nodes and rods (network) structure

Discussion in 'Design and Modeling' started by etto, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. etto
    etto New Member
    I am very new to 3D prototyping. Unfortunately, I am starting with a quite complex model (got no other choice). I have lots of questions.

    My model is a network structure; geometry is composed of very simple elements, that is nodes (spheres) and rods (extrusions of circles). What varies is the orientation of these elements in space. I model in vectorworks, that exports to STL.

    I tried many times to upload to shapeways, but had no luck. Since all elements of the structure remained separated, I thought that making a boolean union of the whole would be a good thing. I mean, joining solids avoids non-manifold geometry, correct?
    I only partially succeeded because I ended up with three solids. Vectorworks refuses to join those three. Can someone suggest another software to make the union?

    Also, when I export to STL and check in netfabb, I don't get only three shells, as I expected. I get MANY MANY of them... how is that explained?

  2. etto
    etto New Member
  3. etto
    etto New Member
  4. etto
    etto New Member
  5. etto
    etto New Member
  6. etto
    etto New Member
    I've divided the structure into a few modules, isolating the parts that repeat. Shapeways upload system still responds that "Only manifold objects can be printed".

    Can anyone help me understand what the problem is?
    I attach the module I am currently working on.
  7. etto
    etto New Member
    Is it me, or attachment doesn't work?

    Attached Files:

  8. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    It seems that Vectorworks is doing a very bad job of the booleans, and/or the conversion to STL.

    Since you've already got the model open in Netfabb, click on Repair. You'll see hundreds of holes hilighted in yellow:
    View attachment 15543

    While you're at it, click "Automatic Repair", then "Default Repair". Then export the updated model. See if that helps any.

    It seems that even then, Netfabb can't fix all of the "Flipped Triangles" You may have to go back to Vectorworks and see if there is any other option(s) for doing the booleans.
    JACANT Well-Known Member
    If your model is all solids maybe I can help. I use Autocad and the boolean command works fine. If you export your file as DWG and send it to me I will try to fix it.. If you don't want me to have your file still export it as maybe an 'IGES' but not as a DXF, that won't work with booleans, and try another software like 'Freecad' or 'Blender'
    In Freecad you can also create mesh from geometry and export that as an STL. le=Main_Page
  10. etto
    etto New Member
    Hello stonysmith and jacant,
    thank you very much for your help.

    @stonysmith: I performed the 'default repair" as you said, and once it finishes and the repaired piece replaces the old one, the big " ! " on the lower right corner disappears so I assume all problems are solved, which is not because i still get an error when I upload to shapeways...

    @jacant: I am more than willing to send you my file if you think you can help. I exported to DWG. Strange thing is that when I open this file with autocad 2012 for mac, the geometry appears corrupted, while opening in rhino it looks fine.
    Anyway, if you give me your email address, I will send the file to you.

    Again, thank you guys for support! it is truly appreciated

  11. JACANT
    JACANT Well-Known Member
    My email address is at the bottom of the page with this reply.
  12. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    What error are you getting when you upload the model (after repair).
  13. JACANT
    JACANT Well-Known Member
    If you fixed this in Netfabb, and it still got rejected it could be that it is a big model. There are different rules for 'big parts'
    As can be seen your minimum wall thickness will need to be 1.92mm.
    My email address is under this last line.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012