This short article will include a few ideas and tips on how to use the commercial (1500 Euros) Netfabb Professional to create 3D printable objects. This software mainly targets file review, file fixing, mesh optimisation, build setup, etc. In addition it includes some simple modelling tools that are easy to use for beginners. Educational users can negotiate prices with Netfabb, including classroom licenses. A cheaper variant is called netfabb Private and it also includes most of the features discussed here.
Many 3D formats and slice formats are supported, e.g. STL, X3D, OBJ, 2DS, PLY, VRML, etc. and SLI, CLI, PNG, BMP, etc.
2 Mesh merging
As shown in the Netfabb Studio tutorial, Netfabb can be used to create mashups, i.e. combine two or more models. One difference between the free Basic version and commercial versions like the netfabb Professional is that the latter can mesh merge, i.e. one can select several parts and then save these as a single STL model (Part Menu).
- Import STL models
- Scale / rotate / position
- Repair parts
- Menu Part ->
With the free Basic version one can
- repair and position models (called parts in netfabb)
- export each part as STL
- Mesh merge with the free Meshlab program.
3 Constructive solid geometry
Netfabb Pro and Personal implement constructive solid geometry (GSG): On can select two parts, then add, subtract or intersect these two. Since Netfabb does have a model library with primitives, it is quite easy and fun to create models made out of simple objects by combining the latter in creative ways.
Most 3D CAD programs can do CSG, but Netfabb is a bit easier to learn...
4 Surface and 3D Extrusion
After clicking on the repair button (red cross), one can do advanced mesh editing. Right click on
- Select the part and click the red cross (repair) button
- Right-click on the part and select Extrude Surfaces. Alternatively it should be shown in the Mesh menu or the toolbar
- Select the triangles or surfaces you want to move and activate the function Extrude Surfaces.
You can select either simple extrude or 3D extrude. There are several operations one can do and requires some reading, for example read
- Extrude Surfaces (Netfabb Wiki)
- Netfabb Studio Tutorial - Extrude Surfaces (Netfabb Wiki, maybe outdated)