Creating Small Precie Parts for 3D Printing in Blender

Hello Blender forum,
Began making small parts (less than 12" square) in TinkerCad two years ago. The parts now being modeled are too complex for TinkerCad. It takes TinkerCad several minutes to render changes to parts.
Research into 3D CAD software pointed to SolidWorks as a solution. SoldWorks is very good for the small precise parts needed. It was indicated that a student subscription could be used for $90 /year. But now Solidworks says a subscription costing $2100/ year is required.
Several tutorials have been completed on Blender including one from Udemy published by titled ‘Complete Blender Creator: Learn 3D Modeling for Beginners’ with Grant Abbitt as the instructor.
This is a subassembly that is needed for a line of architectural LED lighting fixtures.

This is the complete assembly:

The process is to model the socket base and then attach the socket base to the Staircase LED Fixture.
Two questions please:

  1. Is Blender a good platform for creating these parts? That is, can all of the Blender features, animation, sculpting, lighting, texturing and many others be ignored to design parts similar to those shown?
  2. If the answer to question one is ‘yes’ is there a tutorial on create part features like the radial notches in the part marked ‘Round Socket Base’ attached herewith?


Allen Pitts

1 Like

Welcome to this site.
Take some time to look around and take part, support, and encourage other students.

Good to see someone interested in 3D printing rather than game models, some very different use perspectives.
Blender is widely used for 3D printing use. Especially sculpted things.

  1. Yes it is great.
    Yes pretty much ignore those areas unless interested in wider playing, like a render of a part to show people before making it. Blender can be addictive!

  2. The problem is often people used to CAD have a different way of doing things and Blender type software can feel unexpected. You have to be aware that even in tutorials to make such shapes, the priority of the lesson is rarely precision. It is not that it is not possible, just that the origins of this type of software are not engineering but art. But a computer can not help but be precise given the chance!

There are add ons that can be activated already in Blender, like the 3D toolbox that helps solve 3D printing issues with meshes. Or ‘Measure it’ for on screen measures of lengths for example that update as you change the length. There is a Cad add on being worked on called CAD Sketcher. It is free, but needs to be downloaded. ‘Maker Tales’ seems to do some tutorials about it and is involved somehow.


Welcome aboard Allen,

I use blender for the majority of my 3d printing stuff.
One good thing is creating more organic models with sculpting.
I do use it for more me mechanical prints too.

The CAD for blender add on is still getting developed and I for one am looking forward to it as it will fill that gap.

The one big difference with things like fusion, onshape etc, is that blender isn’t parametric.
But there is workarounds like with using non destructive modifiers etc.


This guy explains it very well in Blender.