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How to edit Thingiverse STL files

Posted by shadowjig 
How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 12, 2012 03:02PM
Since STL files contain meshes. What's the best way the modify a Thingiverse design?

Is there a way to convert the STL files to simple 3D geometric object so it can be modified?
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 16, 2012 03:55PM
I've often wondered about this. Sofware I have builds STL from a model but won't go from an STL to a model. You can push and pull triangles around but not much more. I basically measure features and reproduce them in a fresh model. Any other methods?
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 16, 2012 04:05PM
I use Blender. It allows you to difference and union anything including broken unmanifolded meshes.


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Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 16, 2012 04:56PM
> I basically measure features and reproduce them in a fresh model.

This is basically what I did, measure and reproduce.

It seems like this might be a good opportunity to enhance Thingiverse. Thingiverse could require the original source drawings, units (meters or inches, etc.), and the software used to create the model.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 16, 2012 05:20PM
Not all models are made with solid modellers. Some are made with mesh modelling tools like Blender, Mesh lab, Art of illusion, Wings, Z brush, etc, etc, etc. Most of them will edit the stl's as well.Take the time to learn one.

Trying to force people to provide drawing and source code shows how little you appreciate the work they did in the first place. Be glad they shared at ALL.


FFF Settings Calculator Gcode post processors Geometric Object Deposition Tool Blog
Tantillus.org Mini Printable Lathe How NOT to install a Pololu driver
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 16, 2012 05:35PM
It also depends on what modification you want to do. If I just want to scale it or combine with something else I can use OpenSCAD and do an import. It has to be in the OpenSCAD folder.

For example:
translate([10,-10,5])scale([2,2,2])import_stl("filename.stl");
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 18, 2012 04:22AM
So I'm sure all these packages have the capability to clean up models, scale, reposition, ect. I use netfabb on every model to make sure its oriented properly prior to slicing. However lets say you had a counterbore that you would like to make larger. in the orginal model you can easily push/pull on that feature and change size. Do any of these modelers allow you to do something like that? From the STL?
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 18, 2012 11:30AM
Any mesh modeller will allow you to manipulate the mesh itself like pushing and pulling surfaces as well as individual vertices. You can also just difference a cylinder from the model to get a larger hole. Or union a cylinder to it then difference another from it to get a smaller hole.


FFF Settings Calculator Gcode post processors Geometric Object Deposition Tool Blog
Tantillus.org Mini Printable Lathe How NOT to install a Pololu driver
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 05, 2012 02:16PM
i dont understand how you import a .stl into sketchup or openscad. i cant even see my stl files with these.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 06, 2012 09:56AM
glrra19 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> i dont understand how you import a .stl into
> sketchup or openscad. i cant even see my stl files
> with these.

In OpenSCAD you do an import command such as: import_stl("filename.stl");
The file needs to be in the OpenSCAD folder. Future versions of OpenSCAD are going to change to just import rather than import.stl.
It will be imported as a 'finished' item. Meaning you can do some modifications on it, but pretty much just scale, transform, union, etc.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 15, 2012 12:51AM
Quote
grog
It will be imported as a 'finished' item. Meaning you can do some modifications on it, but pretty much just scale, transform, union, etc.

I don't know about future versions but in past and current versions this is simply not true!.

You can perform any operations on the "object" as you would other OpenSCAD objects include union and difference (add to or subtract from).

I have used this numerous times to take a Thingiverse object and modify it, sometimes by just adding registration holes, other times to enlarge, slice, and significantly modify.


Bob Morrison
Wörth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like Bob and Grog are actually in agreement. Grog said "Meaning you can do some modifications on it, but pretty much just scale, transform, union, etc. ". That "etc" can be interpreted to mean any operation that OpenSCAD can perform on an object.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 15, 2012 06:42AM
Quote
Larry Wheeler
That "etc" can be interpreted to mean any operation that OpenSCAD can perform on an object.

No, at least according to the meaning in English you can not!

Quote
grog
you can do some modifications on it

Means just that, but in any case less than 50% otherwise you would use numerous, many, or majority...

Language is a tool; some wield it like an axe, others, as a surgeons scalpel.


Bob Morrison
Wörth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 16, 2012 01:28PM
rhmorrison Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > It will be imported as a 'finished' item.
> Meaning you can do some modifications on it, but
> pretty much just scale, transform, union, etc.
>
>
> I don't know about future versions but in past and
> current versions this is simply not true!.
>
> You can perform any operations on the "object" as
> you would other OpenSCAD objects include union and
> difference (add to or subtract from).
>
> I have used this numerous times to take a
> Thingiverse object and modify it, sometimes by
> just adding registration holes, other times to
> enlarge, slice, and significantly modify.

Where I have the quotes around "finished" item and you have them around "object". It does look like we agree. The alterations you talk about doing to the parts are the same I describe.

Glrra, It depends on what you want to do with the object. It imports it as an object, no matter how many components were used to make it. So while it can be manipulated, you have to treat it like a single item not the components.
Say if it was the astronaut model. You could do joins, intersections, scales and such on it. But you couldn't rotate just the left leg and not the entire item. Or if it is a gear, you couldn't change the number of teeth on it. But I could do a scale and a union and combine the gear onto the chest of my astronaut and make it look like a logo on the space suit.
After you type anything in OpenSCAD you need to compile to get or update an image. You also need to have the STL in the same folder as OpenSCAD since you aren't specifying a path to the file.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 16, 2012 01:54PM
O.K. - we agree. smileys with beer


Bob Morrison
Wörth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 08, 2012 12:02PM
How do to cut mesh models? Need a simple method and free(low cost) software for it.
Have two problems:
1) Print too high models, which more printable area.
2) Continue print after hardware or software failure.
Both problems need cut model on two or more parts and follow combine and pathing theirs.
How to make it?
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 08, 2012 12:38PM
glrra, there is an stl import addon for sketchup. the one I got was located here

there's also an export adder too...here.

I was advised to only import from the "file" menu, and export from the 'plugins' menu section.

In each, one should always remember to make sure the units are set to mm for our work, using the "options" setter

(on the far right of the dialog when you choose an stl file for import. you'll miss it if you're not looking!)
(part of the natural flow of the export dialogs when you export an stl)
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 08, 2012 12:49PM
"How do to cut mesh models? Need a simple method and free(low cost) software for it. "

There are probably some free utilities.idk. If I can view them, I can measure them. If I can measure them, then if I want to modify them, I redraw if I can't edit the part as provided. I'm ever so grateful that these designs are freely offered in whatever form the creator choose to us, since their provision helps me to save time.

If I want direct manipulation capabilities, then I have to consider saving the sheckles to purchase the program in which they did their original work, or satisfy myself with whatever editing capabilities I can utilize with the tools I can afford.

Someone (I can't remember who) said Something in another thread about software that will split content into multiple pieces (during slicing if I remember correctly) . I don't recall which it was but perhaps they'll respond.

good luck!
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 10, 2012 03:21AM
xiando Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

Thanks! I try find it.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 11, 2012 11:48AM
Scanvs -

Have a look at netfabb (free version). You can import the object and use the Cuts menu to cut it in X, Y, or Z. The cut line will show up as you move the sliders. Make the cut (there's two steps to actually make the cut happen) and you will be left with two objects. Select them one at a time. Use the Move tool to put the part at the origin, then save the mesh as an stl. Repeat for the other slices. You should now be able to print them one at a time. CAUTION: Although I've done these steps with netfabb, I haven't tried to save all the pieces and reassemble them when printed. You will have to experiment.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 14, 2012 12:46PM
Try some oter ideas to design like 3D Tin. Its a simple 3D design application, completely run on browser. You can use it free or can get premium version to get some more features.


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Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 15, 2012 02:19PM
doctek Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Scanvs -
>
> Have a look at netfabb (free version).


I use netfabb earlier, but not understand do it. I retry this and i do it! Thank you!
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
September 15, 2012 02:19PM
printingray Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Try some oter ideas to design like 3D Tin. Its a
> simple 3D design application, completely run on
> browser. You can use it free or can get premium
> version to get some more features.


Interesting software! Thanks!
What software are you using to measure an .stl file?
Thanks.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 05, 2013 11:26AM
The best option in my opinion for editing STL files is SolidWorks, it can import STL files first as point clouds, then generate them to solid items that are fully compatible with the normal part modeling tools in SW.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 05, 2013 12:25PM
Only SW premium can do that.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 05, 2013 01:59PM
Humm, my student edition does it also. But looking at SW webpage, I agree with you.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 17, 2013 08:46PM
I'm having to completely re-learn all programs. What is the best free application for taking items of thingiverse. Stl, etc. So I can scale and print out on multiple sheets and put all those printed sheets of paper together to make one large picture of laser cutable or cnc cut able that is to actual scale. I want to be able to print them and paste them to large pieces of wood to cut them out. Thanks. Also any other free apps I should learn. I recently had a brain injury an that's why I am having to relearn. Some stuff I'm fine with remembering but I'm at a loss for this one. Thanks.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 17, 2013 10:12PM
FreeCAD (open source) can convert STL parts to solids. It has a refine shape feature that cleans up planar faces. This is a nice feature many commercial CAD apps don't have.

Once an STL is converted to solid, it can be modified with parametric features similar to what can be found in SolidWorks. Of course it's not as complete, but for personal use it's pretty good.

As for printing out multiple sheets from converted STLs... That seems like a lot of work, not sure how one would proceed. This might require more than one free program. Possibly FreeCAD to convert stl to solid, then to flatten to 2D, export as dxf or svg then open in Inkscape for multiple page printing, but I haven't looked into it.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
May 05, 2013 05:25PM
Hello,

Please, could somebody explain practically how he/she is modifying (dimensions of holes, etc) an stl part? It will be great by steps - on Solidworks, or Freecad or scketchup 8?

Thank you.
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