeshing after the voronoi and smoothing). Does it need all those vertices? Beats me. I don’t really know what I’m doing. If I try reducing the vertices a bit by merging close ones, it gets chunky, so I’m guessing the vertices are actually accomplishing something rather than just having some side by side that don’t really need to be there, for example. I’m actually really happy with the look of it at the moment and have even printed it out successfully, but minus the attachment holes I’ve designed for it. I’ve been able to attach other things like a brim and a bottom but it’s seriously resisting letting me put some planned (as opposed to random) holes in it.

Is there an easier/quicker way to line up objects? Right now I just select one and start putting in random numbers into X,Y,Z to see which way it goes, then adjusting as necessary. I’ve figured out that sometimes it aligns with the axes as displayed on the screen but sometimes not, depending on parent object I think. I don’t really know. I find that one weird. I’ve managed to get one object aligned with a parent object so at least their flat parts match, which is important, but moving that object around then means the X,Y, and Z don’t match the displayed axes. And since each move takes 5 minutes to complete, experimenting to see which way it goes is starting to get super frustrating.

I’m doing this on a Macbook Pro and a PC and it behaves exactly the same way on both machines, so I really think it’s my file.

So my two questions are if there is an easier way to move stuff around, and of course the obvious: How can I simplify this to speed it the heck up? It was zippy when I first imported the mesh but it got slower and slower as I did more and more booleans to it to add/cut more things so I’m guessing it reperforms each boolean every time I do something. Heeeellllp!

OK I’ve figured out that deleting all the boolean operations and just positioning everything independently is a speedy workaround. I’m applying the booleans at the end. I obviously don’t understand the proper workflow with this software but hopefully I will learn.