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Introduction to 3D Design and Printing

Resources to learn about 3D design and 3D printing best practices

What is Blender?

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software used for creating 3D printed models, art, animated films, video games, and visual effects.

Blender can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Helpful Hints for Use and Navigation


Blender’s default Screen Layout with five editors.

Info (blue), 3D View (yellow), Outliner (red), Properties (green) and Timeline (purple).

Selected Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Command+Z-Undo (Ctrl+Z on Windows)
  • A-Select  all/Deselect All
  • B-Block Select; Draw a box around the objects using left mouse button
  • C-Circle select; Select with left mouse button; use the scroll wheel to change size of circle
  • Tab-Toggle between Edit mode and Object mode
  • E-Extrude
  • S-Scale; Hint: tap X, Y, or Z if you want to constrain axis
  • R-Rotate; Hint: tap X, Y, or Z if you want to constrain axis
  • Ctrl+Tab Toggle between Vertex, Edge, and Face mode
  • X-Del (num pad del on keyboards with number pads)
  • Shift+Right click select more than one object.  Hint: Selection order matters.  The last object selected will have the lightest halo. 
  • Shift+Option(alt)+Right Click Selects Edge Loops.

Basic Mouse Navigation Commands

A three button mouse is best to get the most out of Blender. If you don’t have that kind of mouse you can find a 3 button mouse emulator in the settings. 

  • Press Scroll Wheel—Orbit Move through the environment in 3d
  • Roll scroll Wheel—Zoom in and out
  • Right mouse button—Select objects
  • Left mouse button—Move 3d cursor
  • Shift+Press scroll wheel—Pan; move the environment in 2d.

Resources for Learning