3d printing help

Dear Lazyweb, who among you has experience creating and printing non-flat 3D objects via Shapeways or similar?

I have something that I'd like to have 3d printed, but one of the things that Sketchup is incredibly shitty at is making things that don't have holes/leaks in them. The extrude/intersect commands fuck up all the time.

Can I send you my leaky .skp file and have you send me back something that Shapeways's printer won't completely fail on?

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14 Responses:

  1. Jez says:

    Sketchup isn't a solid modeler. It lets you draw surfaces in 3D and they look like they are 3D, but Sketchup lies.

    What kind of shape is it? If it's easily constructed from primitives, then write a script in OpenSCAD. If it isn't, then make it simpler. Maybe try TinkerCAD. Or stump up proper money for a proper solid modeling program.

  2. miloh says:

    There's a register req'd download of Netfabb studio basic that you can use to heal the broken mesh and export a better stl. It's worth a try since many find it useful. For rebuilding from scratch, OpenSCAD is amazing, and the compatible implicitCAD is adding features all the time. All the extra geometry inside the trimble(?!?) .skp makes for a poor 'watertight' .stl, hth.

    Send over the skp for a look.

  3. Tim says:

    There are a lot of modelers on the Shapeways forum who can do stuff like this, some of them pretty cheaply (3D Modeler needed, 3D Modelers for hire). They also have the experience to do things like hollow out the insides to save on printing costs (you don't pay for unsintered material), add support walls, etc.

    Sketchup Pro has solid modeling support, which I imagine makes it better at this, but I'm not going to spring for it to find out.

  4. Logan Bowers says:

    I second the use of netfab basic, it will help you find and repair manifold errors. You can also send me an stl/skp and I'll run it through pronterface (3d slicing program for my printer) and see if it complains (it always does on the slightest error).

    I minus one the use of OpenSCAD for anything not stupidly trivial.

  5. jwz says:

    I wasn't attempting to ask, "what completely new CAD software package should I go and learn." I am aware that Sketchup does a shitty job of this, but CAD programs all have learning curves like a plumb line and for this one stupid thing I don't want to bother. I've got other shit to do.

    I was hoping for someone who actually knows what they're doing to help me out with the model.

    • John Lenton says:

      I think that's what Tim was offering above when he said "send over the skp".

    • Rick C says:

      How complex is the thing you want to model? Could you do it in Minecraft? I know that sounds crazy but Shapeways can take exports out of Minecraft.

  6. If you want to send it to me, I can take a run at porting it to 3D Studio Max, which will happily shit out files for Shapeways et al. (I personally prefer Ponoko, as they have a bit better quality:cost ratio, but the formats are the same.) You have my email, I imagine?

  7. Chris Brent says:

    The question you're asking is. Can you take this SKP file export it to STL and run it through http://cloud.netfabb.com/ Current state of the art 3D printing workflows are something like trying to get decent copy out of laser printers circa 1988. Send me the file if you like. If I like it can I print it on my MakerBot?

  8. Ian says:

    I've found that meshlab (for OSX) does a good job of plugging holes if you have an otherwise vaguely printable model. It's also good for simplifying complex meshes that exceed the Shapeways filesize limit.

  9. nooj says:

    If you send me a leaky .stl that Shapeways completely fails on, I can try to send you an .stl that it likes. Stuff I would do: nearby, aka duplicate, nodes consolidated; normals flipped as necessary; number of triangles decimated to a reasonable amount; etc. I can test my results by pulling it up on our 3D Systems SLS machine.

  10. David M.A. says:

    How did no one guess that this is a lead-up to you attempting to get a 3D printed model of the DNA Lounge?

    • Ben says:

      It seemed too obvious to state. Good job there though.

    • nooj says:

      Hell, I'd do that in a second! Popping a cool model in next to my frustration-laden work models is always welcome!

      If it includes functional beer taps I'll mail it anywhere for free.