[Chimera-users] control of scale in STL output files

Tom Goddard goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu
Wed Nov 18 10:36:22 PST 2009

Hi Jonathan,

  The Chimera exported STL coordinates will have units of Angstroms 
since those are the units of the PDB file.  So the STL produced by 
exporting the two chains to separate files will have matching scale.  
You have to be sure when you send the print job to the printer that you 
specify the same scale factor.  If you are using a uPrint 3-d printer it 
has a field in the print job setup software to specify a scale.

  There have been problems with molecular model ball and stick / ribbon 
depictions exported as STL not working correctly on the uPrint printer.  
The model falls apart I think.  Greg Couch on the Chimera team knows 
more about this including the current status.  Exported surfaces have 
printed without any problems.

  Here is a description and examples of plastic models we printed using 




-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Chimera-users] control of scale in STL output files
From: Jonathan Schaefer
To: chimera-users
Date: 11/18/09 9:02 AM
> Hi-
> I've got a question about controlling the scale of protein models in 
> .stl files generated by Chimera under File/Export Scene in the GUI.
> I'm trying to print a 3D model of two interacting proteins with a 
> rapid prototyping machine that takes .stl files as input.  The two 
> proteins are co-crystalized and contained in one .pdb file (1nbf).  I 
> want the two proteins to be printed at the same scale so that I could 
> fit them together like legos.  Can I achieve this by getting a scale 
> set, then showing just the first chain and exporting the data to a 
> .stl file, followed by showing just the other chain and exporting the 
> data to a second .stl file?
> I'm a novice to Chimera, so I might be missing something obvious.  Any 
> help you offer will be appreciated.
> Jonathan Schaefer
> Morgan Lab

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