Introduction: Make 3D Printable Voronoi Patterns With Autodesk® Meshmixer

Picture of Make 3D Printable Voronoi Patterns With Autodesk® Meshmixer

Voronoi patterns make interesting, organic looking models. Add a Voronoi pattern to any .STL or 3D model that will import into Autodesk Meshmixer by reducing polygons and applying the [Dual Edges] pattern. Read more about Voronoi diagrams on Wikipedia. Download Meshmixer for free here.

*View All Steps for Screen Shot Instructions*

See more print examples in our previous Instructable: "Little Dipper" SLA/DLP 3D printer.

Intro
Voronoi patterns consist of lines connecting points that are the centers of circles which intersect with the model's triangle mesh to create a tube like structure replacing the original polygons. Read more here: (wiki) Delaunay triangulation. Apologies in advance if I've misstated the concept. Math wizards, feel free to comment :)

These patterns can provide consistent horizontal cross sections for slices that might be helpful when using SLA / resin 3D printers. Voronoi models can print well on most Fused Filament 3D printers.

Step 1: Import Model and Reduce Polygons

1) Import model into Meshmixer [Import icon] or [file] > [Import]
2) Select entire model using keyboard Ctrl+a or use the [select] tool to click-drag certain parts you want to edit.
3) Click [Edit] > [Reduce] (Menu appears at top after selecting).
4) Increase the percentage slider or change drop down to lower triangle / polygon count. Less polygons result in larger openings in your final model. It may help to try a very low polygon count.
5) click [accept].

Step 2: Apply and modify the Pattern

1) Click [Edit] menu icon > [Make Pattern]
2) Change the first drop down to [Dual Edges] (pattern using exterior only) or [Mesh + Delaunay] Dual Edges (generates pattern inside model). Changing [element dimensions] will make thicker or narrower tubes.
3) To save model: File > export .STL

*Adjusting certain pattern settings may require intensive CPU usage.

*After clicking accept, you may want to reduce the new mesh polygons slightly for easier 3D printing or importing into other programs.

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Comment and enjoy!
Thanks!
-Marshall P.
ProtoBuilds.com

Model credit:
Non-Voronoi Bear on Thingiverse, modified for this Instructable.
Voronoi Body on Thingiverse
Non-Voronoi Bunny pre-loaded with Meshmixer, modified for this Instructable.

Step 1: Import Model and Reduce Polygons

Picture of Import Model and Reduce Polygons

1) Import model into Meshmixer [Import icon] or [file] > [Import]

2) Select entire model using keyboard Ctrl+a or use the [select] icon to click and drag certain parts.

3) While the model is selected, another edit menu will appear at the top left.

4) Increase the percentage slider or change drop down to lower triangle count.

5) Accept changes.


*Some models may need to have reduced polygons before applying the Dual Edges pattern (step 3). Less polygons result in larger openings in your final model. It may help to try a very low polygon count first.

Step 2: Apply and Modify Pattern

Picture of Apply and Modify Pattern

1) Click [Edit] menu icon > [Make Pattern]

2) Change the first drop down to [Dual Edges] (pattern using exterior only) or [Mesh + Delaunay Dual Edges] (generates pattern outside and inside model). [Element Dimensions] will make thicker or narrower tubes.

3) To save model: File > export .STL


*Adjusting certain pattern settings may require intensive CPU usage.

*After clicking accept, you may want to reduce the new mesh polygons for easier 3D printing or importing into other programs.

Comments

yellfish made it! (author)2015-07-20

Thank you so much for the instruction. I made 'a head' with two combined vonorio renders, one more organic and one more straight... kind regards, Paul

marshallpeck (author)yellfish2015-07-20

If you get a chance post up a how-to on that. I'm curious about your procedure.

very cool.

marshallpeck (author)yellfish2015-07-20

That super awesome. I love it. Really really good job.

SarahR85 (author)2016-02-21

After doing this voronoization procedure manually too often we created a free online service to tesselate 3D objects (stl, ply, dae, ..) with a voronoi pattern. It works with arbitrary forms. Test it under http://www.voronator.com and tell us what you think.

Matz (author)SarahR852017-03-27

Sarah, your tool is fantastic. While the instructions here are great and easy to follow, I had a hard time with my small model in Meshmixer. Voronator created an amazing pattern with my parts. Thank you so much.

TK Trooper (author)SarahR852016-11-06

i tried this and found it to be not very good at all sadly. I really find it hard to believe that the models that scroll across the bottom of the screen have been created by this website, and if they are not direct results of this then they are very very misleading. I tried to create a model of a giraffe (tried many setting variations), not one good one. The images are of the original and after the "voronator" had a go at it...... I won't be back!

world of woodcraft (author)2017-03-02

Thank you for this. I am dipping my toe into 3d printing. I find it easyer to learn a new tool when I have a project and I will definatly be useing this for my new project :)

TanyaAkinora (author)2016-09-05

Thank you! I like it!

lance.greene.5 (author)2016-02-12

Help. i tried using the guide but when it comes to

2) Change the first drop down to [Dual Edges] (pattern using exterior only)

the "pattern using exterior only" isn't an option, after trying all options there are no options to only use the external face. so there is always an inner and outer effect on the model, rather than just 1 exterior effect. i just downloaded meshmixer so it's the latest version.

LautaroR (author)2016-01-10

I've got a doubt, besides that it looks pretty, is there a practical use for this kind of patterns? Let's say, less material, resistance, something?

marshallpeck (author)LautaroR2016-01-10

There's quite a few practical uses for lattice / cellular patters. If you used the settings that fills the interior, it might be a useful internal support structure. The pattern it'self could be a novel way to automatically generate heat sinking patterns. Pretty much anywhere you need some automatically generated support, it could come in handy.

It's also interesting when this is printed in flexible filament. Kind of makes a squishy / shock absorbing thing.

I was interested in it for models to print with our resin printer, since resin printing solid objects is a particular challenge and resin is quite a bit more expensive than FFF/FDM plastic. This style also shows off some of the capabilities of SLA/resin printing. Also they're just neat looking :)

LautaroR (author)marshallpeck2016-01-11

Thanks! That's really useful, where I can read about the uses in 3D printing?

marshallpeck (author)LautaroR2016-01-11

I recommend searching "3d printed lattice" or "3d printed lattice structures". There's some pretty interesting stuff out there. Some of it can only be made using 3D printing manufacturing techniques.

LautaroR (author)marshallpeck2016-01-11

Thanks!, It would be interesting to see what makes light in an SLA piece with a voronoi infill

Ziko_ (author)2015-08-30

This is both useful & beautiful!

If we have a wire-frame mesh that didn't pass 3d printing check due to some thin spots. Would you recommend this tool for fixing that? If yes, how?

Thanks :)

marshallpeck (author)Ziko_2015-08-30

I use the following netfabb service to fix that have holes in them.
https://netfabb.azurewebsites.net/

Ziko_ (author)marshallpeck2015-08-31

Thank you very much!

krummrey (author)2015-05-04

Used to make it with meshlab, this looks so much easier. Thanks for sharing.

dward35 (author)2015-05-01

been wondering how this was done for ages thanks for sharing

The Manic Puppeteer (author)2015-04-30

I absolutely love Voronoi patterns and have wondered how to create them, thanks for the 'ible!

Oh, and you did quite a good job on giving a concise explanation of Voronoi patterns for people unfamiliar with the mathematics behind it.

seamster (author)2015-04-30

This is really cool! Love the look of your printed models.

Thanks for sharing this!

marshallpeck (author)seamster2015-04-30

Thanks for checking it out :)

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