Making Steam Punk Parts in Blender for ART, or 3D Printing




Introduction: Making Steam Punk Parts in Blender for ART, or 3D Printing

About: Lets see I'm your typical Aspergirl engineer lives in a computer sometimes wonders if I am an AI and I live to learn and create. I am in to art, mathematical art, CGI, modeling for 3D printing, gaming and ar...

OK I like making steampunk stuff in 3D then printing them out for cool parts later.

In this tutorial I am going to cover how to make simple gears and propeller blades to make steampunk decoration for one of my hats.

I will show how to make the model for this idea.

NOTE: I'm only going to go in to making the steampunk stuff but not that hat and background stuff as that is more a prop for this rendered image. I will however go in to this more in future tutorials.

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Step 1: Making a Simple Gear

First we will delete the cube...

We are going to make a gear.

We will add a cylinder. You can do this by pressing space bar then typing add cylinder or there is a menu on right and click on create then click on the picture of cylinder.

Press F6 right after adding it to open a properties menu. Change the number of vertices's to an even number.

In this case I chose 18. Why? Because we are going to create a gear and we need an even number for teeth.

Scale the gear down by pressing S Z and use the mouse to scale it down. (S = scale and Z = the zed axes)

Step 2: Giving the Gear Some Teeth.

Hit TAB to go in to edit mode

1. Click the face select.

2. Start selecting every other face of the cycler.

3. In the menu on the right click the Extrude individual and use the mouse to pull the faces out. This is a quick way but you can also select this option in the box next to view port shading box.

4. Select the top and bottom of your cylinder and press E to extrude and S to scale in to the middle.

5. Delete the top and bottom faces. We do this by pressing X and selecting faces from the delete menu.

Step 3: Filling in the Center of the Gear.

6. Now change your face select to edge select.

7. And next select the top and bottom edges and press F to fill in the inside faces of the gear.

NOW pressing TAB you have a vary simple gear!

Step 4: Finishing the Gear

OK we have a gear but lets make it look better.

1. Press Shift R near the edge of the gear and create 2 loop cuts

One at the top of the gear and one at the bottom

2. Be sure to do this on the inside as well

3. And while we are at it click the wrench and add a mulirez modifier

4. Next select all the faces on the teeth tips only, press E to extrude the teeth out just a tiny bit. This will make it look better when you TAB out of edit mode.

There now you have a nice looking gear!

Step 5: Making Propeller Blades

First add a cube then use the S and the desired axes you wan to edit change the shape in to a long thiin rectangle. Or you could change your manipulators to the scaling tool which gives you an XY and Z on a courser with boxes on it if this is easier for you.

1. Press TAB to go in to edit mode.

Next add a few loop cuts here shown by pressing Ctrl R too add the loops.

2. Where the arrow is pointing change your pivot point to individual organs

3. Select the faces shown and press S to scale down the rectangle to where it looks like a paddle.

4. After scaling the faces in a bit add a loop cut right down the middle

Step 6: Shaping the Blade.

After adding the loop cut down the middle switch to edge select and select the edges on the both sides of the paddle shape but not on the short side. Then press X to bring up a menu and hit edge collapse. Alternatively this can be done as well by using Alt M and Merge at center. However if you do this you will have to do it one at a time.

It should start looking like a propeller blade but it needs a twist and needs to be thicker.

To do this add a few more loop cuts in the middle of the blade then press Shift while clicking on the edges to select the whole loop cut. Then press S to scale out that loop cut only. Get the shape to look right by scaling all the loop cuts.

And making a twist...

Using the same action to scale the loop cuts out and shape the blade, select each loop and the rotate about 10 degrees in the negative... Then deselect one loop cut and repeat the -10 rotation operation and keep doing this until you run out of loops to select.

(Note: You can ether use the rotation manipulators, or press R [desired axis] -10)

You should have something that looks like this.

Step 7: Make the Blade Soft Looking and Change Its Pivot Point

Now the last few steps to making propeller blades.

Add a multires modifier and set it it to 2 subdivides and to make the shape softer under shading select Smooth.

Finally to fix the pivot point TAB in to edit mode press \ to isolate the blade object press A to select all faces and then press G to grab all faces and move them down till the pivot point is right at the end of the blade.

And that should be it!

Step 8: Feathering Blades...

Now we have a simple but nice looking gear and a nice looking propeller, next we will put these together.

I want to make the propers look like feather in a hat. So I want all the blades to fan out evenly and I also don't want to copy and resize them all because while yes I can do that, I know a faster snazzier way.

We are going to make a simple little fractal wooo! Oh and this is super easy ' )

First got to the wrench icon and add an array modifier to your propeller blade, and add a number to your new array. The number will change but this is our way of testing what we are doing.

Next add an empty to our scene, ether by using the left side tool box or press space and type "add empty". Pick any empty the shape doesn't matter.

Then go over to the blade and under array options set the empty as the object offset. This will make all the blades in the array scale relative to the location of the empty. Want to change how far they will be move or scale the empty object.

Step 9: OK This Gets a Little Crazy But Don't Panic

Trying to get the blades to make this nice flowing ark is a little tricky but don't give up.

Fist add a curve modifier to your propeller blade.

Next add a "Bezier" Circle to the scene and under the curve modifier set this circle to the curve object.

At that point everything will look a little woogy as you can see in the fist image. Now at this point I can't explain precisely what YOU will need to do, but I will tell you how I figure this out. I play with it.

Move the empty, use the scale manipulator, try the different axis positive and negative under the curve options... Basally at this point you end up messing around with moving the relative distance of the empty and as you mess around with things eventually you can get the shape you want.

Once you get all the blades arranged they way you like Press Shift D and make a copy of that array (I do this so you can still edit later if you need to change something), then press Alt C and select "Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf/Text... This will make that part of the model in to a new model that will be solid.

Now you can move the model how ever you like with out the array moving around and with out selecting everything over and over.

After messing around with an array and a curve till my feathered look comes together I want there to be an inverted gear to be what the blades will connect to.

For this I just add a new cylinder like before with a higher even number to make more teeth, however to save time I simply deleted the top and bottom faces of the cylinder and uses the solidify modifier to add an even inside layer of faces, instead of filling them all in.

Apply your solidify modifier and now you should have a cylinder that looks like a washer or an O ring.

Step 10: And We Are at the End of Modeling This Idea.

Making the inside gear is the same as the other gears and at this point it is up to you to be an artist.

I filled in the inner gear then added a few teeth to the outside and added a multires modifier same as the gears in the first step.

To make multiple gears inside the inner gear I took the gear from the first steps and press Shift D to duplicated it, and S to scale one down.

Arrange the gears inside as needed. In the second picture because I plan to print this out with a 3D printer I added a backing of a simple thing cylinder to the back of the inner gear part.

To make the gears look like they have an axle I just extruded the middle of the gear up and then extruded it again. Then press Alt M to merge and set at center to bring to fill this in making the gear look like it is held to an axle.

One of the last things I added was to the back of the outside gear part. I extruded a small longer tooth to the gear. This is to keep this part facing up after it is printed out and it will act as a kick stand.

For 3D Printers.

Important note: When making this for a 3D model you it would be wise to make the blade thicker and maybe overlap them. This will take away some of the dental but the plastic model will be stronger.

Hope you found this useful

Thanks for reading

Now go build something fun : )

Step 11: And Here Is What It Should Look Like.

The picture is of what it should look like after getting printed.
The print file I have made the blades closer and thinker. It is about 6.78mm long.

The Blend file has a bunch of things in it on different layers. Feel free to edit how you want. Only things not included is the background photo I used.

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6 Discussions

OK the 3D model of this. I checked the wall thickness and the only issue is on the front edge of the blades. I use a 3D company to print and I know this will print just fine so I am going to print it and I will post a pic as soon as I can.


5 years ago on Introduction

You what would be cool?

If you added your actual file, so that other people could print their own pieces, and work from your files to create new styles.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

That would be cool. I'm new to this and didn't know I could do that.
Ill see what I can do.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Just pretend the file is an image, and upload it that way (you'll have to hit the "Edit" button, up near the top-right of the project first).


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Yep yep I figured that out. Got it added. Tell me how it works on your end in case it needs extra editing. I am currently checking the wall thickness for printing as I type this.

Give me a few minutes I am going to add the blender file, knock on wood, and add a 3D ready to print file as well, since the feathers/propeller blades have to be a thickened a bit for printing purpuses.