MakerBot Print is our newest print-prepration software, which supports native CAD files and STL assemblies,
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I have been using SketchUp to do design for several years now and I've gotten pretty good, but my designs are usually squared, as opposed to rounded. The first 3d print design I attempted (uploaded here) was an MSP430 carrier but that is with squared corners. I wanted to try my hand at people models like some I've seen on here. (For some reason, in all areas of my life, I always start with the most complicated projects first that I can!)
I created a model in MakeHuman (all of this in linux) and exported that as an .obj. I tried other formats, but that seemed to yield the best results. The model was very triangular - sort of like a paper model, so I then (going off a guide I found online) imported that in to Blender and subdivided the model twice. I exported that as an .stl. I imported that into MeshLab and ran Laplacian Smooth with smoothing steps set to 12. The resulting file looks pretty darn smooth and it looks, I think, pretty good.
My question, after the "War and Peace" version of this... sorry, is regarding the file size. Most all of the models I see on here are less than 10 megs in size. Mine is 143mb. There are the occasional 100+mb model, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule, even with the human figure models. Is there anything I can do to retain the smoothness of the model while reducing the file size? Or is the file size OK?
I am new to 3d printing - my first printer hasn't even arrived yet... it's still awaiting the end of the Chinese New Year before it ships - so.....
Thanks in advance.
Most models can get away with less geometry because they are non-organic, and have much straight lines.
Human models are by definition organic, so you'll inevitably need more geometry to create smooth curves.
The solution probably lies in finding the right tradeoff. Sure, you can get a perfectly smooth model if only you make enough catmull-clark subdivisions. The question is: how much subdivisions do you need to get it smooth enough. I think you can also get by with manually subdividing some parts more than others. Try separating regions on the human and subdividing only those.
Also I wonder: is one catmull-clark subdivision not enough to get it looking smooth? Sure once printed the model no longer benefits from the smooth shading hacks we use when rendering on a pc, so it might need more than one...
I guess it also depends on the size you want to print it.