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This is a problem I've encountered several times with blender and I've never found a good way of doing it - am I missing something?

I want to design a solid mesh pattern with holes - eg chicken wire, and apply/map/wrap it to form a shape. The result needs to be a solid mesh that can be 3D printed - so a bump mask doesn't work.

I've create this using a wireframe mesh and the skin modifier, this is ok for a simple shapes but it's time consuming and doesn't work for complex shapes.

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Is there an alternative method which would be printable?

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You could use Array and Simple Deform modifiers:

  • Create a plane, subdivide it. Rotate it 45°.

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  • Press i to inset, delete the inner faces.

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  • Use the Snap and the Auto-Merge options to duplicate it.

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  • Only keep one segment, duplicate it with the Array modifier.

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  • Give it a Simple Deform modifier / Bend mode, 360° angle. If it's completely twisted it's probably because you haven't applied the rotation. You can modify the segment geometry until you're happy (add edge loops, thickness, etc).

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you that's a much better way than what I had for that situation - I'm still looking for a way to achieve that type of thing but with an arbitrary mesh. Much like Voronoi but with the ability to control the structure/pattern. I suspect the only way is going to be a script but I don't know where to start. $\endgroup$ – Richard Oct 31 '19 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ you can add a Displacement modifier to give it a bit of random deformations if this is what you're looking for $\endgroup$ – moonboots Oct 31 '19 at 18:36

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