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Color 3D Prints with Ocean, Land and Buildings

Posted by LGM | Friday, January 15th

Color 3D Prints with Ocean, Land and Buildings

This model was produced in full color, 30"x30", with removable parts, in a scant four business days.  

The model was created from client provided SketchUp, digital elevation data, and site plan renderings. This model was 3D printed in six 10"x15" full color "tiles" to create the final 30"x30" size. The model included removable plugs to show underground connections and circulation. 


Color 3D Printing

Posted by LGM | Wednesday, May 21st

Color 3D Printing

LGM offers the option to 3D print a given part in full CMYK color using a Zcorp 650 additive powder printer.  (Now renamed the 3D Systems Projet 660Pro).  The addition of color and the ability to use texture maps, opens up a world of possibilities to designers from in house form reviews to sales and marketing.  Color 3D printing can be a cost effective way to add an extra level of detail when leveraging your existing 3D CAD data.

As ground breaking as it can be, color 3D printing carries with it some caveats.  It is important to understand where color 3D Printing excels and where it falls short in order to get the full and best use of color.

Within architectural modeling (at the time of writing this) it is our opinion that color 3D printing will not be able to replace laser-cut, hand-painted and assembled  textured plastic when it comes to producing a photo-realistic model.  That said, color 3D printing is much faster and often less expensive, so it does have a place within our...


Exporting a model with Color and/or Texture Maps

Posted by LGM | Tuesday, May 20th

Exporting a model with Color and/or Texture Maps

3D Printing in Color can be difficult, especially the first time.  LGM accepts many native CAD formats and most color color file formats to make life easier, but we do need the files exported and sent in with all of the correct elements.  

The Basics

Format:  Color 3D printing requires particular file formats and each CAD package has different output options.  LGM makes life a lot easier here because we will accept OBJ, VRML, X3D, 3DS, Color STL (be careful here, most stl files do not contain color data), and in some cases you can simply save your model in the native format and send it over, but consult LGM first.  I fyou have an option to export your chosen file type as V1 V2 etc. choost the most recent (highest number)

Scale: You may have the option to apply a scale factor when exporting.  Your software may also change the scale of your model due to unit conversion that you are unaware of (mm to cm or similar).  Please verify the scale factor being implemented to make sure you...


Case Study: Using CADspan 2014

Posted by LGM | Saturday, March 29th

I was asked to quote a file repair job for a student that had access to a 3D printer.  To save him money (because we have a soft spot for students) I offered to show him how to prep the SketchUp file for free.  

The model looked good in SketchUp, and appeared to have no reversed Normals (backward facing surfaces), but it contained an amazing number of open edges, which is typical for Sketchup Models.

Depending on the type of model you are attempting to print, you may be able to simply send the model up to CADspan and have it take care of everything.  In the case of this model, I would segment the model first to retain every bit of detail possible.  Because this model is obviously a collection of separate buildings on a base, I would separate the buildings one by one and process the base separately, or slice the base in to pieces the carry over with each building.  If you opt to cut the model, adding a large plane, selecting it, right clicking ad choosing intersect with model,...


Files used for 3D Printing

Posted by LGM | Thursday, February 13th

3D printers require a specific input file type. Most use STL, short for stereolithography, which is an additive fabrication technology introduced by 3d Systems in the mid-1980s. While other AF technologies have emerged, the STL file format has remained the standard for most AF technologies, including 3D printing.

STL files are representations of surface geometry in a triangulated format. While some are finding ways to add color information to specific triangles within the STL structure and creating new file types that represent these colors, true STL files do not contain any color information.  Color 3D Prints use different file formats, each has its strengths and weaknesses so these will be covered in another post.  Over 90% of 3D prints use the .STL file format.

Many CAD applications can export geometry to the STL format. HOWEVER, be cautious when relying on the 'raw' export. Mistakes can exist within a STL file that will cause problems in 3D printing. All of the triangles in a...


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