Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


How to edit Thingiverse STL files

Posted by shadowjig 
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
May 05, 2013 10:42PM
... I'm mostly using Ligtwave 7.5 - here it's made with selecting all the triangles of the element to resize (e.g. the bore cylinder) and scale it in trespect to the center either manually or by numerical value.

Or (for making bigger holes) construct a cylinder with the targed dimensions on a different layer and make a boolean subtract from the original object ...

Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
August 26, 2013 06:19PM
Sublime Wrote:
> 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.

Thank You!!!

All great products worth trying, I like Mesh-lab so far and have to try the others.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
August 27, 2013 02:39AM
Lets say it this way:

STL is a one way ticket!

Deviating geometries from a mathematically defined model (Step; 3DM etc) to e.g. STL or VRML or one of the more illustrative file formats like OBJ oder 3ds always leads to a discretization of information ( in case of the illustrative files the renderer/ shader afterwards improves the facette look to back into a smooth appearance - the discretization is made to save calculation time and the improvement is just for the visualization not for the geometry!
A SPLINE or NURBS mesh always relates to functions similar to polynoms so you can calculate for each point on such an object an individual solution.

STL and the others consist of triangles or squares which have straight / flat facettes - so any additional information is lost in conversion and can not be restored! For manufacturing, maximum conversion quality is reached as the longest edge on the largest triangle is defined equal or smaller than the possible step resolution of the machine axis!! This would mean huge files ( larger than the mathematical files which were the origin) and so usually the resolution is chosen to be much lower!!

This is a typical OBJ or VRML Mesh

This is done from a typical mathematical model ( you still can see the isobate lines on the surfaces)


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2013 02:44AM by Optimist.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
August 27, 2013 03:40PM
STL is a one way ticket!

That's one nice way to put it.

I'm not as nice: I call STL "garbage out". Because to experienced CAD users, that's what it is. winking smiley

STL is unsuitable for most large-scale manufacturing processes (injection molding) and even some small-scale ones (CNC machining).
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
August 29, 2013 11:43AM
That is what I mean ... just deviate a STL IF and when you need it, but further work on the mathematical source and just use STL as a pre post processor interface and only of your CAM is not able to handle better formats!

For HWC or Routing as Turning I'm lucky as I use a CAD with an integrated scripting engine - similar to VBA - not REAL TIME FAST but it works,,,








Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/29/2013 11:48AM by Optimist.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 17, 2017 07:36AM
So basically after reading all of this and many other things elsewhere there is no real way to edit .STL files. Since most things you get from Thingiverse do not include original solid model files, the closest I have come in some cases is the .scad files for OpenSCAD. These you can edit the mathematical code and then regenerate the solid to be exported is .STL. In the case of one thing I am working on manually manipulating close to 100 triangles to increase the depth of a 10mm diameter pocket by 1mm is way more trouble than it should be. Perhaps I have missed something somewhere along the line though.

John Guenther
Anderson, Indiana
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 17, 2017 11:42AM
What I've done several times is to import an STL file into OnShape.com, then "trace" the mesh outline to produce a new model. Circles and arcs can be regenerated using 3 points, and Bezier curves can be approximated. This works well if the object is geometric rather than organic.

I'm also using Meshmixer more nowadays to manipulate STLs. That has some good tools for selecting multiple triangles.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
February 17, 2017 12:38PM
I regularily change and adjust stl files. The key difference is that i use a polygonal modeller (Cinema 4D) instead of a CAD application. It is usually not a big deal.

Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
March 11, 2017 06:41PM
Sketchup is free. Import the STL file, then explode it. You can then manipulate any way you want.
I sometimes use TurboCAD depending on what I want to do.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 15, 2017 12:33PM
I always download stls from thingiverse. I then import into sketchup, import not file open. Next i use a free plugin/e,tension from the warehouse called cleanup by thomtom or something like that. Cleanup will eliminate thousands of lines. Then i can usually do what i need. Some artifacts are left. Another handy plugin is available to make solid. I do have thoughts like the original poster, if you put something on thingiverse please share the source. I always design in sketchup AND i post all skp source files. That is what open source sharing is all about imho
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 18, 2017 05:43AM
Is there a way to learn measuments of these files or convert them to 3d model? I need to import them in solidworks or at least i need measurments to draw them in solidworks.
open | download - Quart_petit_bouclier.STL (102 KB)
open | download - Croisillon_Y3_Bouclier.STL (41.7 KB)
open | download - Plaque_Centrale_Connecteur.STL (32.3 KB)
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 18, 2017 10:56AM
You could take exact measurements of stl files in netfabb, even the free version, last time I tried. "Extras" menu, then "new measurement".

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 19, 2017 06:46PM
@ dronemaker92 It seems SolidWorks can import STL files directly.


I'm surprised you didn't think of checking about this first.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 23, 2017 05:41PM
@NormandC thanks for your repley. I already try it before. Its not working. I cant see any dimensions, angle or someting when i use FutureWorks. Any other ideas? I cant find a way to cenvert stl files to 3d models. So i need dimensions and angles only and i can draw them in SolidWorks.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 23, 2017 05:42PM
@DeuxVis i will give it a try. Thank you.
Re: How to edit Thingiverse STL files
April 24, 2017 08:01PM
What's FutureWorks?

I haven't used SolidWorks in years. For personal projects I prefer to use open source software on an open source operating system. As it happens, FreeCAD (also available on proprietary operating systems winking smiley ) can convert STL files to solid.


Once done, you can export to STEP then import into SolidWorks.

Just remember that an STL file is a polygon mesh, it does not have smooth surfaces. For example a cylindrical surface is actually made of multiple facets. When converting to solid, it will not smooth the surfaces. For that you have no choice but to rebuild the model.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2017 08:03PM by NormandC.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login