4. How to make name plates

The next step of the model making process is creating printable name plates for each model.  We have created another custom blender plugin to help with the process, name_plate.py available from our GitHub page.

EDIT (Feb 24, 2020): For Blender 2.80 or higher make sure to use v4.0 or higher of the plugin.  New features have also been added since these posts were made, updated version will be available soon.

Step 1: install the plugin

See our previous blog post about setting up Blender for instructions on installing a plugin from a file.

Step 2: Add a name plate object

Press shift + a, mouse over Mesh, and click on Name Plate.  This will add a basic name plate object to the scene.

A screenshot of the blender user interface. This shows the process of adding a name plate object.
Step 2: Insert a name plate object

Step 3: Adjust view to wireframe mode

It is a bit hard to see the words on the added name plate object by default since the text is the same color as the base.  To help see what is going on you can change the Viewport to Wireframe mode.

Click on the Display button at the bottom of the Viewport and select Wireframe.

A screen shot of the blender interface showing how to change the viewport to wireframe mode.
Step 3: Switch view to wireframe


Step 4: Adjust the parameters

After inserting the name plate there are several parameters that can be adjusted.

  • Size X: the size in the x-direction.  This should match up with the x-size of the base model.
  • Size Y: the size in the y-direction.  If you adjust the text size you might want to adjust this as well.
  • Size Z: the size in the z-direction.  This should match the total thickness of the base model.
  • Text: the text you want on the name plate.
  • Text size: the size of the text.  If you adjust this you might want to adjust the y-size as well.
A screen shot of Blender with a red rectangle around the parameters that can be adjusted for the name plate object.
Step 4: Adjust the settings of the name plate

Step 4.1: Add notches to the name plate

The last  three parameters a used create notches on the bottom of the name plate and adjust their size.  These should be used if the base model was printed with the “top edge off”.  These notches will line up with the ones on the base model.

  • Notches: check this box if you want notches on the bottom of the name plate.
  • Base height: This should match the Base height parameter used for the base model.
  • Border width: This should match the Base width parameter used for the base model.
A screenshot of Blender with red rectangles around the parameters that control the notch shape on the name plate and the notches on the model.
Step 4.1: add notches for attaching to “top edge off” versions of models

Step 5: Export STL file

The final step is to export the STL file.  Go to File > Export > Stl, on the export page set -Z Forward and -X up so the resulting file is oriented correctly when you go to print the file.

There are red rectangles around the parameters for setting orientation of the mode, the field for changing the file name, and the export button.
Step 5: export as STL file

In the next blog post we will go over how to make name plates with the command line.

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