Prepping for 3D Printing – Part III

Is it Manifold? (is it ‘urked-up?’)
Objects must be manifold : The explanation is evidently quite complicated but can be simplified so that .. if two or more faces share a common edge it becomes non-manifold. Blender evidently can correct this (Blender is a free program)

Being the uncomplicated guy that I am – I don’t worry about many of the problems .. I just let another piece of software fix ’em.

netfabb Studio Basic – this excellent (and free) software will repair most of any problems in your mesh. The pro-version evidently does more but unless you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffett you can forget it ..

Project >> Open >> browse to your STL file, select and click Open

The object will open on the screen and if there are errors (usually) a triangular icon will display announcing that.

At the top of the screen is what looks like the Red Cross Symbol .. a thick red plus-sign. That is your ‘Repair’ icon. Click it. On the next page click ‘Automatic repair’ .. execute .. then ‘Apply Repair’ and ‘Remove old part’ then .. ‘Yes’.

That will usually fix everything. There are some other choices .. for example if the repair fills in a hole you will have to get a little deeper into the program. During the repair bit you can click the ‘Actions’ tab where you can select to ‘Close trivial holes’ or ‘Close all holes’. Normally this isn’t needed.

To save the corrected mesh ..

Part >> Export Part >> as STL .. save it and ‘happy feet’

Material Restrictions
Ensure you follow the maximum wall-thickness and sizes : What this means is that each material you have your object printed in has certain restrictions as to .. well .. wall thickness and size (resolution).

If you look at Shapeway’s Materials comparison sheet you can see what I am talking about -the page shows Production method, Material Quality Minimum detail, Minimum wall thickness, Maximum size, cost etc.

In a bit I’m going to talk about only one material, FUD (Frosted Ultra Detail) as that’s (currently) the best material for the detail we need for our models .. but .. the slightly rougher White, Strong and Flexible might very well substitute for Derlyn in like .. roll your own loco frames.

For FUD the minimums are:

min wall thickness (mm) – 0.3
min detail level (mm) – 0.1
max size (cm) – 12x18x15

Just using FUD as an example (above) keep your design so you follow these rules. It is a little more involved then this .. depending .. there is an excellent tutorial though – Frosted Detail & Frosted Ultra Detail Design Rules

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