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How to make key chains with Inkscape + Blender

3 3,071

How to make a key chain with Inkscape + Blender

3D Modeling, isn’t an easy task. But to learn something new, we need to start small.
So today I will show you how to make a simple key chain using Inkscape and Blender.

1º Step: Install Inkscape and Blender
If your’e using a Linux Distro, you can find Inkscape and Blender in your repository.
If your’e using Windows or MacOs, you can find Inkscape here and Blender here.

2º Step: Open Inkscape
Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s free and open source. When you open inkscape you will find a window like this:

Inkscape New Document - key chain

In this tutorial I will make a key chain with my name.

3º Step: Create a rectangle to be the back of the key chain:
I used the Align and Distribute tool to put the logo in the middle of the rectangle. You can access this tool with the shortcut Shift + Control + A or Object -> Align and Distribute, and this popup will appear on the right side, like the image below
g5547 - key chain

5º Step: Place the hole where you will use the key chain
Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-39-09 -key chain

As you can see, it isn’t a hole yet, I just put a circle in the place that I think  is a good spot for the key chain. I will use another tool that Inkscape have: Difference
First I will select the background rectangle and the circle, to select more than one object in Inkscape only hold Shift and select the objects.
Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-40-01 - key chain

After that you go to Path -> Difference or the shortcut Ctrl + -, and the result is this:
Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-40-54 - key chainAfter that, you need to select the name, and make a final transformation. You need to transform the text in a Path, so you go on Path-> Object to Path.

After that, save the file and your key chain is ready to go to Blender. Save the file in the default svg format.

6º Step: Blender

A lot of people get scared when running Blender for the first time. Like I did. On the about page on Blender website you can find the following description about this software.

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

So, it isn’t a simple software, but for our purpose in this tutorial, to make a 3D Modeling we only need a few features of Blender.

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-10-43 - key chain

7º Step:

Every time that you open Blender, you will find 3 things: A cube, a Lamp and a Camera, for this tutorial, we don’t need anything of that, so you can delete all of them by pressing the key ‘A’ and the key ‘Delete’. Blender will ask you if you want to delete the objects, confirm.

Select All Items with key 'A' - key chain
Select All Items with key ‘A’
Confirm the Deletion of the items

8º Step: Import the key chain file

File -> Import -> SVG File

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-23-52 - key chain

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-45-44 - key chain

9º Step:

At the menu you can see all the objects from the SVG that we imported. We will need select the letters to make a one object. So using this menu, select the letters with SHIFT hold and press Ctrl + J to join them. In this case I select the Curve 001 to 004.

g4203 - key chain
Before Join
Screenshot from 2016-02-22 14-56-23 - key chain
After Join

10º Step: Extrusion

Now we need extrude our blue background and the name, first we need to extrude the name. Select the name clicking with the right button of the mouse or using the menu objects.

You will go on the right menu to this option: Object Data

g4237 - key chain

This is the more important step here. You need to test the better extrude value for your key chain.

In this case I put on the letters 0.01 value, giving this result:

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-11-54 - key chain

Now we select the rectangle to set the extrusion value.

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-13-57 - key chainAs you can see, the layer with my name is hidden, so I will adjust correcting the Z position of the rectangle. I select the item and click on the Z axis and adjusting. You can also use the Ctrl key, but since I don’t know how to use it right, I use the axis on the view to adjust my objects.

After this adjust, I changed the extrusion value of the objects, name to 0.003 and rectangle to 0.005. Result:

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-26-05 - key chain

11º Step:

Now we need transform this objects in meshes, press the key ‘A’ to select all objects and press Alt + ‘C’, select the option Mesh from Curve on the pop-up.

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-32-28 - key chain

12º Step:

Now we need export this file with STL format. BUT you cant just save like STL, Blender is the only program to 3d modeling that have a plugin to export STL files for 3D Printing.

So to add this plugin you need:

File -> User Preferences

In Addons you write on the search box 3D print and the add-on will appear:

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-35-41

Select the check box to turn on this add-on inside your Blender.

At the menu on left you will find the toolbox 3D Print


Click on the folder bellow Export Path to select the folder that you want export the file, after that, click on Export.

Now your file is ready to be loaded in your favorite slicer! \o/

Screenshot from 2016-02-22 15-42-58

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  1. Robbie Pearson says

    Really good in depth guide! I’ve used Blender before and I know how challenging to can be to people new to it but you really covered it well. I’ll have to try 3d printing a keychain for myself with this method. Thanks for the article!

  2. Lays Rodrigues says

    Thanks for you review Robbie! Good luck! Let us know about the result!

  3. hogge says

    Would be fun to know if you can make keys with a 3d-printer that actually work. 😀

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