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Scale Conversion of 3D Objects

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I am seeking to expand our use of 3D Vectorworks into allowing my students to export 3D pieces of their stage designs into STL files for use in our 3D printer.  From my understanding, the STL does not include whatever scale you have your layer in when you export the 3D object, or at least my version of Vectorworks does not include this information.


For an example, I have created a 4'x8' platform, a structure which consists of a 3/4" thick lid, and structure members made of 1.5" x 3.5" materials.  I have created this in 1:1 scale on my layer.  If I were to change the layer scale, the objects will adjust to the new scale.   When the objects are exported as an STL and imported into the slicing program, it appears the full 4' x 8'.  Not entirely unexpected, as I am aware the layer scale is for configuration within Vectorworks, and the actual size of the object is not converted.


So, what I'm wondering is if there is a convenient shortcut method within Vectorworks to convert the scale of the object to a desired scale, typically 1/2" or  1/4".  This could be done manually using the Modify - Scale Objects.  For my platform example, I can mentally convert 4' down to 1" for a 1/4" scale model, and enter the appropriate measurements in Scale By Distance.  However, with more unusual measurements, this might be a bit more tricky.  


So, is there a command function that will allow you to select an object (or objects) and scale them down to a particular scale ratio?  I'm probably missing something incredibly obvious, but if someone has a thought and/or direction I could try, it would be great.  Thank you very much.


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Hi Bruce,


There's no short cut that I'm aware of. I wish-listed a scale on export feature a few years ago when I was doing a lot of 3d printing but nothing has come of it yet. I suspect that NV has some 3d printing specific features on a list somewhere.


I use this table of scale multipliers along with Modify>Scale Objects to prepare my stuff for 3d printing. Choose the Symmetric option for scaling and enter the appropriate value into the X,Y,Z factor box.




Its never really as simple as just scaling anyway, since many slicers and online providers like Shapeways will kick back a model with features that are too small. In your example the 3/4" skin is unlikely to be printable on many machines in 1/4" scale. I tend to have a sheet layer viewport in my desired print scale linked to my full size model so I can check for feature thicknesses etc. before scaling. Its much harder to correct them after scaling because of the way VW scales many solids objects. This means I will often have a 3d model of my real object plus a modified model that is 3d print ready. The print ready model is usually a solid addition of all the parts so I end up with only one shell.





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  • 3 months later...

@printing girl For students, I imagine affordability has to be a consideration, as well as ease of use. I just purchased a Monoprice Select Mini about a month ago. It was ready to go the minute I pulled it out of the box and it was a reasonable price on amazon (around $300). The build plate is tiny, so I've had to work out how to piece some stuff together, but it's mostly ok since I primarily build 1/4" scale models.

I have also used a Griffin 3D Pro Standard - it's a delta printer that seemed to work well, once we got it going. Their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, so buyer beware. It was also significantly more expensive at around $1200 ($1500 to buy it assembled).


@BruceTheOriginal Also, I had another thought - when you're printing, try to make sure that your minimum size is about .5mm - like Kevin said, you might have to make adjustments that'll take stuff out of scale, but it makes the printer able to do it.

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