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Prepare 3D Models for 3D Printing in ZBrush

🟠Learn how to prepare 3D models for printing in this ZBrush tutorial.

Get valuable tips and techniques for successful 3D prints.

🟠Learn tips for adding bases, optimizing models, and troubleshooting common printing issues.

- Workflow

  • When making a model for 3D Printing or if you want to 3D Print any previous model you’ve made, you don’t need to make a low poly version for it, you’ll only need the high poly from ZBrush.

  • If your model is a bust or if you want to make it into a bust, cut the model below the chest, making sure the surface below is completely flat so it 3D Prints it well.

  • To slice the model, use the Slice Curve tool from ZBrush.

  • If your model has active divisions, you won’t be able to use the Slice Curve on it and you’ll need to remove said divisions.

  • If the slice isn’t fully flat, you can use any brush to fill out the clay in the gap and slice it again.

  • Before you remove the active divisions on the model and slice it, you can do some extra preparations for it to better 3D Print it.

  • If the character has something around their chest that is barely hanging off them, you can use the low divisions and the Move Brush to move the accessory above the cut so you don’t have to cut part of it.

  • In this case, we’re going to move the belt of the Orc above the end of the best so we don’t have to cut it like in the image examples above.

  • The shoulder plates can also be better adjusted, rotating them to a better angle and moving them closer to each other.

  • For the print, we’ll also need something to put it on.

  • You can make a simple stand for it out of a cylinder and a square.

  • Use the Slice Curve to cut one side of the square to create a slope.

  • For the bottom of the torso, use the Inflate Brush to add more clay, and then use the Slice Curve to make a nice smooth cut for the bottom.

  • If the cut is smoothie without the inflate you don’t need to do this step.

  • When everything is placed correctly and adjusted, use the Merge Visible option in the Subtool to merge the mesh with anything on it from hair to accessories.

  • Make sure the model at this point doesn’t have any active divisions.

  • To check for holes in our model we can activate the Live Boolean and use a large flat square to run through the model and see where there might be holes in the mesh when 3D Printing.

  • If you see any holes, use the Inflate brush to close them.

  • Append the stand in the subtool.

  • Make a duplicate so we can use one of them for the Live Boolean.

  • Activate Live Boolean and use one of the stands to take away from the orc to create a hole below the model.

  • The last step to do is to Decimate the model so it doesn’t have too high of a polycount.

  • The model doesn’t need to have more than 800k Active Points for this kind of print.

  • Open the Zplugin tab, open the Decimation Master, and make sure the % of decimation is set to 20 before clicking on Pre-Process Current.

  • After the model is done processing, open the Decimation Master again and click the Decimate Current button to start decimating it.

  • After the model is done decimating the Active Point count will drop down by 20%.

  • Hide the other stand, and click on Make Boolean Mesh to merge the boolean and the orc to be a single model.

  • Open the Boolean model of the Orc inside the Tools, it should have a UMesh_ in front of the name of the mesh.

  • Append the stand in the subtool again.

  • Name the subtools accordingly before exporting them.

  • Now that our model is done, we can export it as an STL file for 3D Printing.

  • It is best to export the orc and the stand as separate files instead of being one file.

  • Open the Zplugin tab, open the 3D Print Hub, and Update the Size Ratios.

  • A new window will open with different sizes you can choose for your 3D Print.

  • For this print, we’ll go for 224.6 x 179.19 x 130.67 mm.

  • After the size has been updated, click on the Export to STL.

  • When a new window shows up, it will give you 3 choices for naming the models.

  • If you named the subtools, click on Choice 2.

  • After the Orc, do the same thing for the stand.

  • For this tutorial, we’re using Ultimaker Cura for 3D Printing models.

  • To add a printer click on the Add printer button.

  • In the new window, open the Add a non-networked printer.

  • From there, find the brand and name of your printer, select it, and click on the Add button.

  • Drag and drop the STL files in your scene, it is best to print the model and stand separately rather than together, just don’t forget to change the size of the stand so it fits the hole on the model you change the size of the model in the 3D Print software.

  • We can see that the model is going out of the borders of the printer, to make the model smaller, open the scale options on the left side and scale them down.

  • If you have multiple models for printing, you can open the Edit tab and click on Arrange All Models.

  • We don’t want our models to print from that rotation that is currently in, to fix it, open the rotation options and rotate it to be standing upward.

  • If you don’t want any other models to 3D print, you can delete one from the scene.

  • It is important that the model is placed directly above the surface of the printer.

  • On the left side, there are some printing settings you can adjust.

  • When using a 3D Printer it is good to have Supports turned on for prints like these so the printer prints it out better.

  • The bar on the side is to see how the printer will begin printing the model and below there is a time shown for how long it will take to print out the model.

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