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How to Fix 3D Models Using Meshmixer

Hello Machine Bros!
Has it happened to you that you download an STL model that is not easy to 3D print? Today we will tell you How to fix 3D models using Meshmixer in order to make them easier to 3D print.

What is Meshmixer?

Autodesk Meshmixer

In our article Software used in 3D printing, we already talked a little about Meshmixer, and other software used in 3D printing.

Meshmixer is considered by many to be the Swiss Army Knife for STL models because this software allows you to modify, repair, cut, edit, combine, clean, scale, among other functions, your 3D models.

Even Autodesk itself defines its software as “free software to do amazing things.”

Meshmixer focuses on surface modeling, specifically on a triangular mesh.

Mexhmixer’s basic features:

Meshmixer interface
Meshmixer interface

If you need to cut a 3D model, scale it, make small modifications to it Meshmixer is an excellent solution, this software is ideal for making those small adjustments that will make your model more 3D printable.

This software has a tool that automatically searches for possible faults that your model may have and then repairs them automatically.

Next, we will show you an example of how we made a difficult to 3D print model, in 3 models that are easier to 3D print.

How to modify 3D models using Meshmixer

Cutting a 3D model in Meshmixer to be able to 3D print it easily. You can see how we 3D printed this model in the following link 3D Print – The Mask

Meshmixer Interface

When opening the software, the first screen we will find will be the following:

First view when opening Meshmixer.
First view when opening Meshmixer.

We will explain each of these options below:


Meshmixer Import tool
Meshmixer Import tool

The Import tool from Meshmixer, allows us to import an STL file to edit.

Meshmixer also supports files of the following type: .obj, .ply, .amf, .3mf, .off, .mix.


Meshmixer Open tool
Meshmixer Open tool

The Open option, allow us to open a Meshmixer’s file type (.mix).

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Option Keyboard Shortcuts from Meshmixer
Option Keyboard Shortcuts from Meshmixer

This option opens a PDF that list us all keyboard shortcuts used in Meshmixer.

Import Bunny:

Meshmixer Import Bunny
Meshmixer Import Bunny

This option imports the 3D model of a rabbit that is predefined in Meshmixer.

Import Sphere:

Meshmixer Import Sphere
Meshmixer Import Sphere

This option imports the 3D model of a sphere that is predefined in Meshmixer.

Import Plane:

Meshmixer Import Plane
Meshmixer Import Plane

This option imports the model of a plane that is predefined in Meshmixer.

Meshmixer Bunny, Sphere and Plane Models
Meshmixer Bunny, Sphere and Plane Models

Once selected one of the models, on the left side of the interface we find several tools.

Meshmixer tools that we will use to improve a 3D model
Meshmixer tools that we will use to improve a 3D model

In this article, we are going to focus on the tools that we will use the most to repair and/or make minor modifications to the 3D models, in order to make them more 3D printable.

Cut Models with the Select Tool

Meshmixer select tool
Meshmixer select tool

The Meshmixer Select tool helps us to select a specific region of the model, and then perform an operation on that selected region.

Starting from this tool we can cut the models to make them more 3D printable using the Plane Cut function.

This tool can also be used to 3D print a very large model, which can be cut into several parts so that it fits within the printing volume of the 3D printer.

Next, we will show you a video that explains how to split or cut a model with Meshmixer.

How to split or cut STL models in Meshmixer to print them more easily

The following 3D models were improved by us using this technique in Meshmixer, and then 3D printed.

The Pale Man

3D Print – The Mask

Hollow 3D Models with the Edit and Hollow Tools

Meshmixer Edit tool
Meshmixer Edit tool

Meshmixer, allows us to hollow out 3D models using the Hollow tool, found within the Edit option.

Meshmixer Hollow tool
Meshmixer Hollow tool

With Hollow we can hollow out a 3D model, either to use less material or for any other reason.

In the example that we will show you below, we use the Hollow function to create a vase and a piggy bank.

How to hollow out STL models with Meshmixer

The following 3D model was improved by us using this technique in Meshmixer, and then 3D printed.

Quantum Vase

Repair 3D Models with Inspector and Make Solid

Meshmixer Analysis menu
Meshmixer Analysis menu

Meshmixer’s Inspector tool is under the Analysis menu.

The Inspector tool automatically analyzes the 3D model, indicating possible errors with spheres.

Clicking on the spheres Meshmixer will automatically attempt to repair the error.

If we are not satisfied with the result obtained, we press the Ctrl + Z keys to undo the change.

Meshmixer Inspector tool
Meshmixer Inspector tool

There will be times where Inspector will not be enough to fix the error, and it may throw unwanted results.

If this happens, we can use the Make Solid tool found in Edit.

Meshmixer Make Solid Tool
Meshmixer Make Solid Tool

The Meshmixer Make Solid tool turns the entire 3D model into a solid assembly.

With the use of this tool, problems are usually solved that we cannot repair using the Inspector tool.

The disadvantage of Make Solid is that Meshmixer sometimes takes time to perform the corresponding calculations, in addition, the final 3D model usually weighs much more (in Bytes) than the original model.

But sometimes, Make Solid will be our only alternative.

In the following video you will learn how to repair the 3D models using these two tools, Inspector and Make Solid.

How to repair STL models with Meshmixer

Smooth the Surface of a 3D Model with Remesh and Refine

There are 3D models that have a very rough or polygonal surface finish.

Meshmixer allows you to smooth said surface, using the Select tool and select the area you want to smooth.

To smooth the entire 3D model, press Ctrl + A, and the Edit option will appear. Then choose the Remesh option and you will be able to create a new, much denser mesh, that is, with many more triangles and this makes the 3D model have a smoother surface.

Meshmixer Remesh tool
Meshmixer Remesh tool

Then we will use the Sculpt tool, and look among the brushes for one called Refine.

Then we pass the brush over the areas of the 3D model that we want to smooth while we hold click with the mouse.

Meshmixer Pincel Refine
Meshmixer Pincel Refine

Here’s a video explaining how to smooth the surface of a 3D model using these Meshmixer tools.

How to smooth the surfaces of STL models with Meshmixer

Sculpt the 3D Model to Make it More 3D Printable

The Meshmixer Sculpt tool allows us to make small modifications to the 3D model, to make it more printable in 3D.

The brushes that we show below are the ones that we normally use to modify 3D models.

Meshmixer Brushes
Meshmixer Brushes

We are going to give you a brief explanation of the function of the brushes that we usually use to sculpt a 3D model.

Draw: It allows us to pull and/or sink the surface of the model
Flatten: It allows us to flatten the surface
Pinch: It allows us to delineate the surface by pinching it
BubbleSmooth: It allows us to smooth the surface by expanding it
ShrinkSmooth: It allows us to smooth the surface by contracting it

In the next video, we will show you how to use the Meshmixer brushes to sculpt a 3D model and make it more 3D printable.

How to sculpt STL model to make it more 3D printable with Meshmixer

The following 3D model was improved by us using this technique in Meshmixer, and then 3D printed.


Add Thickness to a 3D Model to Make it More Resistant in Meshmixer

You may need to increase the thickness of a 3D model to make it more resistant or printable.

Next, we will show you different ways on how to add more thickness to your 3D models (STL) in Meshmixer:

Conclusions About How to Fix 3D Models Using Meshmixer

With what we showed you in this article, you will no longer have to give up those 3D models that you download on the internet and come with a defect, or with some degree of complexity that makes it difficult to print in 3D.

Meshmixer you can make certain modifications to your 3D model so that it is easier to 3D print.

With time and practice, you will learn to identify these problems more easily, and you will find increasingly optimal ways to improve your downloaded models.

Any questions you have, do not hesitate to leave it in our comments section, as well as any contribution you wish to make, we are here to grow together in this wonderful world of 3D printing.


See you soon Machine Bros!



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