I’ve commented before on grouping “solids” and just positioning them where needed and not bothering to explode/intersect them prior to 3D printing. However, I have been doing this using an on-line vendor that accepts DAE files and I was never sure if the same logic would hold for STL files using a MakerBot 3D printer.
Here’s my test scenario … I created a torus using a couple of circles and the follow-me tool. I grouped this and then created a cylinder which I made into a component and then replicated it 11 times:
I exported the widget as a DAE file and then used MeshLab to import/export the widget into an STL file:
I don’t have a MakerBot, but I downloaded their Desktop application and used it to import the STL file:
Depending on the size, I sometimes get a warning and an offer to automatically convert it from inches to millimeters. Otherwise I can manually do this:
Preparing the model for printing gives this result:
Moving down through the layers shows the hexagonal cells that are used to fill the inside and save material:
It’s interesting to note that the DAE files are output in inches regardless of the units you are using for the model. In older versions, the export included a units specifier for inches, but 2015 Make doesn’t include one at all. This is possibly due to the fact that STL files are unitless as well. Since the MakerBot uses millimetric dimensions, it sees one inch as one millimeter … scaling the STL file by 25.4 fixes this.