STL file for 3d printing.

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02 February 2008   #1
STL file for 3d printing.

I've been asked to do a model that is going to be 3D printed.
When I export the .stl and open it again in C4D it looks like a bump map of the actual geometry, I can see the edges of the tri's.
The reason I'm doing the model is the 3D scan that the guy had done of the actual object was a mess and unusable. The scan had tons of geometry and I was wondering if I needed
to subdivide the model I did a bit more.
I'm a total nube to this and am only doing it as an emergency favour for a guy in my class.

Any help would be great thanks.

P.S. Any other advice would be handy.
If in doubt scream and shout.

C4D XL, ZBrush, Motion Builder
Old 02 February 2008   #2
When you import the exported .stl, does the object have a phong tag on it? If not, trying adding one (right click on the object>Cinema 4D Tags>Phong).
Portfolio Website |
Old 02 February 2008   #3
Thanks. The phong tag worked.

The thing I was worried about was the file when I take it down to be 3D printed.
Is this just a C4D Phong tag thing or will the geometry show up in the 3D print?
Like I said I'm a bit thick on this subject and it may just be paranoia on my part
and the stl file may be fine. I'm going to go down and see the guy some time today
and I just wanted to be armed with a bit of knowledge so that I can ask him the right
questions when I get there.
If in doubt scream and shout.

C4D XL, ZBrush, Motion Builder
Old 02 February 2008   #4
What you see whithout the phong tag, is the geometry that is going to be built.

Every piece you gone build have to be one single surface ,mesh (water tight).

Old 02 February 2008   #5
Stuff the garbage in question into a HyperNurbs and if the result looks alright then make the hypernurbs editable and use that for the stl generation. Divide as high as the 3d printer software accepts. The more the merrier, let that software optimize 8). That tasks in general is the worst imaginable... I use ZBrush to edit the highres scanned crapola. ZBrush is able to remesh it. Takes forever... Hypernurbs and a bit weight here and there is usually close enough for government work.
Good luck

PS: Get information regarding the 3d printer software and the requirements for the mesh before you invest work which will have to be redone (amount of triangles, 'water tight', dimansions...).
Old 02 February 2008   #6
Thanks, guys.

I went down to see the guy. Problem is they just got the machine and they only know
how to print the files, they realy have very little knowledge about the 3D side of things and how to fix things. The problem is the guy who does the printing runs a totally different department and doesn't have time to get into the details of the programme. we did get told that if it's broke then no charge which is not too bad.
I probably taught the guy more about how things work than he told me. I think we managed to bang our heads together and get most of the questions I had answered.
Still a little guess work going on.

Any more advice would be welcome. I'm trying to fill in the tiny bits of info that I'm not a hundred percent on. I was looking on the machines(Spectrum Z510) manufacturers site but no real info. They 't seem that interested in providing any training support, that I can find anyway.
If in doubt scream and shout.

C4D XL, ZBrush, Motion Builder
Old 02 February 2008   #7
Training is provided by a 'local distributor' which charges accordingly. No free youtube flicks or camtasia recordings there... Many 3D printers are bought by educational institutions just to find out that it actually takes efford to run them 8)))). Then they collect dust... I have acces to one of those dust collectors but simpy dealing with it's 'environment' is so painful that I avoid to get to close 8)))).
Old 02 February 2008   #8
Sounds like the have a dust collector here then.
If in doubt scream and shout.

C4D XL, ZBrush, Motion Builder
Old 02 February 2008   #9

Go grab the manual. With your insight, you will have it going in no time. Not much to it when you got the 3D knowledge and an idea about tri's, quad's, and all that other jazzzzzzz.
Old 02 February 2008   #10
We run a Spectrum Z510 at our workplace, so if there's some details you're after, I can probably answer them..

In regards to seeing polys on the model when it has no smoothing in the viewer, that's exactly what you'll get out of the printer. The printer doesn't take into account phong shading or smoothing groups or what have you, it simply takes the polygonal model, slices it up and prints it.
Only way to get around seeing the polys in the final product is to make sure your smoothing level at export is set high enough to give an impression of smoothness. Bringing the model back into your design software after STL export is the best way to see what you'll get from the spectrum.
Of course, depending on the size of the end product out of the machine, you may be less likely to see the polys.

They are quite messy machines, and require a lot of maintenance.. it's also quite a bit of trial and error to get things in and out properly. Don't make your models too fragile because they will break very easily. Don't make huge solid areas because it will use a lot of materials. Models have to be `airtight' or they may have printing problems. Airtight meaning no open shapes, ie if you make a cylinder, then delete an end poly, that makes it an open shape. Putting the end back on makes it airtight.
Old 02 February 2008   #11
Thanks for the great info, it filling in those little hole for me.

Originally Posted by LemonNado: HA!

Go grab the manual. With your insight, you will have it going in no time. Not much to it when you got the 3D knowledge and an idea about tri's, quad's, and all that other jazzzzzzz.

voriax thanks for the offer of help.

As far as I know they didn't get a printed manual, which is pretty lousy after spending thousands of bucks on the machine. They need to log on as a customer and print the
manual. The problem with this is the guy that has the password and actually has the knowledge to run the machine went off for four months to the US. He sent the password
but they can't log on to the site. If I could get a hold of the manual I'd be off and running.
I'm going to see if I can access the password myself and see if I can sort it out.

I just had a thought. If I have two seperate object that intersect each other and need to be printed as a whole object what is the best way to make sure there are no problems. Again I only got a limited amount of knowledge on this from the guy and it sounded like this wouldn't be a problem. My paranoia sense is still tingling though.
If in doubt scream and shout.

C4D XL, ZBrush, Motion Builder

Last edited by jimzepellin : 02 February 2008 at 10:41 AM.
Old 02 February 2008   #12
Give the manufacturer a call with the serial number of the machine and they will accomodate your need for documentation. As far as the spider sense for entanglement in polymer soup goes.... I always say... if it tingles... stay away 8). There is usually a reason why people act helpless and wait for a good samaritian to pull the hot potatoes out of the fire . Besides that, the previous comment touched on the solidity of models. When you are actually going to attempt a print, then check out the settings for a filler structure. The machine I dealt with in the past has a filler structure option. That option results in a honneycomb shaped sponge like inner structure which is automatically build to add stability. Without that larger structures tend to warp during the process and the stupid machine starts to print into empty space and other ugglyness. The inner structure prevents that. I like the wax printers as they allow me to cast using the lost wax technique. But they are VERY slow, VERY precise, yield VERY fragile results, and cost VERY much money. So they are only good for a very specific application.
Old 02 February 2008   #13
Thread automatically closed

This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.
CGTalk Policy/Legalities
Note that as CGTalk Members, you agree to the terms and conditions of using this website.
Thread Closed share thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Society of Digital Artists

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.