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TIN file to STL for 3d pritning?

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#1
David Medeiros

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Does anyone here have experience with converting a TIN into an STL file for 3d printing? Or any intermediate formats like DAE?

 

I'm trying to create a workflow for doing simple 3dprinted surfaces that use the faceted surface form a TIN versus the typical terrain surface of a DEM. Seem to be hitting a wall on converting the TIN to something that can be used in 3d printing though.

 

 

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#2
tangnar

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The Illinois geological survey has a workflow on their website that looks like it describes what you're looking for. Post some pictures of the result if you get some things printed! 



#3
David Medeiros

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My workflow so far has been:

 

Load DEM into ArcGIS

Convert to TIN

Convert TIN to Multipatch

Convert Multipatch to Collada (DAE)

 

The output is unfortunately a file with 14k seperate DAE files! One for each facet in the TIN.

 

Switching gears to exporting the TIN as VRML to see where that leads.

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#4
David Medeiros

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I'm inching progressively closer to a solution. Current workflow:

 

In ArcScene: DEM > TIN > VRML 

In Meshlab: VRML > STL

In 123Design: STL > scaled STL

Load STL into Shapeways

 

The problem with a straight STL from Meshlab is that it's 1:1 apparently, and I guess Shapeways doesn't have 3d printers that big :P   123Design can load the model (thankfully) and it rescales relatively easily, but placing the model around the plane is a pain! Still, if you get it small enough it will open in Shapeways, but now I'm having some sort of clipping issue, plus I'd need to add a base to this so it's actually extruded to some thickness.

 

I'm not sure what I'm learning, but I must be learning something!

 

 

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#5
David Medeiros

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Ok, figured out a work flow that gets a TIN into Shapeways for printing! Yay!!

 

Realized that 3d printing probably won't give me what I need so now I need to work out how to do this for a CNC service! Boo!

 

I'll post my final workflow for this with some details later. Will also try to modify for all opens source if I can (QGIS instead of ArcGIS).

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#6
David Medeiros

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This should probably be a blog post or something. I think I'm too old to blog though, so here's a PDF instead...

 

https://docs.google....OTY3MjY4OTY4NWM

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#7
David Medeiros

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I'll start a full thread on this later but wanted to at least update here with pics of the end result for this model:

 

The plastic model from Shapeways:

thumbnail_IMG_3163.jpg

 

The silicone mold cast form the plastic print (filled with shapecrete):

thumbnail_IMG_3169.jpg

 

The finished cement casting (with crack right down the middle):

thumbnail_IMG_3172.jpg

 

I ran into two issues with this project, 1) the model I sent to Shapeways was a TIN with triangular facets for the model surface, but the print I got back was smoothed like a true terrain. I'm still working out the what the issue was, it may be that I used too detailed a TIN (too small facets) and opted for a "polished" print which may have further smoothed it. And 2) I obviously cracked the cement casting. That's easy to fix though, just don't handle the mold until it's fully cured! ; )

 

I've also learned a few new tricks for printing these models that I'll add to my doc and repost.


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#8
dekkerb

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Hi David,

 

We only use ArcMap and don't have access to 3D Analyst. If you ever find a good way to create a goodlooking TIN from Qgis, I'd sure be interested!

 

My area of interest is more in creating low-poly TINs with 'uneven spacing' (for lack of vocabulary) so more triangles in the areas that are rougher, fewer triangles where terrain is smoother. I guess TINs are perfect for that, but I haven't found a good method in either Qgis or Global Mapper.

 

Keep up the 3D-printing, it seems like great fun!

 

Bart

 

 






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