Introduction to 3D Modeling and 3D Printing




Introduction: Introduction to 3D Modeling and 3D Printing

Interest to create:

The first and foremost important step is to have interest in creating the 3d design and curiosity to see it in the reality.

Make sure you have a creativity, interest to do things and little time to spare to learn things.

Before we go into the 3d modeling lets see under what category you come under:

  1. Make sure what you wanted to create that depends on you, there are basically two primary factors for the considerations
    • Engineering based 3d modeling (Manufacture quality)
    • Creative modeling (Art type)
  2. Engineering based modeling is one which is made according to the various dimension properties of the model. It is considered that each and everything is measured and created.
  3. Creative Modelling is creating the 3d models as per the creativity of the mind and doesn't care much about the dimension parameters.

Engineering based 3d modeling

By the by, if you are Engineering students you might be familiar with the first-semester Engineering Graphics where you are made to create some of the drawings, this something similar to that but doesn't be afraid, it is so easy than what you think.!!

  1. Make notes of the part which you need to model, make a rough sketch with the dimensions in the paper.
  2. Start drawing the things in the software and extrude in the 3d space and thus it will be made as a 3d model and you can just export the file in the STL format for 3d printing and load it into the 3d printer to print.

IN THIS I AM GOING TO SHARE ABOUT THE ENGINEERING BASED 3D MODELLING..... without wasting much time lets move to the first section...!!

this is the video version of this Instructables you may follow it in the youtube

Step 1: Video Tutorial of This Instructable in Youtube

This video can make you understand better thank you...

Step 2: Making Notes of the Dimensions

The main Important aspect is to make notes of the dimensions and other details of the things which you are going to work on.

Whatever may be the thing you must know the exact dimensions, angle, and strength of the material on which you are going to print for your purpose.

For example: Here I am going to explain by taking a cube with a hole in the center.

Dimensions: The size of the cube is 50 mm, the diameter of the circular hole I consider for my purpose is 20 mm,

I am in need of the semi-thick material so I take ABS plastic as a 3d printing material.


(I don't want to get in detail about the selection of the dimensions or the material, you may decide according to your purpose, for further clarification you may google and see what are the different materials available in 3d printing )

Step 3: Software (Autodesk Fusion 360)

Another main confusion is what is the best software for the 3d designing. The answer is there is much software to suit this purpose but if you ask me I will suggest you use Autodesk Fusion 360.

Reason is It is very easy for the beginner aspect as well it suits the purpose for the high-level simulations when compared to other software such as creo, ansis etc

  1. go to the link and download the software it is free for a 1-year entrepreneur or 3 years free as student
  2. Follow the installation procedure and start using it.
  3. There will be cloud storage for you and each and every design made is stored in the cloud and can be accessed or shared with anyone easily.
  4. Other Important things to say about that software is we can see the designs form the fusion app as all the details are stored in the cloud.
  5. Nothing more after you use and get familiar with the software, you will love the plenty of the features in the software.

Step 4: Designing of the Model

Designing the Square:

  1. Open the Fusion 360 software.
  2. Select the Sketch Option and click on the center point rectangle (any kind of rectangle or you can also draw the lines as per your wish).
  3. Select the plane where you need to start the sketch. ( any plane this also your wish, here I select the bottom plane).
  4. Create the square by mentioning the distance of both sides as 50mm each.
  5. Even you forgot to do that you can dimension it anytime by clicking the D key or dimension in the sketch option.
  6. It is the 2d sketch, to make it a 3d model, Select the Extrude option in the create tab or simply press 'E' key, then mention the distance as 50mm or -50 mm, (here "-" represents the direction of the extrusion.)
  7. Thus great you have created the first 3d model.!!!!!

Designing of the Hole in the Middle :

  1. Select the Sketch Option and click on the center point circle.
  2. It is important to select the top or bottom face as the place to sketch.
  3. Create the circle of diameter 20 mm on the top face.
  4. Select the circle face and extrude the surface to the other side of the square and select the option as Cut.
  5. Great you have made the required 3d model.!!!!

(Make sure you follow up the screen capture pictures ) (soon I will try to upload the screen capture video).

Step 5: Creating of the Engineering Drawings

From the designed model, the Engineering Drawing can be easily created as follows :

Creating the drawing

  1. Select the Drawing Option ->from design
  2. Then select the model you have created.
  3. Place the model base view in the center, then to get the top, side and front views, click on the project views and place in the required region.

Dimensioning the drawing:

  1. Select the dimension option and mark the required dimension for all the regions.
  2. The sides may highlight when the dimension option is selected or manually select the points for which the dimensions have to be made.
  3. Mark all the dimensions of the model specification such as circle diameter, projections or angles etc.
  4. Make the title and specify the drawings is in which measurement scale such as in mm, cm etc.

Note :

  • All the texts in the drawings must be preferably in the capital letters
  • Mention at the bottom as "ALL DIMENSIONS ARE IN MM " or CM etc like that...!!

That's awesome you made a professional Engineering Drawing good keep going....!!!

Step 6: Exporting Stl Format

The 3d model is exported in the STL format so has to be 3d printed.

  1. Select the 3d print format from the file tab.
  2. Then select the total mesh and click ok.
  3. Save the STL file.

Step 7: 3D Printing

To really start printing, there is one major step to transform the STL file to set of G codes understandable by the 3d printer.

Software Required:

  1. There is custom software coming with the 3d printers, but for the general purpose, we can use one of the opensource software called CURA form the ULTIMAKER printers. The link to the software is as follows

Creating the G codes

  1. Open the STL file generated from the fusion 360.
  2. There select the options that suit you. (Select the infill amount such as 0 % to 100%, depending on the rigidity you want the output to be )
  3. At the bottom, we can see the print output mass and the time taken to print. ( be patient for even for small print it takes hours).
  4. Finally, select the option save to files as G codes. The set of the required G codes for the print is made.
  5. Thus paste the G code in the sd card and start the 3d printer.

SIIT BACK and relax....!!!

Step 8: OUTPUT

There is nothing more..... it's your turn to upload your models, Fusion 360 models and the 3d printed outputs... keep enjoying ...

If you have any doubts feel free to comment or ask. I will try my best to solve.

thank you and be happy, God is with you... all the best

With love


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5 years ago

The only problem I have with Autodesk based tutorials is that NONE of their software works in Linux.

Not 123D (which I think has been replaced by Fusion360) not Fusion360.

Not a knock against the software. It may be GREAT software.

That I'll never use, as it doesn't run in Linux


Reply 5 years ago

My alternative goto software is Blender.

It's not perfect. NO software is.

Not everyone who's using Linux based software is using it simply because they think it's the best.

I like Blender. It does a lot, but, first and foremost, it works. Unlike Autodesk software which doesn't on Linux.

I say all this, in general, to suggest, that tutorials on 3D modeling and Printing work best when covering general principles that apply to almost all 3D modeling software or cross platform software (that at best includes Linux) - this example, not always.


Reply 5 years ago

Blender is very good software I personally use it for the animation purposes.... but when you need to do with perfect dimensions then fusion is good . It is bad to know fusion doesn't support linux... then Blender in that case can be a better solution. Thank you for ur Comment


5 years ago

You can do so many fun things in fusion :)


Reply 5 years ago

Yes true.....:)


4 years ago

Please tell me WHY Autodesk does not or can not explain the use of this app as you I understand how it works and what to do to use it(if it does not crash)...This is a fantastic tutorial and they Autodesk should PAY you very well to use this tutorial. Now please do the same for Blender.


Reply 3 years ago



5 years ago

OpenSCAD and FreeCAD are more desirable where precision is key.

OpenSCAD more a programming tool. FreeCAD more a conventional tool in that regard.

They both, also have their respective learning curves - in different, not cross compatible directions based on their respective methods.

Blender has added the measureit addon to help with precision modeling as well as blueprint type output. They are also (thank you) working on tweaking the user interface customed to the type of modeling you're doing (interested in doing): Animation, 3D Printing, Cartooning, etc.

To Fusion's credit, like "Blender" (name already taken), they're trying to merge different styles of design under one roof so to speak. And doing a decent job of it.

Challenges, not just for Autodesk or Blender is that, given the intrusion of 3D printing into the market, what they have done and been good for is not enough going forward.

The animator (or cartoonist) doesn't have to have an airtight manifold. The 3D printer isn't as concerned with proper rigging. Although proper "rigging" (design) may be a factor in multi-piece interlocking, transformer type models or models made using gears.

NO one software can adequately meet such diverse needs anymore than a sound system adequately plays classical, opera, rock, and techno funk.

Understanding this, allows me to appreciate the benefits of both Fusion as well as Blender, as well as their limitations, and where possible to fill the gap using OpenSCAD or FreeCAD and knowing that I can port from Inkscape to OpenSCAD, or from OpenSCAD to FreeCAD or from either OpenSCAD or FreeCAD to Blender and am equally free to import from Blender (or Fusion360 or Sketchup) via common model formats means I'm not bound by the limitations.

Interoperability is key.