Forums/Tutorials/3D Printing Tutorials & Tips

Blender tutorial: Shipwright in action

Derek Quenneville
posted this on August 4, 2011, 01:12

The creator of Entoforms evolves some spaceships


Dolf Veenvliet, the creator of Entoforms, recently modified his Blender plugin to generate models based on Shipyard - an amazing collection of spaceship parts by Greyoxide.

Dolf's creations are fun to play with - and they can be made on a hobbyist 3D printer or your Personal Factory - so I figured I would show how to use Shipwright step-by-step.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I'll assume that you have a clean install of Blender 2.57b. If you installed an earlier version of Entoforms, you'll want to deactivate those plugins and delete the files from the scripts folder. (They'll stand out based on the timestamp.)

Get the software

1. The Entoforms/Shipwright plugin is available via Google Code, so we'll need to use an svn client to quickly grab what we need. If you don't know what that is, you probably don't have one, so download and install Slik SVN for Windows from here:

If you're a Mac or Linux user, instructions on how to install the appropriate svn client are also at that link.

When installing Slik SVN, use these Custom options to enable only what we need:


2. Once installation is complete, drop to a command prompt and do this to download the Entoforms folder:


You don't have to specify version 57, but doing so will give you exactly what I installed. Linux and Mac users should be able to straight up copy & paste this command: svn checkout entoforms-read-only -r57

3. Download from

Install the software

4. Copy the folders from inside of entoforms-read-only over to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.57\scripts

5. Start Blender

6. Open user preferences via File -> User Preferences...

7. Type "dolf" into the search box and enable these add-ons:


8. Click Save As Default so that the add-ons will still load next time Blender is run.

9. Extract Shipwright.0006.blend from to any folder.

Make a spaceship

10. Now for the fun stuff! Open Shipwright.0006.blend in Blender and you'll see a screen full of parts like this:


11. Click Object -> Shipwright:


12. That will open the Shipwright DNA options window in the lower-left:


13. Type some text in the DNA box and press enter to generate your very own spaceship. Here's the "Ponoko" ship:


That's all there is to it!

Next steps

Now that you have a ship model, there are some extra steps to actually print the darn thing. Make sure that only the ship is selected (and not the giant text object of the ship's name) when exporting your STL file.

If you're using a hobbyist 3D printer, it will take a long time to turn the model into GCode. My own test with a simplified model took three hours to prepare for my MakerBot. The model I ended up retained its shape but had major problems:


... so if you're going to print one, don't try to reduce the detail of the model, just be patient. Or, upload the STL file to your Personal Factory.

- Blender:
- Shipwright:
- Entoforms:
- Shipyard:
- Slik SVN:



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Rich Borrett

Sweet! Thanks for the tutorial Derek!

August 4, 2011, 18:04
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Kristof Indeherberge

Well, I was looking through the Ponoko blog and came across this interesting tutorial. Being totally new to blender (but not to the 3D modelling thing,) I made it to the "enter text" part. Meaning, I can enter text in the DNA box, but nothing happens. Or maybe I'm missing something?

I just wanted to give it a try to see what this script can do. Hoping somebody can guide me through that last step.

Using Blender 2.58 (latest stable build at time of writing this comment,) didn't find the  \AppData\Roaming\ folder on my XP machine, but copied the entoforms script to Blender's scripts folder and managed to enable it like you describe. So I guess that part went fine.

 Nice post regardless :) Thanks in advance! 

August 11, 2011, 12:50
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Derek Quenneville

Kristof: It sounds like you've done all of the setup correctly, to get to the point at which you would have a DNA box to enter something.. Just to be sure - did you open Shipwright.0006.blend and then do Object->Shipwright? Or did you start Shipwright from a blank file?

August 11, 2011, 13:13
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Kristof Indeherberge

Hello Derek, thanks for you fast reply. Much appreciated. I did open the Shipwright.0006.blend file first, then clicked on the Object button and selected  "Shipwright " from the pop-up menu. I can see all those objects clearly in the viewport with a text overlay that reads "NAME."

August 11, 2011, 13:38
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Kristof Indeherberge

Found it! Right now, it's definitely only compatible with Blender 2.57--I just installed that version and everything works now. Great. Awesome post, Derek! Thanks.

August 11, 2011, 13:55
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Derek Quenneville

Ah, good - thanks for trying that. I was just checking the entoforms package and the scripts haven't been updated since the tutorial was posted. I imagine the next version will be made compatible with 2.58 though.

August 11, 2011, 13:59
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Kristof Indeherberge

The stuff this script spits out looked so awesome, I just had to keep on trying.

Hope they do get it fixed, although it seems that Blender is portable, so I can keep this version on my system and have fun meanwhile. What a nice way of blocking out models, not having to rely on doodles. With this you can be creative even if you have a bad day without inspiration, hehe.

August 11, 2011, 14:10
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Derek Quenneville

There's now a much easier way to make these spaceships! Have a look at

September 28, 2011, 14:49
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Kristof Indeherberge

With a big delay: Thanks for the update! I'm going to check it out. Cool.

October 17, 2011, 07:17
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Matthew Fogle

Hello everyone, 

I know it's been awhile since anyone has posted in here but I thought I would try anyway. I have the script itself up and running and have created a ship with a camera animation flying by. However I can not seem to get the preset layers in the background of the ship to disappear. I am new to blender and could use a hand. 



July 2, 2012, 10:18