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Sunday, October 17, 2010

SolidWorks Free CB Model Pro enables rapid 3D organic modeling for 3D Printing

CB Model Pro was built around the idea that surfaces should be manipulated directly. The result is a very intuitive and highly productive tool for 3D content creation that seamlessly fits into the production pipeline. CB Model Pro was developed by the creators of Cosmic Blobs, the award-winning entry-level 3D graphics software. 

CB Model Pro is part of Dassault Systèmes exploratory initiative to promote the discovery and use of 3D to all kinds of consumers, in particular young users. Innovative technology development, with products such as CB Model Pro, and interaction with many market communities serves as an incubator for new software concepts and continues to drive thought leadership towards “3D For All."



Q: What can CB Model Pro be used for?
A: CB Model Pro enables rapid 3D organic modeling. Although applications for it are only limited by your imagination, we anticipate it to be particularly useful for conceptual design, industrial design, high resolution character design, and creating models to be used as normal maps.
Q: What are the limitations of this beta?
A: The beta version is complete and fully functional. We welcome your feedback as we work towards version 1.0.
Q: What is the output of CB Model Pro?
A: A model can be exported as a triangular mesh into several 3D formats, including the industry standard STL, VRML, and OBJ formats. VRML and OBJ output also includes texture coordinates and images.
Q: How do I start modeling?
  1. Click on the sphere primitive at the top of the window to bring up a sphere.
  2. Click the Point Pull button on the right side of the window.
  3. Click and drag on the sphere to deform it.
  4. Move the slider at the bottom of the window to change the deformation shape.
  5. Explore the UI and read the documentation for other features.
Q: How do I create a texture on my surface?
A: In paint mode use the paint brush and airbrush tools to paint the surface directly. You can also apply your image to a model. See the documentation for instructions on how to do this.
Q: Can I browse the documentation online?

Yes, CB Model Pro Documentation.


Visit our Forum to join in the discussion.

The CB Model Pro forum is new and improved so please refresh your browser or empty your cache to get the new link.

Free Download;



Windows 2000 or XP
Intel or AMD processor 1.5GHz; 512MB RAM; 64MB OpenGL compliant 3D video card
200MB hard disk space

Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther; 10.4 Tiger
G5 or Intel processor; 512MB RAM
200MB hard disk space 


CB Model Pro beta version is distributed as a self-installing 


Visit CB Model Pro Community Fan Sites:









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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Considerations when designing for 3D printing

A model must be ‘watertight’

If a 3D model contains holes or gaps it will not be suitable for 3D printing. The model must be completely closed or ‘watertight’ as it is more commonly referred to. This should be done before the model is exported as an STL file because it can be difficult to spot and fix the problem areas once it has been converted. This problem can also occur during file translation from one modelling system to another. You may wish to try Accutrans if you want to fix the problem yourself or we can give you a quotation for carrying out the work. The example below shows several ‘gaps’ in the mesh indicating problem areas.

Non-manifold objects

Non-manifold objects cannot be printed; the basic definition of a non-manifold entity would be if it has edges that are shared between more than two faces. The picture below shows an example of this.

The two cubes shown in this picture have one edge in common and therefore are shared by four faces. If you are interested in the mathematics of manifolds have a look at this article, but be warned it’s not for the faint hearted!


If your model contains inverted normals the printers will not be able to determine the inside or the outside of your model/mesh. All normals should be pointing in the correct direction. The picture below shows the normals (small blue lines) as all coming out of the model and are therefore correct. To show the surface normals in your modeling package refer to your software documentation, alternatively download Meshlab which can process STL files and show the surface normals. This Wikipedia article has more details on surface normals.

Object size
The maximum size of object will be determined by the process chosen, please refer to our materials section for more information. If your model is too large for our printers then the model can either be scaled down or broken down into smaller pieces that can be fitted together afterwards.

Minimum wall thickness

Minimum wall thickness is defined as the minimum thickness that your model should have at any given point. The pictures below give examples of a bad wall thickness and a good wall thickness that can be printed.

Example of no wall thickness

Example of a printable part

The minimum printable wall thickness will depend on the process chosen, please refer to our materials section for more information.

Why is minimum wall thickness important? Having a thin wall section will make the model very delicate and this will cause problems when we try to remove the support material and also with the general handling of the model. If there are large areas of thin wall thickness this can also causes errors with the build of the model.


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