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3D Printing Services

A 3-D Printing Guide From A.T. Still Memorial Library and ATSU Information Technology Services

3D Repair Tips

STL Repair Tips: Checklist for 3D Designer

A 3D model isn’t automatically a 3D printable file. Here are the most common design mistakes – and what you should repair so your 3D model prints correctly.

STL Repair Tip #1: Repair gaps in meshes

One of the most common errors encountered when 3D printing are STL files that have holes in their meshes – they are not “watertight”. A 3D printer faced with such a file can’t tell an outer surface from an inner surface. All of our STL repair tools listed below can handle these 3D mesh problems easily.

STL Repair Tip #2: Check for non-manifold geometry

Simply put, non-manifold geometries are identical edges directly on top of each other. Typically this conundrum results from extruding but not moving faces and edges. Non-manifold geometry startles 3D printers as much as anyone else who tries to wrap his head around the idea for the first time. Think about the graphic works of M.C. Escher and you’ll get the idea.

STL Repair Tip #3: Get rid of floating surfaces

3D scanning can produce unwanted fragments which result from structures or textures that are unsuitable to the process – e.g. hair, very dark or very bright surfaces. Scans can be reworked before printing by hand (e.g. MeshLab), but automatic solutions are also available in most STL repair software tools.

STL Repair Tip #4: Loose the thin walls

It is paramount to set a wall thickness that can support the overall structure. Depending on to what use you will put your 3D model, you must choose a thickness that will yield a robust model at an economic consumption of filament or other material.

STL Repair Tip #5: Minimize the file size

Many cloud-based 3D STLprinting services impose upload limits on the files you can upload, ranging from 64 to 100 MB. This problem can be remedied by automatic downscaling (e.g. MakePrintable or Materialise Cloud) in your 3D design software.

License: The text of "2020 Best STL Repair Software" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The above is directly drawn from that article.