Help Designing Numbers and Number Inserts for 3D Printing

Hey guys,

Currently designing an item that requires numbers recessed into the body, with numbers of another colour inserted into them, and likely glued in.

I have drafted it up with 3D text with a height of 20mm and a -2mm extrusion. This is fine, it is the number inserts themselves that I am struggling with.

How do I scale the numbers down so that when printed they fit in the numbers recessed into the body?

So far I have established that a height of 1.8mm will fit snug and level once inserted, but I cant scale the overall design down to make it fit. I have tried reducing the overall size but while the text is smaller it is smaller in the wrong dimensions.

For example. How do I make the outside diameter of the 9 smaller and the inside diameter larger, allowing it to fit into the original 20mm number 9, shown below.

I realise I can go through each number and manually draw the required lines in the right place but this will be very tedious!

Any assistance would be much appreciated and apologies if this has been asked previously, I have searched but not found anything.


Because you are working on a small scale, I would first scale your whole drawing, and each component, up by a factor of 1000x and where you want a length in millimetres, draw it in metres.

Then scale it all down again before exporting for printing.

You could start with a 2D copy of each different digit that you use - just a copy of the bottom face of what you have drawn as illustrated above.

Where the outside needs to be scaled down, select the outside perimeter (double click on an edge in it). Use the Scale tool, to scale about the centre, by whatever fraction your experiments suggest is needed. Do the same in reverse for the insides, to scale the ‘holes’ up - again, by a constant fraction.

Or alternatively, if it is a fixed distance you need the push-in numbers to be larger or smaller, use the Offset tool, then delete the original edges.

Make each resulting face a component. Push-pull it up to 1.8mm (or 1.8m at the expanded scale).

Then scale everything down, and print in the separate colour.

One or other of those approaches ought to work.

Thanks John,

The Offset tool seems to be suitable for this task. Thanks very much for your help with this, what a great community.

I will experiment with my prints and if/when successful report back with a picture of the completed project.

Thanks very much,

Glad to be of help. Look forward to see SKP and photos of finished product when done.

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