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  1. #1

    What program do I need to make this?

    Hi all.
    I am very new to 3d printing but am very eager to make a few things.
    I have only been playing around with TinkerCad.

    What types of program do I need to make a mold like this?

    And geometric designs like these



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Theoretically, you could probably create the face of the mold in Illustrator or Photoshop, then import into a cad program to "3d-ify" it. Otherwise, most CAD software should get you where you want to go. There are programs that are more suited to organic shapes though; try looking up Autodesk company, they have a whole suite of 3d software for different types of modeling.

    Otherwise, I would recommend Blender or another 3D design program for organics.

  3. #3
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    France, Aix en Provence
    The animals made of thread are theoritically doable in any 3D package sw : these are just connected sticks.

    To do that however, he probably used the original model of an animal and made intersections with planes, ... yet you can still do that (painfully) in meshmixer.

    You can use a black/white drawing of a paw, export it to inkscape, save it as dxf after vectorization and import it in a 3D cad software to extrude it or make a pocket of it. Pretty simple. Basic sw should be able to do it if it can use dxf inputs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Add CarterTG on Thingiverse
    The first step is to identify what you intend on 3D printing. By that I mean, will the objects be predominantly mechanical-like with curvilinear surfaces or will they be organic? If the former, stay with CAD. If the latter, look into digital sculpting.

    The hoof prints clearly fall strongly into objects that digital sculpting will easily take care of.

    Can it be done in traditional CAD? Partially, but mostly with poor results. Importing a 2D image to generate a heightfield model/mesh. This will be the laziest approach and will also look like garbage. Can the generated mesh resolution be cranked up? Yes, but most CAD software don't do well with high-polygon meshes beyond basic scaling.

    Can organic-modeling plug-ins like T-Splines and Clayoo be used to 3D model the prints? Up to a point. Modeling a human head is do-able in the realm of CAD as demonstrated in this thread:
    However, any attempts to add super-fine detail (textured eyebrows, lashes, creases, wrinkles) will have the same results as trying to perform surgery with a butterknife.

    Digital sculpting programs like Pixologic's ZBrush and Autodesk's Mudbox are geared to make organic things. An intermediate-level user should be capable of cranking out a couple dozen different hoof models in the course of an afternoon.

    The ZBrush workflow would look something like.... Starting from a 2D picture of the foot/hoof print, it can be immediately applied as a mask on a puck. There are at least a dozen applicable tools that'll sculpt the unmasked regions to the desired depth to create the shape of the paw-pad. Next, either using more detailed reference images or pulling from the existing library of Alpha-masks, insane texture detail can be further added to the imprints. (Whether the 3D printer can replicate ultra-fine detail is another department) Here's a YouTube example of using an Alpha-Mask to imprint texture detail onto a sculpt:

    If there's any doubt about digital sculpting's suitability for organic models, just look at the gallery threads: and search the posts where they've 3D printed their models like this one:

    As for the geometric designs, I've seen plenty of similar examples done by sculptors:

  5. #5
    Having searched myself for feature rich, easy to use and cheap solutions for organic modelling I can suggest to consider Moment Of Inspiration for surface modelling (the developer created some time ago Rhino and can open Rhino projects), and 3d-Coat for polygonal modelling, able to model both hard surfaces and sculpting.

  6. #6
    Moi3D is what you want. I have a license for it and can say it would suit your needs very well. You can model the cavities in Moi or even use ZSurf4 for that too.

  7. #7
    Thank you everyone for your replies.
    I will check out the links.
    I will also look into some books to understand this terminology better.

    I seeing this term or like terms, what does this mean exactly?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jjb View Post

    I seeing this term or like terms, what does this mean exactly?
    I think this is the 3D application of this mathematical concept.

  9. #9
    Voronoi is a mathematical pattern. It's that simple. It's popular in 3d printing because it's a pattern which can be used to create holes in objects using a very organic and aesthetic way, and saves a lot of material costs while creating something interesting to look at. Voronoi patterns can be created in almost any 3d modeling application these days. I've seen it created in Zbrush, Rhino, 3dsmax and others (all of which use different types of design elements).

  10. #10
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    voronoi can be done - but it's a real pita.

    I read the how-to for meshmixer and lost the will to live :-)
    Ended up poking semi-random holes into the thing instead.

    To answer your question - the best program to produce the moulds would be openscad.
    Either download from thingiverse or another model repository - the model you want to make a mould of (or make your own) and then import into openscad where a basic difference opertion will create the mould.

    Haven't got into the artistic modellig side of things yet. but hoping to in the summer. Got a book on the 123design suite of programs I need to sit down and work through.

    Bear in mind that a lot of cad programs don't actually do solids. And for 3dprinting you can only print solids. So it makes sense to just learn the programs that will produce printable models.

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