[Chimera-users] Exporting .stl

Greg Couch gregc at cgl.ucsf.edu
Wed Dec 1 13:22:47 PST 2010

Forgot to reply to list as well.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: [Chimera-users] Exporting .stl
Date: 	Tue, 30 Nov 2010 13:33:23 -0800
From: 	Greg Couch <gregc at cgl.ucsf.edu>
To: 	Dennis Kolva <dk429 at cornell.edu>

On 11/25/2010 06:29 PM, Dennis Kolva wrote:
 > I have been using Chimera to export .stl files of proteins and RNA 
for 3D printing. The surface models print OK, but sticks or ribbons 
choke the printer. I looked close at the output meshes, and they have 
many extra surfaces which should be removed to make "legal" .stl format.
 > Is that portion of the code open source? I'd like to take a closer 
look and see if it's possible to fix. It would be much easier to rectify 
the bad surfaces upon creation, rather than trying to remove them by 
 > Thanks,
 > Dennis Kolva
 > Cornell U.

Presumably , you don't have a Z-Corp printer and their ZPrint software,
otherwise you would output VRML from chimera and have ZPrint do the
proper conversion to STL.

So yes, the source code is available at
http://plato.cgl.ucsf.edu/trac/chimera/browser/trunk/apps/x3d2/stl, and
we would welcome improvements. I believe that the problem is that
chimera does not output manifold geometry and that the X3D to STL
converter would need to perform CSG operations on all of the geometry,
especially the spheres and cylinders, to eliminate interpenetrating
surfaces. Another issue to consider is what to do about ribbons and
cylinders that are too thin for the printer you're using.

Feel free to contact me directly with questions about the code or use
the chimera developers mailing list, chimera-dev at cgl.ucsf.edu,

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