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curious how well it works now

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#1 natess44

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 05:52 AM

I used to use A:M back in version 10.5 and ended up not using it anymore because I didn't have much use for it at the time and I also lost my disc haha. But I never forgot beautiful interface for 3d modeling. Now I'm using some crappy freeware for modeling cad objects. I mean it works but its rather limited and complex to use. So I looked up my favorite software again and I see that A:M exports STL files now. I was wondering how well it does it.

Do you have to fix the files after export? Maybe someone could post some sample STL files so I can check them out? I'm doing more mechanical objects now.

 

Thanks, any info. would be great!

Nate.



#2 robcat2075

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:35 AM

Hopefully Ken Citron will chime in here. He's done a lot of 3D printing. When I was working with him on 3D printing the image contest medal he found that his software liked OBJs better.

 

  I'm sure it's possible to make a model that isn't ideal for STL export so perhaps the mileage varies depending on what the target app is.

 

Here is a pic of the STL interface and an export.

 

Attached File  TrexTeeth4x.zip   251.02KB   4 downloads

 

TrexSTL.PNG


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#3 robcat2075

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:47 AM

result re-imported...

If you want Quads-only, OBJ can do that.

 

TrexMDL-STL.PNG


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#4 Fuchur

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:05 AM

I used to use A:M back in version 10.5 and ended up not using it anymore because I didn't have much use for it at the time and I also lost my disc haha. But I never forgot beautiful interface for 3d modeling. Now I'm using some crappy freeware for modeling cad objects. I mean it works but its rather limited and complex to use. So I looked up my favorite software again and I see that A:M exports STL files now. I was wondering how well it does it.

Do you have to fix the files after export? Maybe someone could post some sample STL files so I can check them out? I'm doing more mechanical objects now.

 

Thanks, any info. would be great!

Nate.

 

Are you going to use them for 3d printing?

I have done a lot of that with A:M models and it works great. You may have to run it through NetFab (freeware) sometimes, but that is not a biggy at all.

 

You may want to have a look at this:

https://www.patchwor...-printing-83-en

 

Best regards

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See you

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#5 natess44

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 04:27 AM

Thanks guys that answers my questions. Looks like your dino exported and re-imported quite nicely Rob. Thanks for the link and video fuchur, I learned something today. Build my 3d printer with 2 print heads and use pva(I think that's what you said, need another run through later :P) to support my objects. A:M sure has improved over the years.

Thanks again, Nate.

#6 Fuchur

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 12:06 PM

You may want to watch it again ;).

PVA is water desolveable and like that pretty good for supports, but it is not the answer to everything and it is always better to work without supports ;).

 

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#7 pixelplucker

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:58 PM

If your object is made of multiple meshes you are better off with an obj rather than an stl. Stl files will make all the objects as one name which will create voides (negative spaces) where they intersect. An obj file will support multiple meshes which will allow most slicing software to add them with the other meshes.

 

You may in some cases need to post process the models from AM if they have holes such as lathe objects do unless you do 4 or 5 points which you can stitch or use a 5 point patch. I have used meshlab also from autdoesk to do minor repairs. Seems like Autodesk is gobbling up all the companies out there :(



#8 Rodney

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 04:59 AM

Meshlab is opensource.  (I think the program Ken refers to is under a different name?)

 

In addition to the downloadable release Meshlabs has an online javascript implementation:

 

http://www.meshlabjs.net/

 

It might take awhile to learn it's various options but there are a lot of them to include making meshes water tight etc.

 

 

For the Meshlab site see:  http://www.meshlab.net


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#9 natess44

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 01:54 PM

Thanks for your quick response everyone. Yeah I realize fuchur that pva is not the solution to everything but that is a good idea none the less. I'm just wondering if A:M is suitable for mechanical objects. I remember that there was a subtractive modeling feature(is that what you meant Ken when you said multiple meshes?), they have probably added a million features since I last used it. So what I'm really wondering is how well A:M works with exported file formats since that's pretty well all I'll use it for.
Lately I've been using emachinshops free modeler, it really is terrible in a lot of ways but it has some neat mechanical features that makes it very powerful in a few specific ways.

Meshkab looks interesting.

Thanks, Nate

#10 Fuchur

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:40 PM

Boolens in A:M are no suitable for export. They are only calculated when rendering. That makes them very useful for animations (because they can easily be animated like that) but not suitable for the export.

 

You'll need to go the "manual" modelling way. Wether A:M is suitable for mechanical modelling or not is really up to your skills. It is very well doable, but there are better tools for that depending on your point of view... it highly depends what you are used to and what modelling method you prefer. A:M has one or even the best patch modelling toolsets but is very limited if you like to use boxmodelling tools.

 

I'd recommend to just try it out.

 

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#11 pixelplucker

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:18 PM

Not sure if i can explain any clearer but I'll try.

If you have 2 closed objects that intersect and are exported as an stl, those objects where they intersect are treaded as empty spaces. If the surfaces are touching then you will have co-planer faces that can cause other issues.

To get around that and keep a water tight object you need to either create a single clean mesh using booleans OR make the meshes intersect and use a format that supports multiple meshes within the same file such as obj.

 

Sorry I meant MeshMixer not Meshlab. My mistake.

 

As far as fdm prepping I am not that familiar with that since most my printing has been for sla printing. Fuchur has far more experience with fdm.

 

For modeling It is possible to make mechanical models in AM but there are limitations and really depends on the precision you need and what type of objects you are trying to make.



#12 natess44

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 05:14 AM

So Ken you can use booleans in a obj export? I love the modeling interface in A:M but I am also aware of the draw backs as well. I used it a lot. Booleans are great for mechanical objects as I recall but if they can't be exported it'll be a real pain. I also ran into a page on the site that mentioned something about making a mesh from a prop? I'd really like to go back to using A:M again I'm just unsure if it has all the features I'll need.

Thanks, Nate.

#13 Rodney

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 07:23 AM

if they can't be exported it'll be a real pain

 

Sorry to say...

 

A:M's boolean cutters are the type that are only implemented at render time.**

Therefore they don't actually alter any physical geometry (it only looks like it is altered).

 

There are some things that can and do export well such as displacement maps.

 

 

**If we consider the infinite resolution of surfaces (patches) made with minimal splines with boolean cutting methodology this is really the only way that can work.

This doesn't preclude exporting objects created in A:M out and using other programs to  execute physical changes via solid modeling but there the resulting mesh will no longer have the benefits of A:M's minimal splines and patches defining the surfaces.  The shapes themselves (both those that will be cut and those that will do the cutting) will export just fine of course.  In the other program you then just define which objects are the solids and which are the cutters.


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#14 pixelplucker

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:05 AM

For added geometry you can just use separate objects but intersect them a little bit. You will have to model subtracted shapes from the object.

What kind of objects are you making?



#15 natess44

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:25 AM

Ken I'm making a lot of objects with holes subtracted from the surfaces like bolt holes ect.
Where do I make a feature request for a mesh merge add/subtract at surface intersect? That'd be so useful. Even if a made an ugly mesh as long as it worked.. I'm not much of a programmer or I'd make a plug-in for it.
Okay so that dream is shattered is there anyway to convert an imported model to a usable patch?

Thanks, Nate.

#16 robcat2075

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 10:42 AM

Where do I make a feature request for a mesh merge add/subtract at surface intersect?

 


A true boolean cut in splines is a bit of a moonshot proposal.

 

If your ultimate goal is a model exported to a polygon format for 3D printing, may i suggest making your spline models and boolean cutter shapes in A:M, then exporting those to a polygon format and doing the cut as the last step in a polygon modeler.


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#17 pixelplucker

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

As Robcat suggested exporting the shapes out and doing the booleans in another program would do the trick. Blender should be able to handle that on the free side or Wings 3d.

 

If your looking for a cad program that doesn't break the bank then check out MOI3d. I have used MOI for quite a while and it is a rock solid program that I never had it crash. There are limits to MOI so an alternative program that is a hybrid that is good is FormZ pro but that does take some learning. FormZ does have a free version but I don't know what tools are missing. It may be enough do to what you want.

 

Both FormZ and MOI do work pretty well with AM as far as props go. I think MOI has better control on triangulation on export than many programs out there including Solidworks, and many of the really high end programs.



#18 robcat2075

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 04:05 PM

Okay so that dream is shattered is there anyway to convert an imported model to a usable patch?

 

 

 

There is a new feature called "Snap to Surface"

 

You import a model or prop and you can draw new splines on it.  This would be a way to create a thin spline mesh on a dense polygon model.


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#19 pixelplucker

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 06:07 PM

Not for nothing but modeling bolts and threaded objects is difficult on an additive process unless the threads are really really really course. The resolution to have a working thread on a 3d print requires less than 50 micron and even at 25 micron you will have fitting issues with any thread finer than 20 tpi. I'm not sure but most fdm printers only handle 100-200 micron right?

 

Typically all that can be done post process. I would suggest make your model and toss in maybe a location point. Drill your holes on the print and run a tap through the part. You will have far superior working threads that way rather than trying to print it. Even subtractive cnc systems it is usually easier to post process the part than try to run a slew of g-code, tool changes etc unless your doing some sort of production run. As advanced as all this technology is, sometimes old school still works faster, cheaper and better. Get your base part done and work from that. Just my 2 cents.



#20 Fuchur

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 12:59 AM

50-100 micron for layers(50 is very uncommon just because you need to adjust ur printer very, very precise), but not for smallest features. There you can have smaller once on the better fdms. It is not for very small bolts, but if we are talking about m8 or m6 it is very well possible to do (there even is a bolt and nut as predefined object on my makerbot which works nicely, but is not tiny neighter) and may even work better than sla, since the materials are better suited than most liquid resins. (it depends, but in general those are a little more flexibel which is not helpful for that scenario.)

Example

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PS: But yes, you can easily just use real metall screws and drill them in. Much more durable than standard plastics anyway.
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#21 pixelplucker

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 06:04 PM

Finest I have gone with a working thread is 28tpi but that was tricky and required 25 micron. Threads worked but as you mentioned the materials are not as nice for mechanical parts on sla.



#22 natess44

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 05:11 AM

Well thanks everyone, I guess A:M hasn't added the features that are needed quite yet for what I'm doing, unless I do it the hard way or manually(although manually isn't all that bad Ken.) Or if I use another program. And I've been thinking about it the accuracy might not be there either with a spline mesh or difficult because I'd have to export it a couple of times into one program then another.
3d printing is becoming a big thing maybe hash should start looking into it more. I mean splines are excellent for animations but maybe A:M needs some direct polygon modeling features as well, or just use the hash splines for animations. What they are made for mainly.
I will say though, I've been checking out other programs like DS mechanical (Space claim) and man it is nice but it just doesn't have the ease of use that A:M has. It's close but not there. I really love A:M but it's the modeling I'm after right now.

Thanks again, sorry I took so long to respond.
Nate.

#23 Fuchur

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 07:00 AM

I am doing 3d prints for years with A:M. You have to use patchmodelling with A:M and A:M is not a CAD software, but to say it does not offer everything you need is just plain wrong.

I have 2 makerbot fdm printers at home and there is no problem with using them wirh A:M. The minute you need higher resolution and higher precission than what A: M can offer u is the minute you need professional 3d printers for 25,000 dollars and up, which I assume nobody is willing to pay anyway here.

If u do not get what I am talking about, please read about shrinking and equal challenges with 3d printing.

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#24 natess44

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 08:17 AM

I just want simplicity, and for what I want to do, right now, hash splines aren't going to work it seems. The splines are great for most cases but not for my application. I don't feel like spending my time fighting with splines to make a few holes or importing and exporting continually although I know you need to do some of that.

But I know it's a rock solid program now and maybe in the future I'll find a us for it again.
Thanks, Nate.

#25 robcat2075

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:49 AM

There is the pesky difference between spline modeling and polygon modeling strategy.

 

In polygon modeling you make the surface and add the hole while in spline modeling you make the hole and then finish the surface. :lol:

I guess you know what your options are now. Since none of the options are perfect (especially at the price range you are looking at) you have to make a choice of which inconveniences you can live with and that is understandable.

 

 

A:M has always been targeted as a tool for creating narrative character animation and to the extend that people can use it for other things that is great but they can't chase those other markets that already have substantial tools available.


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#26 Fuchur

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 10:51 AM

I can understand that... you may want to have a look at Shade3d for isntance than.

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#27 pixelplucker

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:36 PM

Check out FormZ Free, It may have what you need. Workflow in it is pretty straight forward and not that hard to learn if you have any amount of modeling behind you.

As far as precision, you can always work 2x in size then reduce the part when importing in your printing software. AM is really suited for organic shapes. That's where it really excels. Depending on how many holes you can model those for the most part but if your making swiss cheese then you may have some difficulty. 

Most poly models are adequate for 3d printing since it is an additive system and uses poly objects to derive the slices. Precision in cad models isn't really realized in the additive processes but are essential when doing typical machine processes ie cnc where you need tool paths and exacting tolerances. Curvatures need to be smooth for the tool paths and not faceted in the case of poly shapes.



#28 natess44

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 04:05 PM

I'll check those programs out, thanks. If A:M had some easy patch filling and subtraction I think it'd blow a lot of those crappy programs out if the water for modeling.
I'm a little sentimental, I really like A:M but it's just not quite what I need.

Thanks, Nate.

#29 nemyax

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:48 AM

If A:M had some easy patch filling and subtraction

Spline patches are a very finicky geometry type, and it's hard to program these kinds of features into them. It goes a lot easier with polygons.






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