I'm fairly new to Blender, but I'm wanting to get into doing a bit of 3D printing with it. In the pic below, I'm modelled a sprocket for use on an armoured vehicle.

enter image description here

After a few days experimenting I've managed to work my mesh into something that has minimal tris and n-gons. I've also run clean-up on it, and removed any loose geometry, merged any duplicates and have avoided any non-manifold edges.

So far, so good. I applied a subdivision surface modifier to smooth the curves, and after reinforcing the geometry with extra edge loops, it's exactly how I want it - crisp edges, smooth transitions and (almost) 100% quads. To my mind, this should be ready to print as it is.

But, out of interest, I enabled the Mesh 3D Print Toolbox addon to fault-find any issues. Note the highlighted parts in the picture - 0 Non-Manifold vertices found in 'select-by-type', 0 N-M vertices found in the tool, and the sub-div modifier active.

But when I run the option 'Make Manifold', my model deforms. I believe what is happening is it is removing the reinforcing edge loops required to make the edges crisp when the sub-div surf modifier is run.

So my question is - can I take Blender at face value when it says I don't have N-M vertices, and print the model with the edge loops and the sub-div modifier active (i.e, don't both with the add-on)? Or, am I to believe the 3D print tool, which is telling me there are no N-M vertices, but is deleting my edge loops as though they were problematic?

Apologies if this is a bit lengthy, any advice would be appreciated!

EDIT: Pic of deformed sprocket (After Non-Maninfold clean is applied):

enter image description here

Pic of Sprocket with remesh applied:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Ca you include a screen shot showing what it looks like deformed? $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2021 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Also it's good to remesh. This results in quads with few tris. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2021 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Marty Fouts - I have done so. Basically it appears to revert to a stage where the reinforcing edge loops are deleted, but the sub-div surf modifier remains active. $\endgroup$
    – Aethon
    Aug 7, 2021 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Lukasz-40sth - I did consider this too. I figured that seeing as I had very few n-gons anyway, and only 11 tris, I'd manage without. I applied re-mesh anyway according to the below article's method, but it basically destroyed all my detail. The pics shows how mushy it's become (Smooth correction is not yet applied, but doesn't help anyway). blender.stackexchange.com/questions/233675/… $\endgroup$
    – Aethon
    Aug 7, 2021 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ Have you tried applying the subsurf before doing either of the other operations? I'm rather at a loss as how to fix your problem, sorry. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2021 at 13:51


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