Mandelbulb - 3D fractal generator to 3D Print via voxel stacking.

Discussion in 'Software and Applications' started by Piers, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Piers
    Piers New Member
    Hey, thought some of you would find this interesting.

    I recently stumbled across Mandelbulb 3D. Its a 3D fractal generator that has some really awesome features. Its been around for a while so has a healthy community of contributors (Fractal and above all its free.

    (FIG.1) is an image demonstrating how you can keep zooming in and the algorithms will keep generating infinite detail. Lighting , Fog, depth of field can all be adjusted

    (FIG.2) Whats more amazing is that the program features Voxel Stacking. This basically means you can generate an editable/printable file from what you can see in your viewport.
    I tried loading the slices from Mandelbulb into 3D Slicer, but had no luck (there maybe a way though).
    Mandelbulb creates the slices and Fiji sequences them and creates the 3D mesh as a .Obj. Blender is simply the mesh editor I chose. (Zbrush, and Mesh labs are also a good option).
    Its a good idea to start small when using voxel stacking. Test to see what your computer can handle. You can create a 5Gb .OBJ but Id be surprised if you could open it.
    NOTE: Mandelbulber hasnt got voxel stacking. Although it seems a little more user friendly if you just want to fly around fractals for rendered images.

    Download Mandelbulb 3D
    Download Fiji

    Here are the tutorials I used to get started. Thanks to Don Whitaker for doing these.
    1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
    Number 5 is the one regarding voxel stacking.
    (FIG.3) is just some images I found while exploring.


    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  2. virtox
    virtox Active Member Moderator
    Very cool!

    Voxels are awesome :)

    edit: Lol, this triggered me to finally retry the Mandelbulb in my own voxel engine, thanks for the re-inspiration!

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  3. Piers
    Piers New Member
    Wey! Glad too see someone else thinks this is cool :)

    Managed to get my own variation of Menger3 to a printable state. But will have to put it on the backburner as its been priced at 1000GBP. Not too surprising when the volume is 1500cm3. (only 30cm diameter )

    Is your engine avaliable for dl? :rolleyes:

    Ps GJ on the price calculator.........fingers crossed for a standalone version ;)

  4. virtox
    virtox Active Member Moderator
    Lol, well the idea is to release my engine one day, but for now it is quite the hack job, it only compiles to 64bit windows exes which frequently crash my system. Typical jobs run with 16Gb and over. So it only tends to run nicely with a lot of TLC ;)
    And I constantly hack changes for a particular projects, but perhaps one day ;)

    Regarding the pricing calculator, Thanks :)
    Hmm yes, standalone would be nice. But cross platform would be useful.
    And I hate java, so that is out ;)
    I imagine it should be possible in javascript?

    Owh yes Menger, another one of those frustratingly fun fractal ;)
    Never got past the basic shapes and variations. Tried a few hollow ones, but as yet unfinished.
    Did you see the alternate distorted Menger versions on fractalforum using IFS?
  5. Piers
    Piers New Member
    Ha! yeh thats a bit out of my systems reach! Ill just have to wait for this 'one day' you speak of ;)
    So how is your re-inspiration going? Found any interesting designs?

    To be honest im a physical modelmaker moving over to printing so script, etc isnt really my area. But lets hope so.

    Nope, can you send the link? Sounds interesting. I have had a play combining with the '_' formulas. Infact the Menger above is using _AmazingBoxSSE2.
    But most of the time when I add a second formula it goes a bit crazy. I need to do some more reading on fractal forums to better understand what is happening when I change the numbers.
    Heres an interesting variant, Annoyingly I didnt save the scene. When/If SW get the multi-material printer you could print something similar to this within the transparent material. (Like Objets ship in a bottle)

    Have nice weekend
  6. virtox
    virtox Active Member Moderator
    The Menger sponge, at the bottom of this page: aleidoscopic-%28escape-time-ifs%29/
    Would be cool to one day get an actual sponge like that ;)

    For now I am tweaking the basic Mandelbulb rendering formulas as this kind of "rendering" works best with a good distance estimator, as this allows for a smooth density field to polygonize against. Helps alot against dust, spikes and artifacts.
    So far only three simple bulb attempts:
    and latest:

    Coloring is chosen based on r, theta and phi from a lower iteration.

    All are still rough estimates as the original colored meshes are in the 6 million poly range.
    I have a script somewhere to reapply the colors after the mesh has been decimated.
    But I also still have to work on hollowing them out etc.

    What might work well for that render of yours is to get it laser etched in glass :)
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  7. Piers
    Piers New Member
    oO yeh they are really nice! Will have to have a play with those when i get a free moment. Thanks

    Your render looks great....Very smooth! . seems like the fog helps fill the deeper pits aswell. What do you mean by, ' works best with a good distance estimator'?

    Yeh I have alot of problems with dust and spikes when using 3D Slicer. it has a few tools to help with this but am still getting the hang of it.

    My way for deleting internal geometry then hollowing out the bones I print is uber basic, but works. Turn on Limit selection to visible > Invert selection > delete > Export > Open in Magics/Netfabb......let it repair the file (I only do this because the process isnt perfect and it tends to create holes) > Export > Open in Blender > Booleon subtract. Again very basic for my needs it works.

    Thats true.......although always thought the 3D laser engraving looked a bit cheezy :p It invokes images of couples faces, roses and kitchy landmarks in souvenir shops :D