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What Program to make a model?

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I use solidworks and like it a lot. The only down side is I can't do two things with it. Sculptris solved the issue of organic shapes, but I have another problem.

I want to take a drawing, for example the BMW logo, and then extrude it out and print it in 3d. So the letters are higher, there is a crease between colors in the center and a slight curve to the entire thing.

I used a logo that you are probably all familar with, but can you give me some advice on how I could convert a picture of the example art into a printable file with dimensional quality.

Thank you in advance.

Aaron

 

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You need your logo in a vector format that your 3d package can understand as geometric lines.

It's usually possible, if it's a popular brand, to grab the .AI/EPS vector art from brands of the world. You can trace it yourself in illustrator or use the live trace.

Then bring it into your 3d package and extrude. You can do this in any artist 3d package that I know of. (blender, 3dsmax, maya, etc) I don't have experience in solidworks type software, but I imagine it would be possible in the same way.

 

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Yeah, seems like an easy task in Solidworks. What aspect are you having trouble with?

 

Nick, I don't know how to get the lines on the art into solidworks without drawing a line over every line of the artwork. That is so much a pain in the neck. I have seen artwork that is a picture of something and then a relief made in the computer and then printed. I am looking for a program in which I can scan the artwork, adjust the relief or height of sections and then print. I know something like this exists because I have seen CNC routers do just that on wood or plasma cutters do it in metal. They don't create every tiny little line in the software for some of these things.

 

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SW has an Autotrace tool that can trace the image for you. I've only tried it a couple of times and found it a bit crappy, but maybe it'll work for you. First you have to activate it in Tools -> Add-ins and then it'll show up once you import a sketch image.

 

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Yes, the Solidworks import autotrace will work, but it sucks.

And what program can I take an STL file and then add something to it? For example I have a cube and want to cut off a corner and put a hole on one of the faces. What the heck is up with the STL format? None of the threads I find seem to have any idea on how to edit the STL.

If I go get something from thingaverse I can't change anything. i want to add things to the model. It is the equvelent of having a great laptop that can only print Word documents other people wrote. I have a file for a phone case that I need to put another part on so it will work to hold it the way I want, with no way to edit the part I have to reinvent the wheel to make a model that fits. How do I change an STL?

It makes me want to go kick my very expensive 3d printer.

 

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You want to kick the printer because the 3d community uses an industry standard format? Sounds reasonable... An STL is a bit like a PDF file, you don't have to care which program created it but you'll know that when you open it, it will look like the designer intended. Imagine how much work would have to be done by those who maintain slicers just to keep up with the many many programs and versions of programs and all their different file formats out there. And that's IF the file format is even open to begin with so that any outsider can make any sense of it.

That said, there's programs out there that can import and edit STL files (SW included even though it's not exactly ideal). You could also ask the creator for the source files or a different format that fits your work flow better. Don't expect everyone to be willing to do that though. In the end these people are giving you something they've sometimes spent a LOT of time on, for free.

 

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The up side of your PDF example is that the PDF can be opened and edited. I know there is password protections on PDFs that try to prevent that, but the security is easily stripped out.

That being said. What program will specifically import a STL format and allow me to edit it? I need a name of something.

Solidworks 2014 Premium will not open the 2mb STL file I have. Cura will, but not SW.

Throw out some names of programs that will.

 

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I think the fact that all these printers support STL is pretty awesome because it allows engineers AND artists types to utilize this technology while allowing both to work in their respective native environments.

Anyway, you're not really experiencing a 3D printer problem, it's an STL problem. Doesn't matter if it's a UM or replicator, it's still using STLs. You can edit STL's in 3dsmax, but the topology is usually just terribly ugly.

Have you tried this for your logo?

http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/

Illustrator live trace also works. (not perfect, but works)

 

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If the model is organic you might want to use blender (free). If the model is mechanical you might want to try google sketchup (also free). Both of these will import and edit STL files. Learning more than one CAD system sucks. It takes hundreds of hours using one to get to a level where I can do things at a reasonable speed.

 

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I love tinkercad for simple stl edits. Meshmixer is another option with 3d printer support. Blender (as already mentioned) along with many other surface modeling programs like 3dsmax work just fine for edits provided you know how to use them.

That being said I personally recommend tinkercad to pretty much anyone at the drop of a dime.

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