Working with STL meshes / creating a plug-dowel joint

Hey Rhinos,

First ever question from a relative newbie here. apologies if this has been addressed elsewhere. I couldn’t find much on this, therefore the post.

My question is about working with a highly detailed STL mesh. It is a model based on a classical sculpture. My plan is to print this form out with the BigRep One printer. To save on material, I’m going to print out the model in separate slices, to minimise support material (total height will be around 165cm).

My design problem: rather than simply gluing together the joints with superglue or similar (working with PVA Filament) I’d like to keep the form flexible and capable of being taken apart / easily transported. To do this I thought it might be possible to use a peg/dowel system which would connect the pieces together.

I haven’t figured out how to work with STL meshes in Rhino 5 for Mac yet. I’ve done some tutorials, and I’m getting a sense of how to work with surfaces. Is there a tutorial you would recommend or some easy way of editing meshes in Rhino 5?

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer.


Hi Meyrick - If it is really simple, like pegs and holes, you can probably get away with primitives - Cylinder for instance, to create the added parts, But combining them with the parent mesh may or may not turn out to be a chore. Basically I think, you’d make your splitting planes with the pegs sticking out on one side and MeshBooleanSplit the overall mesh with these.

After MeshBooleanSplit:

The problems may arise in the mesh Boolean part- these are not always ultra reliable in Rhino… start by making sure the mesh is clean -Check will tell you about some potential problems (not uncommon with scans)


hi Pascal,

thanks for the quick response - I didn’t realise just how easy it is working with mesh planes and boolean split and divide. been cutting up a storm since then and everything is working out great. thanks a lot for pointing me in the right direction!


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