MeshLab Saves the Day

141129 Meshlab ReductionI’m on a roll against huge STL file sizes! You can look back at some of the past story here, but in summary I have a complex section of a design that started off being a collection of separate truncated octahedron parts. When saved as an STL, the file size was 259MB, which for something only the size of an Up! Plus 2 print plate, was pretty ridiculous.

It took me a lot of mucking around but eventually I reduced the STL file size by merging all those separate parts to form a single solid within Solidworks. That’s the 104MB pictured above.

Now I have just discovered the freely available MeshLab software, which in a matter of seconds has simplified the mesh to half the file size, without compromising quality. Now if you’re a 3D printing nerd like me, that’s cool! I’m sure with tweaking this could be further reduced, which is important since the part I’ve been testing is only a portion of a larger product, and I need it to be less than 100MB for uploading to i.Materialise in the future.

Looks like MeshLab does a whole range of other things like repairing meshes and cleaning up textures, so if you’re slow like I obviously am, download MeshLab now!

– Posted by James Novak

5 thoughts on “MeshLab Saves the Day

  1. If you’re into some serious STL fiddling check GeoMagic Studio. I’m in no way affiliated and it’s not ‘free’ but their mesh cleaning/decimation/smoothing functionality is splendiferous :). Especially if you’re trying to spruce up STL surfaces generated by surface extraction algorithms there’s no better IMHO


    • Great tip @somada141, up until now I’ve always been able to get my files working fine straight out of CAD, it’s only these more complex CAD models that are starting to cause problems. Great to know there’s a few options out there to investigate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Simple Facets in CAD | edditive blog

  3. Pingback: Merging STL Files | edditive blog

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