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: http://www.sliksvn.com/en/download
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 http://entoforms.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ entoforms-read-only -r57
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 Shipwright.zip 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!
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.