I’ve built a character surface and I’m using the Solidify Modifier to give that surface thickness and turn the surface into a shell for 3D printing.

The shell must be divided into sections to be rejoined after the 3D printing, much as you would build a hobbyist’s plastic model to be rebuilt by the hobbyist.

The modifier can create the interior normals in addition to the exterior ones, but what to do about the generated rim surface, which after the modifier, evidently has no normals or selectable surface at all? My fear is those will create problems for the 3D printer. Does anyone here have experience creating assemblable plastic models with Blender?

enter image description here

After further experiment, I can create the shell with faces along the exterior, interior and rim, if I apply the solidify modifier with these options active: Even Thickness, High Quality Normals, Fill Rim, Adjust Edge Cage to Modifier Result, Display Modifier in Edit Result and Display Modifier in Viewport (lower right image)

The result is that all surfaces appear to have an individual normal face. But note the absence of rim face edges in the top two images. Selecting any given face (if adjacent to the rim) selects three faces (the exterior, rim and interior). If not adjacent, only the exterior and interior faces are selected. I think that qualifies as a closed-manifold mesh, as I understand those. But it’s not exactly how a normal solid would be like that built entirely by extrusions (lower left image).

Any way to achieve that with the solidify modifier or steps afterwards?

  • $\begingroup$ After the modifier is applied, the rim surfaces are as good as any others? $\endgroup$ – Robin Betts Jun 12 '19 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ Dunno. Haven't been to the 3D printer yet. $\endgroup$ – user1621287 Jun 13 '19 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ The modifier-generated faces do not exist (except as a set of instructions) until the modifier is applied, at which point the results of the instructions are written into the mesh. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question? $\endgroup$ – Robin Betts Jun 13 '19 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ Not to worry. I made a complete tutorial (for dummies like me) illustrating what I was trying to do here: blenderartists.org/t/… $\endgroup$ – user1621287 Jun 15 '19 at 6:52

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