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Long story, bear with me:

We're working on a project in my hospital where we will look at patient ct scan's, create a file from the air passage of their nose, and use a fluid dynamics program to measure how well air can travel through that passage. Looks like this: enter image description here

So anyway, we are getting to the point where it is time to validate our math by actually 3d printing this thing, hooking it to a vacuum, and measuring what goes through it.

So I have the file in Blender, and I have tried various settings of solidifying it. Here's the problem:

I need to solidify it in a direction that doesn't encroach on the inner diameter of the air passage, but as you can see in this photo... the "inner" side kinda becomes the "outer" side as it exits through the nose. enter image description here So if I solidify in a certain direction offset, while it may work great in MOST of the passage, it'll end up swelling into some places I don't want it in others, changing the airflow I.e.: enter image description here This is with 3mm walls.

Which brings me to my next point. I thought I had stumbled on the solution with the "Clamp" setting. I read its to avoid intersection, so with 3mm walls, clamp cranked up to 2, it LOOKED like it would work.

However when i actually sent it to the printer, all the walls were wayyyy too thin and the second I picked up the print it fell apart.

So I guess my question is two-fold:

  1. What exactly do the numbers mean for "Clamp"? Are they arbitrary? Can I use them to somehow know what will happen to the thickness I select? I.e. 3mm with clamp of 2 will equal==?
  2. Can anyone think of a better option for making this ready to 3d print? Only consideration being if I make it too thick (by slapping a big box around it or something), it'll end up being VERY expensive due to our particular type of printer.
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have an answer but there was a guy/company at the blender conference who talked about this subject. It was about printing 3D models of dentures using metaballs : Blender in a Professional Dental Modelling Application - Patrick Moore youtube.com/watch?v=Z5q58g24tBA $\endgroup$ – Gorgious Jan 16 at 22:08

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