N3XT Dimension leaderboard 2

plug2If you are into 3D modeling, it’s possible that you have experimented with more than one modeling program. In order to make your software selection process easier, last summer i.materialise went ahead and ranked the top 25 most popular 3D design programs. Using criteria ranging from social media, webpage search engines, 3D printing community forums (including 3DPrintBoard.com), YouTube, databases, and Google, i.materialise ranked Blender the most popular 3D modelling software with a score of 80, over SketchUP (score of 75), SolidWorks (score of 62), and AutoCAD (score of 59).

Blender outshines its competition as popular 3D modeling software, and now i.materialise offers a convenient plugin for Blender — for all of the avid Blender users out there who also want to use i.materialise’s exceptional 3D printing services.

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How does this work? This plugin provides instant access to i.materialise through Blender. Users can access instant price quotes in over 100+ 3D materials and finishes once the plugin is installed. You can easily install the plugin, found here, by saving the .zip file — then press ‘Ctrl + Alt + U’ to open user preferences, select ‘Add-ons’, and click on ‘Install from File’. Find and select your downloaded file. After the file appears in the list, you can enable it by ticking the box next to it; select ‘Save User Settings’ if you want the option for the plugin to be enabled each time you use Blender.

The i.materialise plugin will appear in a new tab on the left side once installed. You can select your material and finish simply by clicking on the tab. This will allow you to getplug4 information about your object’s size, volume, and surface, and you can also receive real-time price quotes for your possible print job.

If you like what you see, you can “seal the deal” with i.materialise by clicking on ‘Upload 3D Model and Continue to i.materialise.’ Blender is an open source program that can be accessed for free, which is one likely reason it scored at the very top of i.materialise’s list of most popular 3D design and modeling software for 3D printing. If you are new to Blender, and would like to learn more about it, there are plenty of ways to do that, too. You can check out i.materialise’s video + text tutorial that introduces you to basic Blender designing skills, including: defining correct model dimensions, joining meshes together, making you model watertight and smooth, and preparing the files for 3D printing. You can also check out a chess piece design tutorial for beginners here.

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Whether you are a seasoned Blender user who appreciates a more convenient way to connect projects with i.materialise, or a new designer who would like to learn more about using Blender along with i.materialise’s services, it suddenly got easier to design and print in 3D with this new plugin. Tell us your thoughts on how this new feature will help you in the i.materialise Offers 3D Blender plug-in forum over at 3DPB.com.

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