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How many polygons can Ultimaker handle?

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Hi guys,

Apologies if this was covered before, but after some searching I could not find an answer. The question we had by one of the designers is how many polygons can 3D printing software handle? The designer is working on a model in ZBrush, so perhaps someone of you have had the experience?

Thanks a lot in advance! :)


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This is mostly an software issue. Which is improving quite quickly. The current released Cura has problems with large models (100k polygons? not sure)

But the next version of the Cura software handles much larger models. For example, I'm working with a model right now which has 1 million polygons. But I would say keep it around a few 100k maximum unless you need the extra details for some reason.


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Cura can handle bigger model that this. I print mostly 3d sculpts and while I optimize them in meshlab, they are always over 100K, more like 300. Sure It takes some time to slice, but it works fine, I just let Cura work in the back ground while I do other things. I even sliced a 500K model once by mistake, imported the wrong model. I was wondering why ot was taking so long until I realized, but it was working. And on a 4 years old computer


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Too many polygons dont improve the print quality usually. So I would recommend to use a decimation tool like z brush decimation master to bring down the polygon numbers to an acceptable level. I have decimated models from 300k to 50k without noticeable difference in print quality. Mesh.ab also seems to have a decent decimation tool.

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Hello to all,

New here and in the "consumer" 3d printing..

I used bigger 3d printers for my work so I got used to big files. Now I'm trying to print a file which was generated from processing using the marching cube algorithm. Originaly I tried to load a 130Mb stl with 2M faces, went to 41Mb and 1M faces.. but in both of them the Cura was stopping calculating after a few seconds. I noticed that after acquiring 3Gb of ram was going back to a few Mb.

Now I went down to a 11Mb file with only 350K faces!

It took it 10 minutes to slice it and now I started printing it..

Any ideas why is stopping calculating?

My computer is a dual Xeon with 8GB ECC ram running windows 7 x64..I don't thing is processing issue.



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Those are quite large files which I have never tried; but I think they might work in Cura 13.06 onwards depending on your hardware.

What version of Cura are you using?

When I load a 10Mb model with about 218k faces it only takes 1 and a half minutes to slice it.

My Windows 7 WEI (Windows Experience Index) is 7.1 for my CPU, what's yours?

I have 8GB RAM as well.

From my "slice engine log.." (accessible by right click on the SD/Disk icon):

Cura_SteamEngine version 13.12

Loading # from disk...

Reading mesh from binary blob with 654372 vertexes

Loaded from disk in 0.078s

Analyzing and optimizing model...

Face counts: 218124 -> 218124 100.0%

Vertex counts: 654372 -> 107310 16.4%

Optimize model 0.421s

Slicing model...

Layer count: 858

Sliced model in 2.325s

Generating support map...

Generating layer parts...

Generated layer parts in 1.341s

Generated inset in 9.002s

Generated up/down skin in 39.936s

Wrote layers in 31.39s.

Wrote 83.6 MB.

Total time elapsed 84.49s.


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Hello gadgetfreak,

I'm using Cura 14.01 and my cpu rating is 7.6.

I guess it was stopping because the progress bar in cura, under the print button, was turning gray and also at the task manager it was acquiring memory and then going back to a few hundred mb (at the time the progress bar was turning gray).

I made some changes in my code to generate the form with less polygons and finally is slicing it under a minute.

But still is only 270K.

I'll keep going up and see..


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