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Model Designer Manual

1. Importing the Scan and Preparation

 

Opening the Model Designer menu 

 

Simply left click anywhere in the 3D working window. Press the ’N’ key on your keyboard. 

 

The Model Designer menu will be displayed on the right hand side. You can use the ‘Models’ tab to enter the menu.  

 

 

Importing the scan

   

You can use any of these import tab.

 
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Save, Undo, Redo 

 

Save your work regularly by using the save tab. You can also access the File, Save feature on the upper toolbar, or Ctrl S

 

Undo can also be done by pressing Control Z (both PC and Mac). 

 

Delete can also be done by pressing X, then delete.

 

 

Join & Separate

 

To join objects into a single selection, simply select one object, shift left click on another object, then press join objects. 

 

To split up joined objects - select the objects, then use the Separate Objects tab.

 

 

Reduce Model File Size 

 

Some scan file sizes are very large and can slow down your CPU. Use this feature to reduce the file size. This will reduce the number of vertices, edges and face. 

 

 

Add Colour & Texture ( Matcap ) 

 

When choosing your own colours make sure the Matcap is set to Material. 

 

  1. Select the object, make sure it is highlighted

  2. Press Add Colour

  3. Press the white/coloured tab

  4. Select your new colour in the colour wheel 

 

Tip: To change an existing colour, select the object, then ‘Delete Colour’ first. Go to step 1. 

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To set the Matcaps

 

Matcaps are different textures you can work with. Press the arrow.

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Some of these reflect the light in certain ways to give the object a shiny or matt appearance .  

 

You can access the Matcap settings by pressing on the Color tab on the menu, or by using the right hand side arrow on the upper part of the Blender window. 

2. Editing Scan Defects

 

 

Trimming Excess Mesh

 

Sometimes it is necessary to trim unwanted mesh from the scan. 

 
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  • Select the object

  • Press 'Fast Edit'

  • In the 3D Window, press 'C' for circular select.

  • Wipe over the unwanted area to highlight it.

  • Right click

  • Press 'Delete'​

 

Alternatively, work directly with the mesh in edit mode.

 

How to do this

 

  • Select the scan, make sure it is highlighted 

  • Press tab, to enter into edit mode

  • If all vertices are selected  (everything is orange), either left click in the 3D window or press Alt A, to deselect them 

  • Enter transparent mode

  • Press T, to access the left menu, then use one of the selection tools.

  • Select the area you wish to delete. Press the left mouse button and drag the selection tool over the area to highlight it.

  • Press X 

  • Then delete Faces, or vertices. 

  • Tab, out of edit mode

  • Exit transparent mode

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Tips: It is best to delete faces to avoid free floating vertices.  

Trimming Away Islands 

 

Trimming excess free floating mesh is essential for cleaning up scans. When selected, these islands are part of your selection. This means they are not separate objects in the scene.

How to do this 

 

  1. Select the scan, make sure it is highlighted

  2. Tab, into edit mode.

  3. Select a single vertex on the dental arch. ie. the mesh you want to keep. 

  4. Go to the Arch Cutting Tool and press Clean 

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Filling Holes

 

Scans can sometimes have holes in them. To fill a hole follow the following steps: 

 

How to do this

 

  1. Select the scan, make sure it is highlighted.

  2. Press Fill Holes

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Hints: The holes will be plugged with very few faces. It is best to use the sculpt tool to mimic the mesh of surrounding dental scan.

 

3. Model Making

 

You can only start making a dental model after the scan has been tidied up. All holes need to be filled, there should be no excess mesh floating around and rips need to be repaired. 

 

It is important to follow the sequence below:

 

  1. Aligning your scans 

  2. Arch cutting tool

  3. Cutting Tools *

  4. Patch Up *

  5. Making Bases

  6. Study Models, if not required go to Step 7

  7. Making Dies *

  8. Ditching Dies *

  9. Hollowing *

  10. Articulation *

  11. Export

 

* optional, and depend on the model you are designing. 

 

Tips: All scan editing should be done before extruding the model bases, to preserve the integrity of the mesh.

 

 

4. Aligning your scans

 

Aligning the scans into the centre of the 3D work environment is very important when doing any CAD work. The scans have to correlate with the Blender X,Y and Z coordinates. This will ensure that when you view the object from the ‘Top’ for example, (by using the tilde key navigation function), you actually get to see the object from the top.

 
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Aligning the scans into the centre also plays a key role in the model making process, since the walls of the model base are extruded in a vertical direction. The vertical extrusion prevents the bases from flaring out to one side.

 

Aligning the scans also makes navigation easier.

 

 

How to do this 

 

  • Select the scan (for example the upper scan), make sure it is highlighted. 

  • Press ‘Enter Target’

  • Select the opposing scan (this time select the lower scan), make sure it is highlighted. 

  • ‘Name Opposing’

  • Link /Flip

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  • The lower model will disappear. Go to highest cusp tips. Shift right click to place the curser. 

  • Press ‘Four points’ each time after you place the curser, or the letter ‘P’. This will place a point or vertex.

  • Repeat this four times only, on highest cusp tips and in a trapezoid like fashion. The points represent a hypothetical visual occlusal table. 

  • Align

  • Use X, Y, Z arrows, to get the orientation correct. 

  • You can Lock, or Unlock the upper and lower. Lock means that you cannot move the models in the 3D window.

  • Further manual adjustment, if required. Both  scans need to be selected: 

 

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  1. Press the Tilde Key ~ (if your key board does not have this, please refer to Tilde Key change). First view the scan from the ‘Top’

  2. Use the arrows, or press G then X (to move  the scan into the X direction) or Y (to move the scan into the Y direction), move the mouse. 

  3. Use R to rotate.

  4. Left click when done.

  5. Press the Tilde Key ~ ( to view the scan from the right side, or left side) and repeat the above process.

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Tip: Make sure the anterior teeth are facing towards you.​

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The Y Axis widget should display the Y. The green line is facing towards you so you cannot see it. 

 

The naming fields should read ‘target’ and ‘opposing’ when performing the alignment. These must not be altered and are used for coding purposes only.

 

5. Arch Cutting Tool

 

 

The arch cutting tool is used to trim the periphery of the scan to create a clean and precise border. The resulting edge is optimal for creating a base for the model, which has a simple and organised mesh structure. Keep in mind, a simple mesh is easier to slice and print. 

 

The prerequisite for using this feature, is that all loose and free floating mesh has been removed, the scans are free of holes, divots, drags etc. 

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Editing scan defects are done prior to using the arch cutting tool. If this still needs doing, refer to the editing scan defects section. 

 

How to do this

 

  • Select the scan you wish to trim. Make sure it is highlighted.

  • Find a suitable flat surface to begin the arch cutting line. Shift right click to place the curser.

  • Press Arch Cut. The opposing model will be hidden. 

  • Press E, move the mouse into the direction you want to go.

  • Left click to place a new vertex of the extruded line.

  • Press E, move the mouse into the direction you want to go

  • Left click to place a new vertex…..Continue this way. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the 'Extrude' tab and press on that. This will allows you to left click the entire arch cutting line. 

  • When you get to the other side. Shift and left  click the starting vertex. This means both vertices are selected, the end vertex and starting vertex. ( orange and white ).

  • Press F, to fuse the line. Alternatively, you can  navigate to the menu and press the 'Fuse' button. This will also fuse the two ends.

  • Press Trim

  • Select one face from the mesh of the dental arch. This is very important.

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  • Press Clean.

 

 

Tips: The arch cutting line should not penetrate through or go beneath the surface of the scan. It will not work. Keep it on the surface. In flat areas, you can set down less vertices. In convex & concave area, where the mesh is complex, place many vertices, or set down points. 

 

If your cut is unsuccessful, use Ctrl Z, and go back to prior step 11.  In edit mode, inspect the cut and find the area where the mesh is still joined.

 

Press Ctrl Z again, until you get back to the arch cutting line, after step 9.  Relocate the line in the problem area. Select the vertex you wish to move, press G to grab it, and move it to a better location, left click to set it down. Continue as usual, press Trim, as in step 10.

 

Navigating while using the Arch Cutting Tool is only possible when you set down the line. It is impossible to navigate while in the extrude mode.

 

Remember to select one of the faces before you press 'Clean'. We need to let Blender know what mesh we want to keep (in our case, the dental arch) and the mesh we want to delete (the remaining lower mesh).

 

 

 

 

 

6. Cutting Tools 

 

All cutting tools are offset from the surface of the object. 

 

Always align the cutting tool by viewing it from directly above. 

 
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How to do this

 

 

  • Selected the object, make sure it is highlighted, 

  • Use the curser as a starting point for placing the cutting tool. Shift and right click.  

  • Navigate to the menu and choose the cutting tool you want to use. This will position the cutting tool in the area of the curser. 

  • Press A. (If the vertices in the tool are not all selected ie.highlighted in orange) This will select all vertices in the cutting tool. If you require more vertices press the + sign for the cutting tool of your choice.

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  • Press S, to scale the cutting tool

  • Press G, to grab it and relocate the tool over the area you wish to cut. Since the cutting tool is offset at a  distance away from the surface of the object, always align the cutting tool from your vantage point to the part you want to cut. In other words aim it over the area you want to cut. There is no need to turn the model, keep the model as it is.

  • To shape the cutting tool, press Alt A to deselect all the vertices in the cutting tool. Select one single vertex in the tool, then use G, to grab it and relocate it. Left click to set down the vertex. Do this to shape the tool.

  • Choose either Keep Outside (this will delete all the mesh contained inside the boundaries of the cutting tool) or, Keep Inside (this will keep the mesh contained within the boundaries of the cutting tool, and delete all mesh surrounding it).

  • When satisfied with the location of the cut, press 'Accept'. This will finalise the process.

 

Tip: To delete the cutting tool, if you choose not to use it. Press A, to select all the vertices in the cutting tool, Press X, then delete vertices. 

 

 

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  • Press S, to scale the cutting tool

  • Press G, to grab it and relocate the tool over the area you wish to cut. Since the cutting tool is offset at a  distance away from the surface of the object, always align the cutting tool from your vantage point to the part you want to cut. In other words aim it over the area you want to cut. There is no need to turn the model, keep the model as it is.

  • To shape the cutting tool, press Alt A to deselect all the vertices in the cutting tool. Select one single vertex in the tool, then use G, to grab it and relocate it. Left click to set down the vertex. Do this to shape the tool.

  • Choose either Keep Outside (this will delete all the mesh contained inside the boundaries of the cutting tool) or, Keep Inside (this will keep the mesh contained within the boundaries of the cutting tool, and delete all mesh surrounding it).

  • When satisfied with the location of the cut, press 'Accept'. This will finalise the process.

 

Tip: To delete the cutting tool, if you choose not to use it. Press A, to select all the vertices in the cutting tool, Press X, then delete vertices. 

 

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7. Face Orientation

 

The Face Orientation check box can be used to see if there are any flipped normals. Flipped normals are sections of the mesh which have been inverted during some form of mesh editing process. This means that faces of the mesh which would normally show outwards, have been inverted and are now showing inwards. 

 

When the check box is ticked, the outside facing mesh should always be displayed in blue. The inside mesh should always be displayed in red. If the outside facing mesh is displayed in red, this means you have flipped normals. 

 

To correct this, use the Flip Normals tab. 

 

Flipped normals can result in the model not slicing correctly. It can also cause difficulties when printing. You can use the checkbox to inspect your work. 

 

Tip: If you see the surface of your work appearing darker or becoming shaded in a peculiar way, always check to see if you have flipped normals. 

8. Patch Up

 

This feature is used with a solid model. The magnet icon need to be  selected on the upper part of the window.  This will make the sphere stick to the surface of the model.  

 
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How to do this

 

  • Select the model

  • Shift & right click, to place the curser directly in the defect.

  • Press Patch Up

  • Use S, to scale the sphere

  • Use G, to grab it and to relocate the sphere.

  • When the sphere is highlighted, Press Shift D. This will  duplicate the sphere into and oblong structure. Set it into position with a left click. You can repeat this several times, depending on the size of the defect

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  • To submerge the sphere/oblong structure, deselect the magnet icon on the top toolbar. 

  • Select the highlighted ring, or choose any ring.

  • Press G, to grab it and relocate it.

  • Press the magnet icon.

  • Press Fill

  • Press Sculpt on the menu, or stress T. 

  • Select one of the Blender Sculpt tools on the left hand side menu. eg. Flatten and smoothing tool.

  • Exit Sculpt on the menu.

 

 

 

 

 

9. Making Bases

 

The model bases should only be constructed after: 

 
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  • The scans have been edited so that they are free from defects, like holes, drags, divots, rips etc.

  • The scans have been correctly aligned into the centre of the 3D work environment.

  • The scans have a neat border finish. Any irregularities in the mesh along the border, may result in overlapping vertices when the bases are extruded.

 

 

How to do this

 

  • Select the scan, make sure it is highlighted

  • For an upper scan, press Upper Base. For a lower scan, press Lower Base. You can also use the 'with border' button to make the base.

 

 

Tips: There is some leeway given with some irregularities along the border, but it is always safer to have a clean and precise finish line. Always consider the integrity of the mesh when designing your work. A crease along the periphery for example may cause problems later on with slicing and printing.

 

 

Scaling Bases

 

Bases can be scaled in two ways. Either, 

 

  1. Immediately after the base is created

  2. At a later stage. 

 

1. How to do this 

 

Immediately after pressing Upper or Lower Base. 

 

  • The model must still be selected from the procedure above.

  • Press on Scale. You should see the uppermost vertices highlighted in orange & you are currently in edit mode.

  • Use the vertical or blue arrow to scale the base upwards or downwards.

  • Press Apply.

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2. How to do this

 

Scaling a model base can be done at a later stage, for example, after the dies have been made or the model has been hollowed and filled.

 

  • Select the model. If you have dies, you will need to do a multiple selection to include all the dies.

  • Use the tilde key ~  

  • Select Front. 

  • Tab into edit mode

  • Go into transparent mode. This is very important. 

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  • Move the mouse to the corner of the model base and press B.

  • While holding the left mouse button down, drag a selection rectangle to include only the vertices on the floor of the base. 

  • Use the blue vertical arrow and scale the base accordingly.

  • Tab, out of edit mode.

  • Exit transparent mode.

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10. Making Dies & Ditching

 

There are two ways of making dies. 

 

  1. You can design a conventional die with a large perimeter around the entire tooth. The die is then ditched along the margin of the tooth preparation. This is best used when the tooth preparation is sub gingival and the margins are tricky to find. The model base should be broad enough to allow the insertion and removal of a large die without compromising the walls of the model.

  2. You can design a die which is extruded directly from the margin of the tooth preparation downwards. This is best used when the teeth are very close to each other and the model base is very narrow. This scenario is ideal for small lower anterior teeth, where there is insufficient space for a conventional die. 

 

 

Separate Die, then ditch

 
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  • Position the model so you can see the tooth preparation  directly from the above.

  • Shift and right click to place the curser where you want the cut line to begin. This should ideally be on a convex surface along the gingiva adjacent to the tooth preparation. Do not place it into the sub gingival crevice. Stay on the highest gingival contour.

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  • Press 'Draw Die'

  • Press E, to extrude the line.

  • Left click to set down the line. A new vertex will be placed.

  • Press E, to extrude the line.

  • Left click to set down the line. A new vertex will be placed.

  • Continue this way, until you get back to the starting point.

  • Double select both the starting and the end vertices. 

  • Press the 'Fuse' menu tab.

  • Press Elevate once. Then turn the model to inspect  the line.  Make sure the cut line is offset from the surface of the model. If not, then continue pressing the elevate while viewing the tooth from  above. This will raise the line.

  • When thoroughly offset. Turn the model to view the tooth from above.  

  • Press Make Die

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  • Set the offset. The gap between the die and the dental model. 

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