Software Review: Meshmixer

Software Review: Meshmixer

In this article we introduce the Meshmixer software. Meshmixer serves as a tool to check models for printability and orientation in the room. The viewing and modification of models makes sense especially when UV DLP and DUP 3D printers are used and models have to be reworked accordingly.

Meshmixer Overview

Supported operating systems: Windows, Mac (Linux limited usable via WINE)

Once started as a simple tool for 3D collages, Meshmixer has developed in recent years into the universal software for 3D print preparation. The tool is not specifically or exclusively intended for .stl file types or 3D printing.
As a result, it enables users to perform additional operations on the model, such as creating and sculpting 3D objects.


Editing STL Files with Meshmixer

Shown above using the example of the DruckWege calibration model or below using the example of a sphere.


In order to edit .stl files with the Meshmixer, you have to import them and then export the result again.

Very helpful for a quick format adjustment is that you can also make a .stl from a .obj file. The program can recognize and change the wall thickness of an object. If a model has only one 2D wall, Meshmixer will tell you that the model is not printable.

In general, the program is very precise as far as the representation of the models is concerned. When editing .stl files it can also happen that the mesh, the basic structure of the model, is faulty and is not sliceable correctly. Such errors can be easily detected with Meshmixer.

However, the analysis tool also detects errors that are not actually there and suggests to eliminate a part of the model.
Although, one cannot blindly trust the program, but in most cases it is successful and easy to use. The Plane Cut is the most used tool in our company. It can be used to cut models, or .stl files, which actually consist of several parts, into their individual parts again.

Object Hollowing of 3D Models

The ability to hollow and drain models for SLA printing (even plugs for the resulting holes are created) can make some models printable that otherwise do not adhere to the baseplate.

Models that are big in terms of polygon amount/file size for the actual slicers can be adjusted manually in Meshmixer, so that the number of polygons decreases dramatically. Nanodlps and Co, which work on embedded processors, can then process the models more easily.


Overhangs are marked in red, but you also have to play with perspective, otherwise you can easily overlook them. One of Meshmixer’s strengths is the processing of support structures. There is hardly another program that makes setting and editing so easy as in Meshmixer.

Conclusion

As a conclusion one can say that Meshmixer cannot offer slicing for the respective target printer, but the editing and repair of models are very extensive and user-friendly.

Advantages

  • Easy to use
  • Can still machine large models well (>100mb)
  • Very good support structure processing
  • Hollowing works very reliably

Disadvantages:

  • Cannot create GCODES for the common SLA 3D printers
  • Requires a not too old and not too new graphics card
  • Works best on Windows

DruckWege Resins 

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