How to Save Money on 3D Prints

3D printing through online services can be expensive. For a lot of those services, cost is a function of the bounding volume and the actual volume, plus some handling fees. Scaling the model down will of course make the print cheaper, but hollowing out the model is also a viable option.

Hollow models by themselves aren’t necessarily cheaper. They’ll need escape holes, to free the trapped materials.

holey feet

approximately 2″ x 3″ x 2″ inches

I decided to print Pudge, a character from the video game DOTA2. If solid, Pudge would’ve costed $32 from Sculpteo and $22 from Shapeways, not including shipping. After my hollowing, Pudge costed $22 from Sculpteo and $12 from Shapeways, a $10 savings for such a small figurine.

Pretty great.

To hollow out the model, in Blender:

1..Delete some faces to create escape holes. I placed them on the bottom of the feet to hide them.

Foot faces

2..Apply a Solidify modifier. This will close the hole in your mesh by created a new layer of certain thickness.

Solidify

Hope this helps some folks.

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4 comments
  1. Need help solidifying my model, it has wings but if i put solidifier the inner faces pops out and ruining the model. I am quite new to blender (4months and still learning) so if you can give me advice how i can fix this will be so much appreciated. I am trying to solidify selected faces only but i am not sure if it will work just right. Thanks in advanced 🙂

  2. What’s the easiest method to put solidifier on selected areas and leave hollow sections for thin sections such as wings or flags(e.g)

    • Jenny said:

      Depending on the model, creating vertex groups and solidifying them might be faster or removing the thin components, solidifying, and adding back the thin components might be faster.

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