Preparing Designs for Upload

We’ve put together 5 quick steps to help you prepare your designs for upload!

To get started you’ll need to download two free programs:

  1. Meshlab — Allows you to open file types such as .X3D, .WRL OR .DAE and convert them to an .STL file.
  2. Netfabb — Identifies errors in your mesh and analyzes, scales, measures and repairs your design.
  3. Microsoft 3D Model Repair (Cloud Repair) — Like a spellchecker, this service will save you time by taking care of the many common errors in 3D models that otherwise would require manual repair by a dedicated designer.

Step One: Convert Files to .STL

In order to upload files to Pinshape, they must be in .STL or .OBJ file format (but they can be inside a .zip if you want). This means that you need to covert any other file formats before uploading your files to Pinshape.

To convert your file to .STL:

  1. Open Meshlab
  2. Import the file that you want to convert: “File” → Select File → “Import”
  3. Export your file in the new format: “File” → “Export Mesh As...” → Select .STL File Format → Select File Destination → “Save”

Now, you have an .STL file that is ready to be screened for errors!

Step Two: Fix File Errors

In order to upload to Pinshape, your design should follow some basic requirements:

  • Triangles: Less than 1,000,000.
  • Holes Border Edges, Invalid Orientations: Equal to 0.
  • Volume: Must be positive.
  • Surface: Closed and orientale.
  • Normals: Must all be pointed in the right direction. Cannot be inverted.

Netfabb is a good tool to use to identify and repair any of these errors. To get started:

  1. Open Netfabb Basic.
  2. Enter your email address to get a registration key or wait ten seconds and click “Later.”
  3. Click “Project” → “Open” → Select your .STL file.

Now, it’s time to repair your design.

Step Three: Analyze and Repair

Here are some common tools in Netfabb, we’ll be using “Analyze” and “Repair”:

toolbar explained

In Netfabb, click “Analyze” to determine if your design has any holes, boundary edges, flipped triangles or problem edges within your design.

Once you’ve identified the design errors, click the “Repair” button to open the repair interface.

settings page

Note: The repair interface will appear on the right hand side and will look similar to this. As you can see there is one hole and four border edges.

Select the “Auto-Update” checkbox within the repair interface to allow Netfabb to adjust these errors. Next, click ‘Automatic Repair’ in the bottom left-hand corner of the repair interface. A box will appear in the middle of your screen.

automatic repaid

Select the “Default Repair” option and then click “Execute”.

Your repair interface should reflect the fixes made to the design.

even more settings

Note: Notice that there are no longer any border edges or holes!

Click “Apply Repair” to save the changes and replace the old shape with the new repaired version of the file.

Step Four: Check for Inverted Parts

You might notice that a portion of your design is red. This means that this section of your design is inverted or flipped. To fix this, click “Part” → “Invert Part” → “Yes.”

Step Five: Save the Design

To save your design as an .STL file in Netfabb click “Part” → “Export Part” → “As .STL (binary)”


Congratulations! You should have an error free .STL file, ready for upload to Pinshape.

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