Help with importing for 3d printing

Hi Everyone,

Can someone help me with this import please. When I import the file I get missing pieces on some of the rounded edges, I have neve learned how to fix these edges when doing imports. This piece I really need to fit onto another piece which I had no issues when importing. Can someone show me how to fix this issue so whenever it occurs again I will know what to do.Drag_Chain_Link_Latch.stl (84.8 KB)

Appreciate the help.

Right-click > Edit Component


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No way!!. I was deleting pieces in the curve and trying to re-create them and everything got messed up. You just joined the piece from the half line and that fixed it. You guys amaze me all the time. Most of the time when i deal with imports like this I just give up, but since I really need this drag chain to work I had to stick with it.

Thanks again for the help…

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FWIW, there are some oddities in your model. If this was something I had to do I would reduce the imported .stl to the major side face and use Push/Pull to make it 3D again. This would give you a cleaner object with fewer entities.

The imported .stl is at the bottom here. My version of it is in the middle.

How do you have your settings when importing? I am using cleanup after I import and a lot of what I am seeing on yours is not on mine.

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This is even easier, I never thought of that.

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I often find it’s much easier and more straightforward to reduce the import as above or even just use it as a guide and model it myself. Usually it’s less work and I get a better end product than cleaning the import.

You should import at a bigger scale (e.g. meters) to avoid the small faces problem (missing faces) and scale down at the end.

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I forgot to mention this but I imported the .stl with units set to meters. Whether printing in millimeters or inches I generally do all modeling for 3D printing with units set to meters. Export the new .stl with units set to Model Units. Then import into the slicer in either mm or inches as appropriate. I don’t know what units your latch is supposed to be in but…

As it is in the model.

Imported into the slicer in millimeters. Dimensions on the right.

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I will definitely have to remember this for next time.

Thanks again guys…

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Guys, I tried most of the day messing with importing and editing some stl files and I must say I still can’t get it to work. I really like how it imports when doing meters, all the messed up edges seem to be gone. But when I export it to an stl file using Model Units (which is default) that seems to work okay. The issue is when I try to import it into the slicer its about 100x the size and it cannot fit on the build plate.

I looked at the file again to see if I can change it to millimeters while editing in Sketchup but it shows the measurements as 10000.00 mm etc. Maybe someone can point out how they are doing this.

Here are my steps.

  1. Import into Sketchup, options set to Meters.
  2. If I do a dimension on the file I get a huge number.
  3. Export to 3D file, Options->Stl units->Model Units
  4. Import into slicer (cura or simpligy3d) and error (part exceeds dimensions of table)

Not sure how to go about getting this correct but I am failing big time.

When importing to the slicer, you must set the unit to the actual unit that a “meter” in your model stands for.

Easiest way to work it out for your printer.
Make a 1m cube.
Export it to stl and set the units of the export to cm. The export units are found by clicking the Options button on the export dialog.
Open the stl in your printer software, if the model is the wrong size change the units up or down and export again.
My personal settings are set so that if I model within a 2m cube and export in cm it comes in as the correct mm in my printer. I find this works best for me as I can model at large scale if needed to avoid any tiny face issues and resize to fit my 2m cube and save and export.
Basically use the 1m cube to find what export setting will give you correct size in your printer.

Thanks guys, let me give this a shot.

Finally got it. I never noticed that option in the slicer to change to mm when importing.

Appreciate the help as always…

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What program are you using to make the models in the first place?
When I bring over models I’ve made in Tinkercad, no matter how simple and straightforward the model is, it gets imported as an utter mess. What should be a straightforward, no-frills cylinder winds up looking like a crushed paper towel roll that someone’s tried to reshape back to normal. What should be a flat surface is actually a little bit skewed. The list goes on. There’s just something nutty in how Tinkercad writes its STL files, basically favoring speed over fidelity, likely since they expect people will go straight to their slicer program (which is a little more forgiving when it comes to lost details).
Meanwhile, someone gave me a model they made in Inventor and the geometry was a thing of beauty. There were no gaps, all the curves were evenly-spaced out, flat surfaces were actually flat… it moved me to tears.
If you’re importing models other people have made from someplace like Thingiverse, that’s a bit of a crapshoot. OpenSCAD models tend to look pretty good, since the setup is more barebones sort of affair.

Why would you make a model in Tinkercad and then import in SketchUp? You could model it in Sketchup…

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I am using Sketchup pretty much for anything that I have to draw or import for printing. I have yet to learn a cad program since I am starting to get into a desktop cnc right now but I haven’t had the time yet…

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CNC! That’s a whole different ballgame.
There are some similarities but don’t go mixing the two up.

Wait, if you’re using Sketchup, you don’t need to import the model, at least not in STL format.
How about this: was the chainlink latch originally made in SketchUp or another program before exported to STL?

The point would be, what is the final product and what is the staring point.
Many a time we have worked through a labyrinth here when the answer was point to point.

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