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Printrbot Talk Forum • View topic - How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Discussions about CAD use and designing

How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Sat-18-Aug

One of my favorite things to print is the . I usually try to print one in any new color that I buy, and I have about 10 full size and a couple of small ones done so far.

I've been experimenting with the 3-color Diamond Hotend and I'd like to somehow cut this model so that the majority can be printed in one color with the eye sockets in a contrasting color, and maybe the teeth in a third color. How can I accomplish this? Basically I want to end up with three separate STLs so that when I load them all in Slic3r they occupy one 3D space to form the final object.

I guess I would need to somehow cut along complex contours in 3 dimensions. I'm willing to tediously trace the outlines of a cut, just not sure which software can do this. Any ideas?
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How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby Mach-Chris » 2015-Aug-Sat-19-Aug

Did a quick search. My gut told me blender would probably be best. Found this video explaining some fairly easy techniques that should get you where you want to be. I look forward to seeing how you make out! Good luck!

http://youtu.be/8usuXxd2gNM
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Sat-21-Aug

Thanks. I made a little bit of progress in both Zbrush and Blender and can export separate files but from either one I'm not able to figure out how to make the individual parts manifold and correctly positioned. I'm sure someone who is an expert in one of these programs knows an easy way to do it. Unfortunately both of them are very complicated for a beginner.
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby frankv » 2015-Aug-Sat-22-Aug

I did something similar (but simpler) when I changed Olaf's eyeballs and eyebrows from white to black.

What I did was to draw a polygon around the item I wanted to change, in a plane pretty much normal to the surface. Project this shape inwards and outwards so that it includes the whole thing you want. Intersect the new object with the original to get the piece you want to change the colour of, and do a boolean difference between the new object and the original object to remove it from the original.
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby Mach-Chris » 2015-Aug-Sun-11-Aug

I loaded the skull into blender and my computer nearly caught fire when I switched over to edit mode. My GPU: "I'm givin' 'er all she's got captain!"
Quite a large mesh! 80mb?! You certainly made it further than I did pxt, I couldn't handle the lag between selections and having them update on the screen.
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Sun-11-Aug

The file on thingiverse is in ASCII format so it's pretty large. If you resave it as binary it is only around 15MB, but it is a pretty complicated model. That's part of the fun. :)

I started on the same path that frankv suggested, before I saw this post. I made a bit of progress using OpenSCAD to draw intersecting shapes over the areas I wanted to "cut". Then I exported those as STLs and loaded them in Slic3r as modifiers. That way I can specify a particular extruder only where the modifier overlaps. Here's a preview from Repetier-Host (because Slic3r doesn't preview this very well). The colors are arbitrary at this point.
Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 9.45.00 AM.png

The teeth modifier is a little blocky at the end of the jaw and I'd like the top to conform to the contours of the teeth better. I am going to try and smooth that out a bit, but it's basically just trial and error to slowly refine the shapes.

Here are my raw modifiers in OpenSCAD:
Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 9.48.29 AM.png
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How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby Mach-Chris » 2015-Aug-Sun-12-Aug

That's looks pretty good to me! I'm eager to see the completed print when you get the models where you want them to be!
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Mon-23-Aug

Made some progress cleaning up the tooth mask a bit by dropping little blobs along the top to match the tooth contours. Hope to try printing this tomorrow.


Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.25.45 PM.png
Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.27.12 PM.png
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby Mooselake » 2015-Aug-Wed-09-Aug

I know I'm slow (work, new K40 laser, work (they're not getting that whole semi-retired thing), laser), but check out meshlab (not meshmixer, although that's pretty handy for other things). You can find tutorials on how to use meshmixer to make a significant difference in the size of the mesh file by eliminating incredibly minute detail that you can't print anyway. Shapeways has a good one iirc. Meshmixer's definitely a good addition to your toolbox.

It may take you several tries to find the right level of reduction (save an original copy...) and I've had the occasional crash but the results can be well worth it. Some of the model posters miss that we don't need to have sub micron precision, just like some miss that they should upload watertight files.

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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Thu-13-Aug

The size of the mesh isn't really a problem. My 3 year-old Mac can handle it without breaking a sweat.

Anyway, I set my printer loose on this last night and 9 hours later… I guess one of my colors is jammed because the eyes just failed to print. But the jaw section turned out with well defined & contrasting teeth so I'm on the right track. Just need to unclog the nozzle and give it another shot.
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby marmil » 2015-Aug-Thu-15-Aug

PxT, I wonder if a few of those spheres inside the nose on both sides at bottom might help there also? The teeth are looking great with that solution. Looking forward to your successful print.
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby PxT » 2015-Aug-Thu-10-Aug

It took some time to dial in my Slic3r settings to a level that works well with this hotend, but I finally made some progress. The eyes aren't as clean as I wanted - I think that is because the cutouts weren't deep enough so there was too little infill to complete the color purge. I could have printed a separate purge tower to avoid that but it just seems like a waste of filament. The "infill before perimeters" setting seems to do a good enough job as long as there is sufficient infill (this print is only 10%).

I'm making some tweaks to the model so I may give it another shot with a different color scheme. This picture makes the print look more shiny than it really is because I had to use the flash to capture detail in the recessed areas, but you get the idea.
IMG_0847.JPG
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby marmil » 2015-Aug-Thu-22-Aug

Wow, still looks very cool PxT!
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Re: How to "cut" a model in an arbitrary way

Postby Mooselake » 2015-Aug-Fri-10-Aug

Put a couple LEDs behind those eyes!

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