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Blender vs Papercraft

Posted by alfith, 10 December 2012 · 1,422 views

In this post, I will give some tips I learned when I did the papercraft harvester for my son using Blender (see http://www.gamedev.net/blog/635/entry-2255522-rock-paper-scissors-but-with-a-blender-instead-of-a-rock/)

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1. The model.
I did it simple for a first try using many individual parts all in the same object. I split the geometry in separated parts to get a more rigid result. The other option was to create an armature hidden inside the model but it could have been tricky and it can be difficult to print.
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2. Prepare the unwrap
Select edges that will be cut and use the "mark seams" feature.
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To get a correct unwrap, edges that has to be folded must be aligned. If they are not, a cut must be made.
Here, the cyan edges are to be folded but they are not aligned.
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If you do not mark a cut here, you get this unwrap
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As you can see, the shaded face is no more a square. The model will not be correct.

The selection of the edges to cut can be difficult.
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It is sometimes easier to completely separate a bunch of faces from the rest of the model.

3. The unwrap
In step 1, I said to use only one object made of several parts. It is needed (as far as I know) because you probably want all your pieces to share the same scale. Using only one object, you can unwrap the whole model at once and get perfectly scaled parts.
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Do not forget to set the "margin" parameter to an adequate value to get room to cut the flaps.

I then exported the UV layout as an SVG file so I can create the paper model the size I want in Gimp. The harvester is an image of 11400x11400, but it is a bit too much, the final print was made on 6 A4 pieces of paper.

I thinks that's all. Try this at home !

Ah, you know, now that I think about it I think it was the fact that my parts were separate objects that was biting me in the ass. Thanks for the workflow. :D
I love the idea of papercraft models, maybe someone could write a program for printing 3d models into papercraft format, and vice versa.

I love the idea of papercraft models, maybe someone could write a program for printing 3d models into papercraft format, and vice versa.

There's a program out there already that does this, it's called Pepakura Designer. It allows a user to import a 3d model of various formats and then unfolds it and generates tabs and edge numbers to aid in construction.

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