Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
05-09-2013, 03:39 AM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2013 03:42 AM by alejandro.)
Post: #1
Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
Is Wings good for making desktop 3D printable objects? It is mentioned here and there on 3D printing websites, but obviously it was developed long before the desktop 3D printer.

Here are my objectives:

- to dive into at most 1 full-featured 3D modelling software,
- to import and export STLs,
- to design manifold objects for desktop 3d printing,
- to have an efficient toolchain, from design to print (eg wings, meshlab, netfabb, slic3r, pronterface, print)
- to participate in a community that can help me with this,
- to know that I made a good choice investing in learning the 3D modelling software

I find that few people use wings, even after I filter out those who can access commercial CAD software. For some reason a lot of people use Sketchup, even though they complain that it is prone to making their models non-manifold.

Does Wings suit the objectives that I listed? Also, can you tell me why Sketchup is not a "subdivision modeler", and why that is important to Wings? And (last questions) are there any other major differences between Wings and Sketchup?

p.s.: Feel free to compare it to blender too, for 3D printing and learning curve.
05-09-2013, 05:58 AM
Post: #2
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
I would say that Wings3D is perfect for making 3d printable objects. It meets all the criteria you list.

I have not done any 3d printing but Wings will not let you produce a non-manifold model. That is assuming you do not use the .Hole command to make holes.... Smile

I think that being a subdivision modeler allows you to have a low poly model that you can smooth to a higher poly count on export or preview with smooth preview. When I last worked with Sketchup (it has been years) it was difficult to get nice smooth curves needed for organic models. Someone else can probably explain better... Sad

Sketchup will let you build a model face by face and also extrude a shape along a path. Wings requires a closed mesh that you mold like clay. Those who have used poly modelers get frustrated at first but once you understand the power of subdivision modeling (box modeling) I think you will love it. Wings may not be able to handle as many polys as Sketchup or Blender but since you can subdivide on export you can avoid those issues most of the time. There is a new 64bit Wings in the works that helps to some degree with the issues of high poly counts.

The learning curve for Blender is much greater than it is for Wings3D. Many use Wings3D to create their models and then use Blender to add details.

05-12-2013, 06:47 AM
Post: #3
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)

Wings3D is great for 3D printing applications. I have access to commercial CAD software but I prefer the Wings camera interface, and I also like that it is not history-based, but uses dumb solids, making it much less workflow dependent. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are trying to do, but it works well for me. If you want to see an assortment of models I've printed that I designed in Wings3D you can see them on my website here:

05-12-2013, 02:29 PM
Post: #4
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
Thank you both! It think I am sold on Wings 3D enough to give a serious crack at learning it. It seems to be underused over at, so I linked this thread there.
05-12-2013, 06:31 PM
Post: #5
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
(05-12-2013 06:47 AM)sandman Wrote:  ... assortment of models I've printed ...

What's the max. size / swept volume of RW object that's able to be printed with the kit you use ... and how does yours compare with the max size (commercially) available?

05-16-2013, 12:56 AM (This post was last modified: 05-16-2013 01:38 AM by Ran13.)
Post: #6
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
While I think Wings is perfect for creating your 3D design, Blender recently had a suite of tools added that really helps make your mesh 3D print ready by checking the mesh against a custom set of parameters that you set to match the prerequisites of your particular printing hardware. Things like intersecting faces, allowable wall thickness, and overhang angle which are important parameters to a successful print run.

I suggest starting in Wings for the initial design, then running it thru Blender to check and correct any problem areas.

Here's a page that lists the tools:

And a short (4:30) sample chapter of DVD video training that's available which highlights how the tools work in realtime:
05-18-2013, 01:46 AM
Post: #7
RE: Designing for 3D printing (and Wings vs Sketchup Questions)
A good article on Blender + 3D Printing

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)