How to repair a 3D CAD file?

How to repair a 3D CAD file?

In the previous article we talked about the dire necessity of making your 3D CAD file error-free before making the file go through the 3D printer. Understanding the situation, we should now focus on the process of repairing a 3D CAD file which has various lacunae. Different tools and algorithms are available in the market, which can aid you in correcting the errors in your CAD file. If you are worried that you won’t be able to detect the error, then these programs are here for your rescue. Softwares like MeshLab, Netfabb Basic etc. firstly check your files for errors, repair them, and make them eligible for the 3D Printing process. While correcting these files in various ways, one will come across various options among which some will suit the requirement while others won’t. Due to the flexibility of the softwares with wide range of tools, you can repair different models with different tools.

Let us discuss few of these ways which are helpful in repairing a 3D CAD file.

  1. MeshLab:

    Different file formats can be accessed and exported in MeshLab, which is absolutely free. Basically, if you have the wrong file format for 3D Printing, you can cross-check the file format Chizel’s online 3D Printing platform — COCO accepts. MeshLab also helps to convert the CAD files in desired file fromat. Some of the varied file formats supported are 3ds, ply, obj, pts, apts, x3vd, x3d, stl, v3d, etc.

    Sometimes, the files to be uploaded should have a file size of less than 50 MB and should consist of not more than 1,000,000 polygons. If you face a situation where your file properties do not meet the criteria, MeshLab comes in handy. Here, you have an option of doing polygon reduction which brings the required changes in the model’s surfaces and also the size of the file.

    This software can be easily run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android.

  2. Meshmixer:
    In Meshmixer, we can repair desired models by mostly two ways. The first way is to go to the option ‘Analysis’ and then select ‘Inspector’. Meshmixer shows a series of colored markers which will point to various mistakes in the file. Blue marker indicates the presence of holes in the model. This hole can be filled by three methods as mentioned in the drop-down menu such as Minimal Fill, Flat Fill, Smooth Fill. The magenta marker shows disconnected or minute parts of the model, which will get deleted afterwards. Red marker displays non-manifold geometry existing in the model. There is an option of Auto-Repair All, where Meshmixer tries to fix all the errors. Although the process seems effective, this correction method is not successful sometimes. Now, let us talk about another option ‘Make Solid’, present in Meshmixer. Although this comes quite handy, it has its own disadvantages. Firstly, this completely calculates all the triangles again, irrespective of the faulty or the correct ones. Although this acts as a very effective way to repair the problems, this whole procedure might lead to increase in the file size or degradation in the quality of the model. You can always click on ‘Update’ to look out for the changes made. Once done with the corrections to be made in the model, you can click on ‘Accept’. After this, you can ‘Export’ the files. During the last option, one should remember to choose *.stl file format always. This software is available for free for Windows, OS X, and Linux, and accepts various file formats such as amf, mix, obj, off, and stl.
  3. Netfabb:


    This is another such software which masters in editing the *.stl files. When an *.stl file is opened in this software, it shows all the basic mistakes and also provides you various other features such as Analysing the file, doing proper Scaling, making correct measurements, and finally repairing them.

    Due to the presence of more modernized and effective measuring tool Netfabb can competently analyse and measure the features of a model, before making it eligible to be produced. Various errors such as non-manifold edges, intersecting edges, and others can be easily and automatically fixed in Netfabb.

    Once the file is repaired in Netfabb, your 3D CAD model will be incorporated with excellent features such as zero holes, zero boundary edges, closed surfaces, proper orientation of the surfaces, and lot more.

  4. 3D Builder:

    3D Builder is meant for those who make use of Windows 10 or 8. An initiative by Microsoft, it has constituted 3D Builder as an efficient app for undergoing changes in the models meant for 3D Printing. Firstly, one has to choose the model units of the import. Then after the 3D Builder has checked your file thoroughly, it offers you a one-click solution to all the problems. By clicking on the repair box, the model can now be saved in *.stl format. There is much more to this software which can aid in the corrections of your 3D files, and many of them are free. Be it the repairing of the original 3D file or the *.stl file, just convert them to the proper file format, upload them and then the printing can be easily done.