3D Printed Pen Holder in Blender

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Step 1: 3D Print Stylized Pen Holder Using Blender

In this instructable you will learn how to make a simple but gorgeous looking stylized Pen Holder

Step 2: Requirements

To make this project you will need:

  • Basic Blender skills. No idea what Blender is? No worries, visit www.blender.org to download the package. Also to gain the basic needed knowledge you can check these amazing videos made by the CG Cookie crew (Link). You can watch up to the 4th video and leave the rest since they are not important for this tutorial. It is almost always preferable to have a mouse at your disposal when making 3D models.
  • Access to a 3D Printer (We used Makerbot Replicator 2)
  • Filament Spool (Transparent looks very beautiful)
  • PC (duh...)

    Step 3: Modeling

    In this step we will make our 3D model in Blender:

    • Download and install Blender from www.blender.org
    • Open Blender then click Esc then click "A" twice to deselect box then select everything
    • Click "X" and then "Enter" to delete everything in the scene.
    • Add a Cylinder
    • Change its dimensions to 80x80x10. If you can't see the right menu (Properties menu) you can show it by clicking the "N" key. On a side note, you can also hide and show the left menu(Tools Menu) by clicking "T"
    • Note: I think it's a bug but these dimensions are in meters inside Blender but when exporting these will be converted into millimeters.
    • Go into "Edit Mode" by clicking "Tab" and then change your selection method to be "face selection"
    • Select the top face then inset it by clicking the i key. inset it to about ~0.8
    • Select the inner face and extrude it downwards twice. First time just a bit and the second to about half the height of our cylinder
    • Add a few edge loops to hold our model if we decide to subdivide it later on.
    • From top view (you can access top view by clicking 7 on numpad) select 16 faces out of the 32 we have as shown in the picture.
    • Change pivot point to be individual origins.
    • Inset faces by just a little bit then click W to go to specials menu and then select "subdivide faces". This will make every face turn into 4 faces.
    • Now we want to turn these 4 faces into circles, to do that open the User Preferences panel and go to add-ons then search for LoopTools. Once you find the add-on, check it and close the window.
    • On our model and with the same faces selected, click w and you'll notice now that we have an option called Loop Tools. Select circles from that menu which will turn your rectangles into circles. Scale them down so that they fit inside the inset we made.
    • Now extrude the circles about 10 times upwards using the E command reaching a height of about 100 mm
    • Delete the top faces by clicking X then selecting Faces.
    • Select the top portion of the model (Base) and duplicate it Shift D then move it up and rotate it by 180 degree along the x axis.
    • Now rotate it around the z-axis by 11.25 degrees. and align it with the columns we made.
    • Select Automatically merge vertices moved to the same location.
    • this will make your top and lower parts join together.
    • now from the top view select the top 2 faces and select the shown edge loops and bridge them by clicking Ctrl + E then select bridge edge loops.
    • To make the top smoother you can select the out most top edge loop and bevel it by clicking Ctrl + B and moving your scroll wheel to control the amount of segments(smoothness) you will get.

    Step 4: More Modeling - Modifiers

    • Now for the fun part which is using Modifiers!
    • Modifiers will adjust your model without affecting the internal structure which is extremely powerful since you can make simple models and then make them look quite complex.
    • We will start by making out model smooth by going to the modifiers tap and adding a subsurf(stands for subdivision surface) modifier.
    • You might see some jagged surfaces which can be fixed by selecting the face and then insetting it twice just a bit.
    • We can control the smoothness of our model by increasing the "View" value. Do NOT increase it too much otherwise it will make your model too dense. 2 or 3 is a good subdivision level.
    • Now that our model is clean, let's add a "Simple Deform" modifier.
    • I won't be going in deep details how this works but you can experiment and see for yourself between the 4 taps in this modifier and changing the values (Twist, Bend, Taper & Stretch).
    • You can Copy the modifier and have multiple modifiers affecting your model. Try combining 2 of the mentioned taps in the Simple Deform modifier.
    • One more modifier that allows you to adjust the looks of your model is called the "Cast" Modifier.
    • Add it and play a bit.
    • Once you get the shape you want just select the model then can go to file -> export -> stl
    • Select location and save.
    • I'll be including my .blend file here so that you can check 4 variations that I made.
    • Keep in mind that some results might not be printable!

    Step 5: Printing

    • Printing is straight forward.
    • Just open the STL file using Makerbot Desktop
    • Standard is a good quality setting for this model.
    • Enjoy your new pen holder!

    This project was made in Fab Lab Dhahran. www.fablabdhahran.org

    Arabic translation of this instructable will come soon...

    License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

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