Meshmixer: 3D Modeling Software

There are numerous great free 3D modeling software to help you with any of your 3D projects, and MeshMixer is one of them. MeshMixer software is a free product developed by AutodeskⓇ intended for easy creation of 3D mashups and remixes with specialized tools for 3D printing.

Let’s see what are the advantages of this 3D program and all the 3D tools it is offering.

Meshmixer main screen

What is Meshmixer?

Autodesk’s Meshmixer appears to be a really useful 3D software for 3D printing or even to elaborate some new designs for your products. It has a lot of 3D tools, such as 3D sculpting tools, remeshing or mesh smoothing features. It is ideal for creating 3D models on the basis of existing volumes, which are combined using easy-to-use tools.

You don’t have to be an expert or know how to use the software in great detail to understand this software. However, it is important to master the software’s basic functionalities, so you will still need to train in order to make the most of this 3D modeling software. 

The MeshMixer software includes many features that were previously not available combined in a single product that is also free. Some of the main features include:

  • Mesh & Mix - Allows to easily combine multiple models in many creative ways, this way you will be able to cut meshes easily and join them together in a few clicks. Plane cuts, mirroring and boolean tools can help you combine meshes.
  • Sculpt - Customize models as clay in real-time using different tools;
  • Stamp - Texturise models using different grid and pattern options;
  • Edit - Modify models and optimize them for 3D printing;
  • Analysis - Analyse different properties of the models (e.g. thickness, solidity, stability) related to 3D printing;
  • Print - Print your creation directly on a connected desktop 3D printer or by using an online 3D printing service like Sculpteo.

The main advantage of the MeshMixer software is that you can modify the 3D model without caring about it’s 3D topology. Namely the mesh-mix functionality is very powerful, it allows to easily attach one model to another where the software takes care about all the nuances related to the mesh modification. The interface is simple, first you choose the position where to attach the model, then you choose its orientation and it’s done. More information about the functionalities can be found in our MeshMixer tutorial .

Additionally MeshMixer can be used to 3D print your objects and offers functionalities useful for 3D printing. They are located in three category groups: Edit, Analysis and Print.

Why should you start using Meshmixer?

This free CAD software offers many advantages. First, it’s free. But that’s not it! For example, while starting with Meshmixer, you will have the possibility to use 3D designs available in the software archive, made of multiple galleries. Parts you will find in this archive include premade animal and human hands, feet, symbols, and other shapes you can use and mix together. This can be particularly useful for those who don’t want to start sculpting completely from scratch, you will have the possibility to start by editing STL files that already exist.

The interface of this software is user friendly and particularly well made for sculpting. You get a great detail level by using Meshmixer. This modeling software also has some great symmetry options to help you with your sculpting process!

This program is also the perfect choice to prepare your 3D file for 3D printing, from slicing tools to escape holes for hollowing and fragility analysis.

Edit tools

The Edit tools category contains functionalities that modify the model. The most notable functionalities used for 3D printing are the following:

  • Make solid - Recreate the model while making sure it's completely solid therefore making it 3D printable;
  • Hollow - Empty the interior of the model therefore reduce the material needed to 3D printing it;
  • Separate shells - Create different model from each separate shell therefore making it easier to manage them separately.
  • Resize - You can easily resize your 3D design to put it at the correct scale for your 3D printing process for example. Indeed, you will need a decent file size to print it. A 3D file is made of a series of triangles, Meshmixer allows you to reduce the number of triangle meshes to reduce the size of your design without affecting its quality and details.
  • Measure - You can measure accurately your 3D model, changing the scale of your object might have an impact on individual aspects. This measure tool is perfect to check this.

You can find more information about fixing your file in the “ Fix your files ” ebook.

Analysis tools

The Analysis tools category contains functionalities that analyse the structure of the model and its physical properties. All of the tools are mainly used when you intend on printing your 3D creation. Some of the included tools are:

  • Inspector - Identify problematic areas on the model and try to repair them automatically, this mesh repair tool is really necessary if you want to be sure your 3D model is 3D printable. The software will automatically indicate what is the problem of your 3D design: blue sphere means “hole,” red means “nonmanifold edges,” magenta means “tiny disconnected parts.”;
  • Stability and thickness analysis - Verify the thickness of the model and identify thin spots where breaking can potentially occur;
  • Layout/Packing - In the case your model contains multiple shells, this tools allows you to check the distance between each shell to be sure that it's more than the minimum distance for the selected material.

For more information about the analysis tools, please refer to the “ Make sure your 3D model is closed ” paragraph of the MeshMixer tutorial

Print tools

If you want to use the 3D printing technology, using Meshmixer to prepare your 3D file is a really good idea. Indeed, the Print tools category contains the functionalities that provide the final preparation for 3D printing your model. 

During the creation of your 3D printing project, you might need the use of supports, to print your parts, especially if your 3D model has overhangs. Meshmixer actually has great tools to generate supports.

Here you can choose the printer or the printing service that you want to use as well as the material that you want. If you want to print your 3D model using the online 3D printing service, the file is automatically uploaded and the price is calculated. Then the only thing left is to order the print.

Exporting

Once your 3D design is ready, you will have to export it into a 3D file for 3D printing, with the right file format for additive manufacturing. The MeshMixer software can also export your model in different formats. The formats supported by both MeshMixer and our service are stl, obj, collada and wrl. For a complete list of supported file formats on Sculpteo please refer to the Upload 3D file formats blog post.