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Kevin McAllister

3d Printing (ie. ZCorp)

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Has anyone successfully used Vectorworks to generate/export 3d models for 3d printing? I am curious about the process and the specifics of the model itself (ie. does it need to be surfaces, generic solids, nurbs etc.). I am also curious about getting the scaling right for the final output. It seems most 3d printers accept 3DS, STL, VRML files (some of which Vectorworks can export).


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I've not done a great deal but when I have used 3D printers they've normally required STL files. VW seems to export these fine and I've had good results normally with fairly small objects that are made up of solids (extrudes, subtractions/additions etc).

I have had issues with lofted surfaces, which seem to remain as surfaces whatever I do even though the surfaces make up a 'tight' solid, consequently the printer does not recognise them as solid and so will not print them.

The work around that worked for me was to export to Inventor which converted the surfaces into solids without any further adjustment other than the import command.

I would imagine that if the printer accepted 3DS files you might have better luck with that sort of conversion/export.

As far as scale is concerned I exported 1:1, I always try to keep the prospective problems to a minimum!!!

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