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3d Printers and STL Files

Guest BillV

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I would welcome input or comments on this subject. A standard STL file produced some issues when printing on an STL printer (two different brands)

Going back basics I put all objects to a single layer and a single class. This works well. I also set polygons to low which speeds up the print process.

Has anyone tried any other methods for layers and classes. NURBS has also appeared problematical.

Testing has been on a Ricoh printer and a Diamondmine printer.

Very economical method for producing a model of a building, For a 22cm long single story small home the material cost to print is $US1.91

Edited by BillV
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I often find if I open and repair my exported STL files from Vectorworks in the free netfabb basic utility, I get much better print results:


Normally I only need to use the Automatic repairing of STLs, but there is a more in-depth manual method detailed here as well:


It is capable of confirming that objects are manifold as well as clearing out self-intersecting solids and coplanar surfaces.

Edited by JimW
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I've had good success exporting solids from VW as STLs. Any NURBS in a file need to create a closed shape or they will cause problems because they have no thickness.

As you say putting things on a single layer is good practice but things seem to behave ok as long as the layers are all in the same scale and Unified View is on. I haven't had any issues with multiple classes.

Setting polygons to low is ok if all your shapes are planar but I wouldn't recommend it if you have curved surfaces.

As Jim says, you should investigate netfabb if you haven't already. The free version is very capable.


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Jim / Kevin

Thanks for the reply. The software you recommended is excellent and a great help in making sure it all works before committing to the printer.

I have also been able to convert STL objects to DXF and import them into Vectorworks to combine with designs I am working on.

Edited by BillV
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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...
Guest BillV

The Siemens Parasolids engine creates a number of triangulations when exporting to STL.

For those who have Cinema 4D you can export from VW to C4D and use the "untriangulate" command to resolve this , then export as STL from C4D.

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  • 1 year later...


I have been doing some work with Fuji Xerox and they have shown me output from this printer;


The printer is able to print in any range of colours and will print textures based on the image used in the drawing for that texture ie wood or brick.

However the files it requires are .wrl files which we do not support. I presume there is an awarenes of this at NVI .

I will send the files separately as the "add file" does not support this file type.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Its more likely that .X3D will replace .WRL, however I am not sure. Currently we don't have any 3D printers here capable of color, nor do I personally, so there has not been any great push in that direction so far. However, I have submitted a number of wishes related to this and I will add this post to them.

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