3d Printed Grip Tutorial

You will need to download and install the 3d modelling software Blender: https://www.blender.org/download/

and my grip model file: https://goo.gl/Mh8zn0

Blender Basics

Press and drag the mouse wheel to rotate the view.

Hold shift while pressing the mouse wheel to move the view without rotating the angle of the view.

Press 1 on the numpad to return to a front facing view, press 3 on the numpad to get a side view, and press 7 on the numpad to get a birds-eye view.

Pressing 5 on the numpad toggles between an orthogonal view and a wide lens view (best to keep things orthogonal though).

Right click to select an object.basics

  1. This is the location of the selected object in the 3d space.
  2. This is the name of the object.
  3. These are the dimensions of the objects in millimeters.
  4. These are the “tabs” in the blender file, sort of like how you have tabs in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. The first tab are the models for the longsword grip and longsword tangs, the second are the models for the bastard, and the third tab is for the EMSH grip and tangs.


Creating a custom grip

First you’ll need to put the fittings on your blade and take two measurements:

  • Grip length
  • Slot width at guard


Right now the grip model is just a solid object with no slot through it; we will need to select a tang to make a slot through it.

First, make a copy of the grip by right clicking the grip object and then pressing “control-c”. You will notice it says “copied selected objects to buffer” at the top of the screen. copiedPaste the object by pressing “control-v”. You will notice that it says “Objects pasted from buffer” at the top, and the outline of the object is red instead of yellow. Click and hold the red arrow (surrounded by the red square in the picture) and drag it across the screen so it’s away from the other objects. pasted

You will notice that the outline of the object is still red. Right click the object to properly select it, (the outline will turn yellow). Notice that the location of the object has changed since you dragged it across the screen. Change the X coordinate of the location to a nice round number like 100 so it’s easier to align objects. in the future.
draggedChange the length of the grip by changing the Z number under “Dimensions”.  In this case we’ve changed it to 156mm tall.


Since there’s a lot of variation in tang measurements, I’ve curated a number of tangs that have different widths at the bottom, but the same width at the top. These tangs have the width written in their object name, but you can also tell how wide they are by looking at the dimension numbers after you select the object. If the customer has measured the width of the tang at the guard slot correctly, you will want to make sure the slot is at least 0.4mm wider, as 3d printed slots tend to shrink a little a bit after cooling.

ADVANCED: You can adjust the width of the tang by changing the dimensions directly, but make sure you only make the tang wider, and never shorter, as this could make the slot too tight at the top. Remember to change the tang dimensions back after you finish using it. 


Make a copy of the tang, and change its X coordinate location to 100 (the same as where the newly pasted grip is). Change the dimension of the tang so it’s 1+ whatever the required length of the grip is. In this case that would be 156 + 1 = 157.


Now right click the grip and click on the wrench icon on the far right column. Click the “Add Modifier” drop down selector, and select “Boolean”.


Change the “Operation” to difference, and select the tang object you copied. You can tell it was copied because it has “.001” appended to the end of its name. Click Apply. 


Drag the model away and rotate the view to check if the slot has been created.


If the model looks ok, go to File -> Export -> Stl and export your 3d grip model 🙂 When you’ve successfully exported the model, it’s a good idea to delete the grip and the copied tang and leave the blender file exactly as you found it.


Create an account on 3dhubs and get your grip printed 🙂 You can find a 3d printer near where you live and just pick it up, but if really don’t know where to start, I can definitely recommend this guy: https://www.3dhubs.com/washington/hubs/ara.

My recommended options for printing would be:

  • resolution of 100-150 microns (although 200 microns may be fine too),
  • 25% in-fill
  • using ABS plastic as the material.

Generally you will be able to print a longsword grip at around $25, a bastard grip at $18 and a EMSH grip at around $12.


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