STL Export - fix the models?


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I'm using the new Home Designer Pro 2015 and love the fact that you can export STLs now. I can play with things in 3d modeling programs and 3d print a miniature version of my house.


Unfortunately the models output by Home Designer seem to be badly damaged. They are full of non-manifold (self-intersecting) shapes, faces without width, etc. None of the programs I have tried can effectively deal with these models. They either can't handle the errors, can't handle the complexity (300k faces), or can't fix the problems and effectively use/print the model.


Does anybody have recommendations for software that can fix these models so that they are well behaved (closed solid non-self-intersecting objects)? Or is there a way to make Home Designer output better models?

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In twenty years of constant use, I have never been asked to make a model. I have done countless renderings, Construction documentation sets and I have worked with companies that use Chief Architect Premier plan files to create the structural members of homes using an on-site computer-driven device that made actual studs and roof panels on site from my virtual models, then on-site workers then juse put them together under supervision.

My advice is to contact Chief Architect Tech Support where it is their business to know what can be known of that feature and they are most likely to be able to help with useful advice for that precise issue/endeavor.


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Wow David, that's neat that they could build a real house straight from the model.


I don't need to make a model for the purpose of actually building a house, I'm years away from any actual building projects. I want to 3d print a model so my wife and I can visualize the space better, play with furniture organization, etc.


The main reason my wife let me upgrade from 2012 Architectural was the STL export. But I have no idea what the purpose of STL export is if it doesn't produce valid models that can be printed.


I'll take it up with tech support, but I imagine they won't do anything about it because creating solid well behaved models is a lot more difficult.


So the question remains open if anybody else knows of any software that could fix up the STL after export, though I expect I might have more luck asking on a 3d printing forum.

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  • Solution

In case anybody else runs into this and searches the forums, I was able to find some software that helped.


The pay version of netfabb is able to automatically repair the model into something usable. That version is quite expensive, but you can use the automatic model repair tool in the cloud here for free:


After uploading my STL there and downloading the fixed version, it still looked like the house but other software was willing to work with it. Blender was willing to do boolean operations and such. In my case I needed to slice my model so that I can print it in pieces.


The model was still quite usable for Makerware to slice. It looked fine when imported, but resulted in weird shapes in what would be built. The free version of netfabb basic was able to fix this and make it 100% printable.


Note that for commercial use the netfabb software and online service is not free.

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  • 10 months later...

I was keen to know what the current version of HDPro does with stl files?

Has the issue been fixed in the current version of HDPro.

Was it solved and/or improved following your problems?


As for providing clients with models - I have historically built simple models at small scale (in balsa or cardboard) to demonstrate massing concepts to client or local governing and planning departments. ( Now mandatory on some projects in Aust.) So .stl files have always interested me with the affordability of 3D printers currently.


The other feature in HDPro I  notice is the Print Model - But as I only have a trial version of the software - Do you know if this process is as good as it holds promise too?

There are conflicting references to wether it is part of HDPro or not included in HDPro - so again I cannot check the feature.


All very positive strategies to providing clear and user-friendly operations.

Most of my clients relish a small scale model.

If I can find if this is resolved - it would help.


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Print Model does work , though I am not that conversant with it as I neither use it or STL printing , I usually send Jpegs or walkthrough movies to Clients , the other Option with Chief ( not sure if it works for HD Titles) is to have the Client download the Chief Viewer , so they cant look at your model directly.


only other time Print Model has come up was last Oct here

though there maybe Post on the legacy Forum too  (if you have access?)


Not sure if RoomPlanner can look at Chief/HD Files or just export them to Chief/HD Titles , it is Ipad/iphone only at the moment though (android coming)

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