This is an older, archived post. Comments have been closed.
Although Ive just recently entered the world of 3D Printing Ive been doing 3D design for over 10 years mainly for animation and visual effects projects. My tool of choice for this is Maxons excellentCinema 4Dsoftware. Im using the latest R15 version and have the Broadcast edition. But the steps below can be done in any edition.
Because Ive learned that designing objects for 3D printing is different than designing for screen output I decided to do a quick tutorial with some basic tips for optimizing models for 3D printing within C4D.
For this example Ive made a quick model of a robot by just moving an scaling a sphere primitive and four cilinders. No fancy modeling here I must admit, but lets pretend I the clock is ticking.
The first thing that becomes important when designing objects for physical output is size. Go to Edit Project Setting and set the Project Scale to millimeters.
A problem with C4D is that when selecting multiple objects or a group of objects it stops showing the total size.
A workaround for the size indication problem is adding your objects to a Connect Object. As you can see the total size of the object is now displayed. Its important to set the Phong Mode in the Connect Object to manual. Ill explain this in the next step.
Phong Shading is used to make objects look smooth on screen. The sphere above looks smooth but its in fact made out square polygons as you can see when looking at the edges. To disable this you must select the Phong Tags of all your objects and delete them.
Now you see the actual polygons. A 3D printer doesnt do shading so your print will look more like this than the perfect smooth image above.
You can add more polygons to you objects by selecting them and increasing the amount of Sements. I changed it from 24 to 96. The value depends on the size you want to print the object at and the print quality of your printer.
If you want to make a small print on a FDM-type 3D Printer that melts plastic filament with an extruder tiny polygons wont be visible so these settings will be sufficient. But Ive seen prints from a laser-based Form 1 (stereolitography) printer and those make even tiny polygons visible.
Now you can scale down the object by selecting the Scale tool and dragging somewhere on the screen. Remember that most slicing programs that are used to prepare the model for actual printing will import the model at this size but can also re-scale it. Its good practice to put the bottom of your print on the floor (Y = 0mm) but if you dont the slicer software can do this too.
When youre happy with the size you can hit the letter O on your keyboard to zoom in on the object again.
Now we use a little trick inside C4D to take a look inside the object. Go to Edit Project Settings and scroll down to View Clipping. Depending on what youre making you can experiment with increasing this setting and zoom in and out of your object to get the desired cross section view. As you can see the Connect Object connects everything but doesnt delete the parts of the cilinders inside of the sphere. This is no problem for screen output but will cause problems when slicing or 3D printing this object.
If you just have 2 objects that you want to merge into a single object while removing the intersecting polygons, you can put your objects inside Boole Object and set the Boolean Type to A union B. But as you can see that is limited to just the two first objects in the list (the sphere and one of the leg cilinders in this case). Bad Luck or?
Luckily theres a wonderful free plug-in for C4D called Magic Merge. Its developed by Nitro4D an can be downloadedhere.
Unzip the File, put the new folder in maxon/cinema4d/plugins and quit C4D (dont forget to save your design!). Re-open C4D and your design.
Now move the objects out of the Connect Objects and delete that. Select all separate objects go to Plugins in the top menu and select Magic Merge.
Voila! A Perfectly Merged objects thats completely hollow on the inside!
This is a good time disable the cross section view by changing the View Clipping back to something more useful (I prefer Tiny for everything) via Edit Project Settings.
And select .STL the standard format used in 3D printing.
Make sure the export Scale is set to 1 if you want the object at the size you designed it.
Now you can send your file to a 3D Printing Service or import it in your favorite Slicing software. I prefer Simplify3D of which I wrote areviewrecently.
Entrepreneur at the intersection of Creativity Technology 3D Expert.
Excellent tutorial!. Ive been using AutoCAD only in 3D Printing. Im on the process of exploring things and I think I got to try Cinema4D. Thanks.
Thanks for the tips! Helps a lot! Happy 3D Printing!
Muchas gracias, lei tanto por ah, pero en tu post encontr la solucin
Great tutorial! One question: How does it come that your sphere has some sort of thickness? If I do your tutorial and make the sphere + cilinders there are really thin and you can see theyre empty inside using View Clipping. Is that a problem for 3D printing? Thanks!
I think the thickness is only an optical effect of theView Clippingsetting because the sphere is not perfectly half-cutted.
Your objects will be printed in the inside too (or with a print schema), this will result in an excessive waste of materials.
You can put a smaller sphere inside the bigger one (Eg: BiggerSphere Ø = 3cm SmallerSphere Ø = 2.7cm) and then put them inside a bolean. Then the object will be ptinted with a 3mm thickness.
Not sure if the Magic Merge plugin has extra features. But if you nest multiple layers or objects into a null object and then add that to a boole, it counts as only one object. So you could have left your sphere as the first object under the boole, and then added all the cylinders to a null and placed that as the second object in your boole. This way your geometry is still all edible if you wanted to make design changes.
Lovely article and nice reply Brandon, thanks both
3D Printing Software Review: Simplify3D vs MakerBot Desktop
Leapfrog Creatr (not the HS yet) Review Part 1: Installation
🔥 3D Printing Filament Guide 2017: ABS vs PLA vs many materials
The 360 VR Paradox Why 360 video is both a problem and a necessity for the success of Virtual Reality.
3 Free 3D Scanning Apps that dont require extra Hardware
6 Must-haves for 3D Scanning Beginners
Seeing VR as a Creative Tool changed my perspective
Arrange, View & Share Multiple 3D Scans in VR with Poly & Tilt Brush
CES 2018: Intel Studios 10,000 sq. ft. Volumetric Video Capture Area for VR/AR
CES 2018: Intels RealSense D415 & D435 can 3D Scan Outdoors
CES 2018: Shining 3D announces new modules for EinScan 3D scanners