The CAD file has been loaded into the 3D printer. Plenty of material is ready for 3D printing your object. You hit “Go,” and the printer begins building your design one layer at a time. After a couple of minutes, you know the print has failed. Somewhere the data got messed up and what is coming out is not what you had planned on prototyping or printing. It’s frustrating.
But there are solutions to this problem. Several companies offer software that can help ensure the 3D printer has the right information it needs to correctly and accurately print your design.
One of the latest is LimitState:FIX from Polygonica, Sheffield, UK. This software application automatically fixes 3D model STL files.
Based on work from engineering software firm MachineWorks, this program uses version 1.2 of the Polygonica engine to do its work. According to Polygonica, this means that LimitState:FIX has enhanced automated healing of complex meshes.
You have a choice of techniques for closing solids. If the original fan closing technique does not give the right result, then you can choose from: ‘planar’, ‘minimum area’ and ‘smooth’ closing techniques.
By default LimitState:FIX uses four decimal place precision when outputting STL files, improving compatibility with other additive manufacturing software, such as Netfabb and Magics.
‘Noise Shell’ purging in the Auto Fix process has been enhanced, so that the software only removes very small, likely spurious, objects by default. Alternatively you can set the threshold for removing noise shells manually.
LimitState:FIX still provides both a ‘one click’ automatic fix approach for 3D STL files, and sophisticated manual fixing processes. The software analyses and repairs holes in solids and fixes defective mesh files. It closes solids, fixes polygon orientation, removes self-intersections and noise shells, and ensures the geometry is manifold.
A free demo of the software is available which fixes models but which does not allow files to be saved for subsequent printing. This can be downloaded from: http://print.limitstate.com.
For bureaus and enterprises it costs £2,999 ($4,485) per user for a perpetual license. For small design and engineering firms and end users it is just £499 ($746) per user.