View Full Version : Interesting 3D Printing Service

11-03-2010, 05:05 PM
There's a commercial 3D printing service online now - this could be interesting for 3D terrain?


11-03-2010, 05:41 PM
wow this is so cool! Gonne dust off my copy of Sculptris now i think...

11-03-2010, 05:42 PM
wow - super cool.. now I wanna learn 3D (again) :)

11-04-2010, 01:47 PM
That is so stinking cool!
I believe I could create 3d with my hands but so far I think I suck at digital 3d. I should have been a potter I think.

11-04-2010, 02:33 PM
If anyone has a desperate need to make a real 3D block from a height map then PM me and I can sort that out. Its not a cheap thing but easily doable.

11-04-2010, 02:49 PM
i'm wondering what program to use for this. I learned som 3D studio Max about 10 years ago - but that program cost about as much as a trip to the moon. Are there any freeware programs (or cheap) that are easy to use and yet can produce good quality 3D ??

11-04-2010, 03:05 PM
Wilbur ?

And you can create height maps from contours which I have done and semi-tutted a few times. Its hard to create really good terrain from hand drawn contours but you can use Wilbur to spruce them up a bit.

You can download height map DEM data which I do all the time like for my failed NY challenge entry or the Japan challenge etc. You can create it from existing reference material like what we do in the ME-DEM project for middle earth but thats hard. I write my free instant islands app to generate random noise terrain or you can synth up some Perlin or similar of which Su-Liam does here by using lib noise or something else.

Free good 3D app is Blender - but I would say good as in powerful but not necessarily easy to use... people have mixed feelings about that app - or should I say there are mixed opinions from people about it - yes probably the latter. There is sketchup as well though thats not really for doing the terrain part of 3D worlds.

If your dead set on using a 3D printer as opposed to some other method then you will almost certainly need a file format of STL - the stereo lithography format. Blender has that and I think there are sketchup converters for it. I expect that 3D studio and all the big guns have it too, plus POVray, but it might be less popular on light weight 3D apps as its more of a CAM format than a graphics format.

11-04-2010, 03:19 PM
cool, thanks for that Redrobes, I wasn't thinking of terrain though, more generating 3D objects for all sorts of fun. My first thought were a nice present for my wife for her birthday, and even though she's a roleplayer, I'm guessing she don't want a mountain range *lol*

11-04-2010, 03:28 PM
I'm not sure POVray can export STL (or anything much!) - it's generally a very "selfish" tool ! At this moment in time the povray site appears to be down so I can't check but...
Blender can export STL, so that's your best bet I think, but I can't speak from any experience.

11-04-2010, 04:18 PM
Djespek talked about Blender too, and now you guys... I guess I better download it and have a look :)

11-04-2010, 05:05 PM
Check out my Blender tut then (well first time crack at it kinda blog type thing anyway)... brace yourself for pain tho.... ;[



11-04-2010, 05:43 PM
I'm pretty sure Sketchup Pro can export STL, but the free version cannot. SU is less painful to use than Blender, but it's still, I think, US$400 or so for a useful version of it.

11-04-2010, 05:58 PM
cool - I'll definitly check that out - and I'm downloading blender now :)

11-04-2010, 06:02 PM
I have been looking and came across this one:
which is for taking data sets and converting to STL but its no 3D GUI based drawing / modeling package. Looks good for me tho :)

11-04-2010, 06:04 PM
yeah... need the GUI, can't do anything without that :)

11-04-2010, 06:07 PM
Crikey this one is worth checking out too. There is a service where you take a few snaps of some building and upload to this site...
... then it works on it for a while (like up to a few hours on an array of PCs) and then it will spit out the 3D model of it which can be taken into the meshlab app to convert to STL.

Wow ! Some people have been busy !!!

11-04-2010, 06:18 PM
Ohh man theres some clever dudes out there. There is a guy who has intercepted the data transfer from photosynth to extract the point cloud from it. For those who dont know, Photosynth is an amazing bit of software by microsoft - yes you really did hear me say it - which takes multiple photos and turns it all into a 3D scene and has some cool demos using Flickr sets to build up pretty complex buildings and places. Anyway, you can render these in 3D with Silverlight - Microsofts effort at doing a Flash kind of thing with some 3D. But the Photosynth site can make these Silverlight web pages of 3D terrains but no export.... unless you intercept the data to it.


So from this you can extract the points and put them into that mesh app and generate the STL from it.

If in the future photosynth exports a point cloud (as promised) then it might as well export the STL and be done with.

11-04-2010, 08:22 PM
I downloaded Blender a few weeks back and when I popped it up and just poked at a few seconds I thought: "EEEEEEEE GAAAADDSSS!!"

I think it will definitely take some work to be able to use it.

11-05-2010, 02:19 AM
I'm pretty sure that trueSpace 7 (http://www.caligari.com/) can save in STL. It's available for free these days.

11-06-2010, 11:07 AM
Look up the wikiBook Blender Noob to Pro. It got me on my feet with the program fairly quickly, although I swiftly abandoned it in favor of Maya as soon as I got into my 3d classes at school.