The idea is a common one, and often fails. It's the same reason we can't automatically build a game with one button click; the computer does not understand art (among other things). It cannot process a visual scene like we can, and make improvements that make visual sense.
Games that have taken the approach you describe (joining pre-made parts together) would include Spore and No Mans Sky. In the case of NMS, this has been shown to lead to interesting and also ridiculous creations .
There exists a pretty awesome tool, Meshmixer  that can join arbitrary meshes together, which is probably exactly what you are trying to make? The main limitation with it though is that when you join up random meshes together the result is, well, random. A cohesive art style would see you build all the meshes needed for the character, and then, well, what would be the point in linking things up in a tool at all? You may as well just create the whole model in Blender/Maya etc.
Ultimately the problem can't be solved algorithmically, as it is an intuitive problem. Better 3d tools are what we need, and I do think that the mainstream 3d modelling tools have stagnated a bit, and are due a shake up.
That is probably true but it's not difficult to make a 3D model into something printable, I recommend Meshmixer
It's free, extremely easy to use imho, and is pretty much for exactly that purpose, I've used it to make random 3D models into something printable, and there are tons of tutorials online.
You can grab the .stil from MyMiniFactory and convert it to .3mf using free MeshMixer for instance. I wanted to only upload the most common file format because of the size of the files. When someone hits "download" it downloads a zip file of all the files and it would just be a bunch of duplicate files taking up a lot of space :)
This is where I got the file. I plugged it into Meshmixer and added supports. I published this on Thingiverse
edit: I printed this for OP
You can always use MeshMixer.
I've used it to modify STL files before and it works fairly well. It can also generate supports if you need it to, but you can modify and export STL files fairly easily.
We do similar stuff all the time: Check out 123D Catch from autodesk. With a basic camera you can snap 30-50 pics from different angles of the object and again with the person (focus on the front face only - it still has trouble with hair). You can then port the files to a program of your choosing and heal/delete and combine what you need to. The 123D suite will do some of that for you, Meshmixer the rest. Export as .stl, slice and print!
Modifying an object that has been reduced to an STL file is a huge PITA and often not worth the trouble. STL objects are a collection of ordered triplet vertices that define directed triangular surfaces in 3-space. Very tough to do for "mechanical CAD" type objects.
However, "organic" shapes (dragons, figurines, etc.) can be edited successfully with mesh editing software, like Meshmixer or Blender (both free).
Import the stl into Meshmixer, click the "Select" tool, then press [ctrl]+[a] to select all faces. Then in the menu that appears, hover over "Edit...", then click "Flip Normals".
You can then click "Export" in the tools menu to save the repaired file.
I was going to suggest Meshmixer myself. However I will say that it's UI is 'arcane' at times.
Check some of Angus' videos on Meshmixer for a kickstart into using it
The newest beta version is supposed to have something similar to this, but it's not yet functional. looks like you will need to wait for it.
for now you can always use MeshMixer for editable support
Working with meshes from other people's STLs is something I've found stupidly hard and try to avoid doing much of. I'll actually recreate designs from scratch rather than work with a grossly high poly mesh.
One solution I've found that can sometimes help is using Autodesk's Meshmixer to reduce the complexity of an existing STL file. It's free - and can also be used to fix models that are not manifold (which... god, don't get me started on that pain.) I followed this video tutorial to get my feet wet, even though it's pretty old.
Good luck and god speed.
Max won't do this but MeshMixer will. You can set a specific edge length for your retopo and should be able to get it pretty uniformly in your desired range. It's also free so can't go wrong.
If you use the Destiny STL generator and Meshmixer you can get an idea of the size of everything in the game.
Using Meshmixer you can check the size of the models by selecting everything and then Pressing "T". That will bring up a menu on the left side that tells you the X,Y, and Z sizes in millimeters. You can then convert it into whatever you want (inchs, feet, Meters, Bananas) from there.
Album with Models and sizes - http://imgur.com/a/f5w6c
Destiny STL site - http://www.destinystlgenerator.com/
Meshmixer - http://www.meshmixer.com/
Autodesk Meshmixer is a robust CAD and 3D modeling software and is available for free to students and hobbyists. Given the amount of technical sounding capabilities I encounter trying to teach myself how to use it to create 3D printed parts, it can definitely handle way more than I can throw at it, all for the low price of zero dollars.
If the model is too big to print in one go, you can use meshmixer - http://www.meshmixer.com/download.html to chop the model into separate pieces. Here's a tutorial from prusa - https://blog.prusaprinters.org/cut-stl-models-3d-printing-meshmixer/
If this is a single STL and you want to save the pieces separately, you can use meshmixer (free) to select and delete components until you get what you want and save that new STL. Can take a little time to start over each time in selecting and removing components to end up with the components you want in each STL. Easy enough to do, just takes a little time.
I've used Meshmixer in the past with great success. It has very useful support generation and model editing tools, and it's free. There are a lot of very helpful and informative videos on YouTube that show how to make good supports with Meshmixer.
EDIT: Mega links will also trip the spam filter; I can see your linked file on your user page but not in this thread. Next time try something like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Sort of -- it's not that you need to design each component separately, but you do need to export them as different 3D model files (STLs); each color is a separate STL. This is the standard for how multi-color printing works right now (e.g. same as with current dual-extruders). Incidentally, OP actually made made a video [10:36] showing his design process for a multi-color print (in this case, a nerf gun target). It's a neat 10 min if you haven't seen the process before!
If you're trying to take a single-color object and make it multiple colors, you can use meshmixer's "complex" tool to separate 1 STL into multiple STLs... this works once you get the hang of it, but could definitely be simpler. We may be able to help with this in the future...
Well Luckily for you. Those .STLs files should be 1 "shell" youll need a third party program like http://www.meshmixer.com/ to Support the structure the way you intent to grow it. My supports were quickly made using the IN-program supports from my ASIGA PICO 2 HD. You can also use online printing services to create your models.
Microsoft 3D builder
Surprisingly not bad for doing just what you want. I haven't used it for anything else other than making cuts with a plane.
Free but I have not used it.
The straightforward boolean that you were trying to do in the first place should work fine in this case. The reason it's not is because your meshes are probably of a low quality or erroneous in some way.
Get yourself MeshMixer and it will probably boolean fine. For additional mesh cleanup there's project memento, [MeshLab](www.meshlab.org), among others. Some combination of these tools will definitely get you where you want to be; you're not working with meshes that difficult.
Just check, seems odd but pasting this link in the address bar seems to work: http://www.meshmixer.com/downloads/Autodesk_Meshmixer_v3p5_Win64.exe
To reduce the size of the texture, look at baking. An addon like SimpleBake might help (12$ on BlenderMarket), but it is possible without.
For reducing polygons on a model, look either into retopology, the decimate modifier or use an external tool like meshmixer (http://www.meshmixer.com)
So this was my first go at modeling a project myself, I used blender entirely to make the model so I was able to put the cuts into it with a mind towards printing them with minimal supports needed.
Everything was modeled to fit on a Ender 3 print bed which is about 8.5" x 8.5", after that it was just a matter of exporting everything to scale.
For prior projects though, I've always used Meshmixer's plane cuts to get models down to size. http://www.meshmixer.com/ I'd highly recommend it as it will 'auto-stitch' the model where you cut it, so you don't need to do it yourself. Santube 3D on Youtube has a tutorial on how to utilize it thats pretty helpful.
I use Fusion 360 for modeling (you can get a free personal use license) and then Meshmixer for prepping the model to print.
I’d certainly consider myself to still be a beginner and Fusion 360 can be daunting at first, but there are plenty of tutorials out there to get you started.
I am also a total newbie to 3D modeling and am learning it for 3D printing too.
If you already have two models and you want to combine them Mesh Mixer may be the simplest tool for the job. I've been playing with it to alter stl files I get from Thingiverse. I was changing the shape of a headphone hook last night and it was a good learning experience.
I can't do it for you now, but I may try this evening as it would be a good experience for me.
Meshes this complicated will be alot easier to work with using mesh mixer (http://www.meshmixer.com/).
Fusion can support mesh geometries, but is not designed to handle such complex ones :)
Ah. I'll look around, but hopefully someone will come around and throw in some options. The Z restriction is also quite limiting for larger parts, but I mentioned http://www.meshmixer.com/ because it allows you to cut apart existing .stl files and then epoxy them together post printing.
It's not the IDEAL form of FDM, but it might prove helpful in your case.
Note: You won't have trouble with a lot of smaller parts. Cages, mag releases, pushers etc.
so you could take the popular articulated face-hugger model and mesh mix it with one of the common masks, using the mask models shape to delete area from the face-hugger. no real modeling needed with that method.
then just add some loops on a couple of the legs so that way when they wrap around the head they can be tied.
I might try it myself a bit later when I'm free.
Ty, also got word that this is something Cura can not do so will need another app. Hit, below, mentioned Meshmixer. Sounds like something I am going to need to learn more about.
Download Meshmixer if you don't have it already (which you should, it's great for optimizing models for printing) and use the inspect tool to check it out, maybe apply the solidify modifier. This has worked for me with some weird slicing issues in the past but not always.
Yes, this so weird. I'm doing some searches today and I found a software that creates the support as a model, them you can export and import at Cura.
Take a look http://www.meshmixer.com/ (I'll test it today at night)
There is a free program Meshmixer that will let you rotate and cut models. It also can create amazing supports. It's also not as daunting as Blender.
I think this is a great use of your time. 3 friends using 3 different artistic mediums. I am only a hobbiest and had to learn a lot about 3d models. I totally understand it's hard to figure out new software quickly. Give it a look and watch a youtube about it I think it will help you.
I also think you can cut models in cura I just haven't done it yet.
But if you wanted to say add a square to the top of the leg and a square hole in the body, Meshmixer can help with that. It's also good at converting to different file types.
I did a quick research about "sketch up" seems like you're quite limited in surface/face manipulation area in that software.
What I'd suggest you do is:
*Create the basic shape of the handle (with a desirable with and length)
*Save the handle as an .STL file
*Import the file into "meshmixer" (meshmixer is a free software that allows you to work the model like a clay by pushing and pulling) http://www.meshmixer.com/
*After the desired look is achieved you can import the .STL file back into sketch up.
Some patience might be needed for meshmixer, but I use it simultaneously with Solidworks when I want achieve ergonomic design without measurements.
Hope it helps and good luck with the wheel!
Meshmixer and 3D Builder both have a 'split by plane' function, personally I think the one in '3D Builder' is easier to use, and it certainly seems to run faster on my PC than Meshmixer. Meshmixer has some useful tools other packages don't have, but they aren't important for this purpose. Both are free.
There is a package called Luban3D , not free, that will 'automatically' split an object, but it will do so by using an array of cubes. A bit crude, many seams to deal with, but effective and even the only real approach for models that are way too big for a given printer.
If you are wanting 'organic' splits like you see on some models (like where an arm attached to a figure being keyed and conforming to the shape of the model) you'd have to have access to the original files the STL was derived from and then use Zbrush or Blender or such (and likely some add-on) to create those interfaces.
Not really, no. You can try something like MeshMixer or a voxel remesher if you don't mind a somewhat rough result but nothing will produce perfectly clean topology: that sort of work needs to be done by hand.
You can download Meshmixer from here...
You then need to export your mesh in a compatible file format, obj etc.
Import into Meshmixer.
Click on 'Analysis' on the left side bar and 'Units/Dimensions' to see the real world scale.
Click on 'Analysis' on the left side bar and 'Stability' to see Volume/Surface Area.
It's a free, decently powerful software that allows you to modify stls. I use it mostly to break up models to improve printability, but it's also able to do modifications to appearance. The file you linked is a great practice one actually. Import it into meshmixer, then use edit -> separate shells and it'll break it up into the different solids Velrock used to create the mini. Select the sword (and sheath, they're separate here) and delete them. Then use the object browser window that popped up when you separated shells to select everything, and a menu with "combine" will appear. Click that and it makes everything one body again. Last, file->export as an stl and you're ready to bring it into your slicer.
I use Meshmixer to repair manifold errors.
Import STL > Analysis > Inspector > auto-repair all
I'm not sure how it'll work for complex guy like your Rex, but it's worth a try.
Meshmixer has some awesome custom tree supports. That I find work really well for minis, software is free to which is nice. You can also modify the mesh to make changes as needed.
No DRM. STL is a lot like PDF. It's a widely used format, easy to share, view, and print, but not really made to be edited. There are ways to do it, though.
You won't be able to easily change poses or features of a figure. If you want to see what it's like, grab an STL from MyMiniFactory or Thingiverse, open it in Meshmixer, and try the sculpting or editing tools there.
For example, here's a tutorial for some simple edits (adding an arm joint): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgc66TvEke4
To export an STL file in Blender is simple. File > Export > STL (.stl)
I don't have much experience with it personally, but Meshmixer is supposedly really good for getting models ready for 3D printing, like creating custom supports or filling in gaps in the mesh. I've found it works best if the file is an OBJ, but luckily Blender can do that too! File > Export > Wavefront (.obj)
Would like to get my hands on your model for printing so I'm keeping an eye out!
A lot of people use Meshmixer for this
Alright good to know that you have the .STL
Normally I use Mesh-mixer to create a single watertight mesh, because I know that Desktophero exports the STL files with a bunch of intersecting shells that can cause issues.
I would at least try to import the STL there to make a single watertight mesh, or just to see if the STL does have the mesh info correct.
What you're gonna want to do is make the supports in meshmixer. It's pretty self-explanatory to use, just play around with the support settings a bit until you find what you like. Then you can export the part, supports and all, back to an STL to slice/print however you normally would with their proprietary software.
Yeah, I agree with @priestwithknives, looks like a model issue or the slicer had a bad day...
Did you try another slicer? I've had bizzare print errors that went away with a different slicer.
I also found that the Repair sites/programs vary in results. I had one model I tried two repair methods and no joy, the 3rd fixed the model perfectly ... Just sayin'.
NetFabb: link above
MeshMixer: http://www.meshmixer.com/ (But complicated if you're new at it, steep learning curve)
I haven't tried any of mz4250's models yet (although I'm sure I will at some point). If you're getting misprints due to bad geometry, I'd try taking it into Meshmixer (free here if you don't have it) and start by just re-exporting it as an STL, and see if Meshmixer can auto clean it up for you. If not, I've had good success with using Meshmixer's Make Solid tool (under Edit) for fixing bad models. It can be very CPU-intensive if you crank the quality up, but it outputs a good, printable result.
EDIT: I'm assuming you've already tried the options in Simplify3D's Repair menu... if not, start there first, especially Repair Normals.
This is actually not a bad print for those settings. But if you want high quality, you might want to adjust the layer height to .06-.04, and knock the print speed down to 1-10.
As for the Knight, I don't think the built in supports that come with cura are very effective, as the don't directly connect to the model. A figure with overhangs like this is beeter printed in separate parts, but I would try loading it into meshmixer and trying out their tree supports. http://www.meshmixer.com
Looks like you want the Art command called "image to surface".
All the info seems to be in youtube tutorials, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2baT-EB_ZWI which is why it's hard to search.
FOR OTHER SOFTWARE:
I would start here: http://johnflower.org/tutorial/make-mountains-blender-height-maps
Then export that as an STL, import it into MeshMixer (which is free), choose the "solidify" command, then delete the original mesh.
And lastly, export again into a format that Mastercam can import. I a
For fixing up the mesh, Blender is definitely good to learn especially if you want to get into more advanced 3D work. Meshmixer is also a good program for basic mesh editing if you just need to delete some parts and smooth it out.
I suck at 3d printing and the build area on my i3 is only 8x8x7 inches, but you could use the cut features in Meshmixer to break your model up into pieces and then glue them after printing. The latest version of Fusion 360 is supposedly better at importing STL files if you want to do more complicated (parametric) reworking.
Or (I think) AutoDesk Meshmixer. They added a tool in v2.7 for print bed layout management. Import the part in MM, place it how you want it printed, export the new part, import the part into your slicer.
Try out Meshmixer from Autodesk. It's free. There's a little learning curve but you have more control to create support material however you want it, including making narrow tips to make it easy to remove.
Are you trying to print a functional violin? Then I assume that you don't intend to print the tailpiece, chin rest, bridge, pegs, etc. connected to the body. Also, are you printing a bow?
Assuming you print the violin upright, you could pull it off with strictly external support. Download a copy of Meshmixer. You can create pillar supports that come in at an angle to support the f holes, the top of the waist, the end of the fingerboard, the peg box, and the scroll. You will also need to create a lot of supports to hold the end up for printing the inset of the ribs and the end pin. If you plan on printing the sound post into the interior, orient the print strictly vertical so you can use bridging to print it.
If you just want a functional electric fiddle, look at the F-F-Fiddle.
You could try meshmixer http://www.meshmixer.com
You can use mesh enabler to bring a mesh into inventor
Just to warn you - inventor is a solid modeler. Meshes in inventor come through very faceted, like this
You didn't say what kind of support you are using. Is it the default Cura generated support? Is it from a different slicer? Is it Meshmixer support? If not Meshmixer, try it with the UM2 profile selected. It might also be your print temp. Have you tried taking it down a few degrees?