By: Zachary Vacha
Blender is a software program released in 1998 with the goal of letting users create their own 3D models, environments, characters etc. Blender has gone through many evolutions over the years and will continue as computers increase in power and utility. One new utility that computers have applied their power to is that of 3D printing. With the advent of being able to make a computer model into a real object that can be held and manipulated, applications like Blender that make these 3D models become ever more crucial in today’s world.
The uses of 3D modeling have been numerous for the last few decades, but they mostly pertained to entertainment, whether it be for video games or animation, Blender provided a free in-home way for anyone to try his or her hand at creation. Now that 3D printers are growing more affordable with each day, and the high-end printers grow ever more powerful, the average man who may have simply picked up the program to make an animation for his company, or to impress his friends can now make complex 3D models for use in things like prosthetics or specialized tools for fixing cars.
In order for a 3D printer to print an object, it needs a model to base it off of, think of the model as a blueprint or a map of where the printer should put plastic and where it should leave empty space. A skilled modeler can design intricate machines out of plastic, many have only one time uses due to the materials they are made of.
Now the ultimate question, how does this pertain to you the reader? Well, you can start working on 3D modeling right now! There are a ton of tutorials on sites like YouTube, and everything you need to get started (besides a computer to run it on) is absolutely free, of course, if you get really into it and want to use it professionally there are paid options such as textures and pre-made models etc. But if you, your company, or your school has a 3D printer you can start making yourself art/tools/toys/whatever you can come up with (within reason of course). In our modern world where we have access to near unlimited knowledge and tools, it pays to learn some of the information that’s out there, so go and try something new!