Making Weapon Handles in Blender

 Hey folks!  I often find myself needing to make weapons of various description for my models.  When those weapons are held in the model's hands, the grips don't usually need much detail... but if they're still sheathed, adding a quick wrap can really help them pop.  And fortunately, it's super easy to make wrapped weapon grips in Blender; here's how! First, I made myself a basic shortsword mode.  Using the Mirror  modifier on two axes makes modeling symmetrical objects like swords much easier, so I totally recommend it! After the basic sword design is done, you're going to want to make the grip a separate object to help the wrap go smoothly.  To do that, hit shift-d  to duplicate the object, then edit the duplicate (or the original... it doesn't really matter) and delete the guard, blade, and pommel.  Then, edit the other one and delete the grip.  In the end, you'll have two pieces like this (I've dragged the grip to the side, to make the point a li

How To Use Pre-Supported .3mf Files

As I've written about a few times, I've been using PrusaSlicer's SLA tree supports for my FDM prints ... and while it's not perfect, I'm happy enough with the workflow that I haven't wanted to change it!  One of my favorite aspects of using PrusaSlicer's tree supports is that I can design them, then save the supported .3mf file, and then other people can open that file and tweak the trees.  That's really important because different printers have different capabilities, and when you size a support tree to work with a 0.25 mm nozzle, it's not always going to provide adequate support for a 0.4 mm nozzle print (and won't take advantage of the smaller interfaces you could get from a 0.15 mm nozzle!).  The .3mf format allows people to tweak those settings for themselves, while using the same basic support design! This adaptability means that I can share my pre-supported .3mf files with my patrons, and there's a reasonable chance that they'll be

Posing Hard Bodies with Vertex Group Parents

As my patrons have seen, I've been working on a proxy model for the Lurker Mindsnipper monster lately.  I had thought that I'd have a good head start on the model, with the intent of remixing my original Lurker model into this new monster... but that didn't really work out.  When I made that model, I wasn't really practicing many techniques to improve model modularity or reusability, so I pretty much remade it from the ground up.  But, that gave me a chance to learn this cool technique that I want to write about today! Vertex Group Parenting is a technique where an object is parented to a set of vertices, instead of another object.  I use object parenting extensively in my modelling process , where one object's location and rotation is locked to another object.  I most often do this for limbs, so that when I do something like moving the torso, the arms follow it.  Vertex Group Parenting does this same basic thing, except that you pick a set of 3 vertices and the c

Making Veins in Blender

 I've made a few monsters that have needed veiny surfaces, from plant monsters to other things .  On those models, I've pulled out the sculpting tools and have made them by hand.  While I've been generally happy with the results, that process has been both labor-intensive and inflexible (meaning that it's difficult to change things around after they've been sculpted).  I'm working on another model that needs some veiny texturing and figured out a much better way to do it... so now I'm sharing what I've done! First, I want to say that these screenshots are from the really early prototyping phase for this model, where I'm testing out techniques and trying to figure out what this thing's going to look like overall.  But, I was so happy with this vein technique, that I decided that I wanted to write about it... so here we are! I like these veins for a few reasons.  Firstly, I think that they've got a good organic aesthetic, particularly at the i

Copying Parent-Relative Positions from one Object to Another in Blender

Well, the title of this post sure is a mouthful... but try as I might, I just couldn't come up with a shorter way to phrase what I've been doing and am going to write about here!  I've been working on a proxy model for the Blood Imp monster from Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion.  There has been a terrible heat wave in California though with rolling brown-outs in my area due to the increased draw on the electric grid caused by everyone's AC units.  Given that we've all been suffering from power shortages, it just doesn't seem responsible to fire up the printer and put more stress on the system.  Also, because this model is only a head and 4 limbs and reposing it isn't as much work as it would be for a normal humanoid creation, I figured that I could make a few alternative poses for it while I wait out this heat wave to begin test printing! So, I made my first pose, copied it off to a new collection, then began work on another pose.  It wasn't until I'd do

Manipulating Modifiers on Many Meshes

I like to work with many distinct meshes when I'm making a model in Blender.  Because of this workflow, I often find myself needing to add the Decimate modifier to tons of objects at once.  You can use the shift-r  shortcut to redo whatever your most recent action was, which is convenient if you're trying to put the same modifier on a few objects... but if you need to put it on 20 objects and need to set a value for each one, it gets a bit old.  Fortunately, there's a better way! All you need to do is set up your modifier stack on one of the objects, then select them all via shift-click .  Click once more on the object that's fully modified, then hit ctrl-l  and under Make Links select Modifiers .  This will copy all of those modifiers, fully configured, onto every selected object!  What do you do if you want to remove (not apply, but actually remove) modifiers from all of the objects?  Just remove the modifiers from one of them and use the same trick! Nice and simple

I Love Resin Prints, not Resin Printing

I just started a batch of six  Algox Archers on my Prusa SL1 and came to a bit of a realization: I love my resin prints, but I really dislike running the resin printer.  This isn't a complaint about the machine, as it's really incredible, but I just really prefer using my MK3 and wanted to write out my feelings on SLA vs. FDM printing. The biggest driver for me is the consumables on the printer itself.  The major consumables on my FDM printer are the nozzles and the printer bed.  Because my printer has a magnetic printing bed, replacing it is trivial, so no worries there.  Also, since I just print in PLA and never scrape the bed with any tools (I just flex it to release my prints), it's still in great shape and shows no sign of needing replacement.  I have replaced my nozzle several times, and while it's a bit dangerous to work with ~250 degree bits of metal, I have yet to burn myself and the overall process isn't that difficult.  Also, nozzles are relatively che