I've created/edited an object and I can't get the 3D object export to have the same settings / apparent face resolution as the edited "version". Please see screenshots.

As you can see, the edit "version" number of faces are higher than the object "version" number of faces. When I export the object as an .stl it has the lower resolution of the object "version". How to I force it to carry the edit "version" properties for higher face count in the object "version" for export as .stl?

Edit Version

Object Version

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Did you use a subsurf modifier (or any other modifier)? Modifiers create virtual geometry but to make it real you need to apply the modifier . Press (ctrl+A) blender.stackexchange.com/questions/193185/… In th future please don't crop the images so tight, show the interface to make it easier for others to help you. Read also: blender.stackexchange.com/a/205166/92768. Also, the exporter for .stl has an option to "apply modifiers" $\endgroup$
    – susu
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 2:02

2 Answers 2


Building on the answer from ZargulTheWizard, it's likely you've started with low resolution geometry and done a "Subdivide" at some point to add extra geometry, but it hasn't added any extra topological detail. I'd say using a "Subdivision Surface" modifier is indeed the way to go, with a "crease" trick which I'll show in a moment.

First, let's look at the problem you currently have. I could guess you arrived at your current level of detail by doing something like the following steps:

Basic subdivide (Click for larger version)

  • (a) started with low-detail mesh.
  • (b) selected inner and outer rings and used the "Subdivide" operation with maybe a step count of "3" -- though there are probably other ways the same result could've been achieved.
  • (c) the mesh looks like it has a lot of extra detail now, but...
  • (d) ...when viewed as a shaded model, it's clear the extra faces are just coplanar, and so they still just describe a flat surface instead of a smoothly curving surface.

Now, assuming you can go back to your original low-detail model, below is how you might re-do it differently. (NOTE: If you need a method to actually reverse the steps above, in order to get back to step (a) above, let me know).

Non-zero crease values control tightness of the subdivision surface modifier

  1. Go into Edit mode of your original low-detail model (i.e. select it, hit TAB). (NOTE: This method won't have the desired effect if you start with your current incorrect high-detail model, so other additional steps would be required first to revert it; let me know if that's the case).
  2. Go into Edge selection mode (i.e. hit 2).
  3. Select the inner and outer edge loops from both the top and the bottom (i.e. ALT+LMB for the first loop, then SHIFT+ALT+LMB for the remaining 3 edge loops.
  4. Go to the Sidebar (toggle its visibility with N key), click the "Item" tab, and set the "Mean Crease" to 1.00
  5. Now add a "Subdivision Surface" modifier (i.e. "subsurf"), and you'll hopefully see that it has increased the detailed smoothness of the round part, while keeping the hard corners and flatness of the top and bottom parts.

You can now optionally change the "Levels" of the subsurf modifier for even more detail/smoothness, and "Apply" it before exporting an STL to ensure that extra geometry exists for real.

If necessary, there are also ways to remove the extra unneeded lateral divisions and reduce your overall polygon count, but I doubt that will be necessary for a 3D print.

  • $\begingroup$ I actually started w/ a bezier circle to create the original shape, then converted that to a mesh and copied it, mirrored the copy, moved it, joined the concentric rings as one mesh, then went into edit mode and bridged edge loops to create the solid. I retraced my steps only this time, before I converted to mesh, I subdivided the bezier circle first. This added way more vertices when I converted to mesh. It seems to have solved the original problem, only in a different way. I truly appreciate the help--this was another great blender learning opportunity. Thanks everyone! $\endgroup$
    – Ken B
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ I should add that I am going to re-do this following the method above outlined by algofoogle. I'm wanting to absorb as much of the practical knowledge and methods that I can. Thanks again, very helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Ken B
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ If so, please consider to accept the answer, see: blender.stackexchange.com/help/someone-answers Thanks @KenB $\endgroup$
    – brockmann
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 8:21

The lower resolution looking mesh may have the same number of faces, but they are coplanar, so it looks like they are all one. You need to use some sort of smoothing operation to get the faces to be at different angles relative to eachother.

  • $\begingroup$ I added a subsurf modifier but it only affected the top/bottom edges and did not change the face count on the exterior shell. Any other ideas? $\endgroup$
    – Ken B
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ Is the smooth on in the modifier? $\endgroup$
    – TheLabCat
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 3:45

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