Mesh settings for 3D printing


I am 3D printing files created in grasshopper and the smooth mesh setting still leaves noticeable faceting. I have been trying to use the custom mesh settings to get a smoother surface, but I keep getting poor results. Does anyone have any suggestions for custom value settings or other ways to get smoother results?

MESH (14.6 KB)

I’d try to bake the brep or surface to Rhino and export it to 3MF for the slicer, instead of creating a mesh in Grasshopper.

There is something not expected
if brep are joined

if not joined as you did

But it doesn’t occur with lower Max Distance. So it is more a bug to me.

Thanks for taking a look at the file, and for pointing out Breps that were not joined. I tried to apply simply a lower ‘Max Distance’ to other parts and still had poor results. Does rhino specify the ‘smooth mesh settings’ as a starting point for refining the ‘custom mesh settings’? Also, here is another part that I did not mesh well.

MESH settings (16.1 KB)

I also had the same problem like @tomriefe many times. The 3D printing companies I have worked with always asked for STL files. Does 3MF work with all 3D printers? What are the advantages?

Here’s a pretty good explanation of what a 3MF file is:

It doesn’t say a lot about what an STL file is, but STL files are just a series of 3D triangles that approximate the desired geometry. You can think of an STL file as a tri-mesh definition. As noted in the above article, STL is an old definition type; it’s death has been foretold for a long time now, but it still persists. It’s what I use for all my 3D prints - partially because I post my designs on Thingiverse and it won’t accept 3MF definitions.

For 3D printing I’ve found that the best results (meaning no visible faceting) happen when the geometry to be printed is represented in Rhino as closed Breps, and then exported as a plain STL file. Rhino will export a mixture of meshes and Breps as STL, but in that case I think Rhino re-meshes the mesh geometry to create it’s STL counterpart. (That’s a guess on my part.)

Depending on what the exported geometry is Rhino may create STL files that contain errors. (The best way to minimize this is to export only closed Breps.) It used to be that these errors were obscure and hard to correct, but current versions of Netfab are very good at fixing these errors. For the past couple of years I’ve never had Netfab fail to fully correct an STL file with errors, even if there were thousands of them.

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I mainly do 3D printing at home and use Ultimaker Cura as slicer. It accepts the 3MF format.

3MF is basically a newer, compressed archive format with more information about the model than STL. It can store object units, model orientations, colors, materials, licensing information, etc., as well as keep the file size smaller. STLs tend to get huge for high-def meshes.

Rhino (or the 3MF exporter add-on) takes care of the brep or surface meshing and results are usually great. I don’t know when I’ve last seen a mesh tessellation on a printed model.

However, it seems to have a problem with this kind of pipe with rounded end caps?

The meshing result is not great, so you better stick with the manual process!
The STL-exporter produces a better result with a 0.0001mm tolerance, but the file is also huge and hard to digest.

I’d say, if 3MF is not up to the task, use STL instead.

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Birk and DA,

Thanks for the info on 3MF seems like a good file format to switch over to. My slicer for my Formlab printer doesn’t accept yet, but I will keep a lookout as that seems like a logical update.

DA, I gotta give the 0.0001mm tolerance a try. The resolution looks good but I can imagine file size will be a lot to deal with.

Super interesting, thank you!

Also this is very interesting. Thanks a lot!

If you know the resolution of your printer you can do the tolerance accordingly. My high-end printer has a resolution of ca. 0.02mm. So anything below 0,01mm for the STL export does not make sense. I made some tests with 3d lasers that request an even lower tolerance, but 0.00001mm will expode your PC if you have anything a bit more fancy than just a pipe.