Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3D Printing from Rhino

Last week, we wrote about alternative workflows from Revit to 3D printing. I ended the blog with this statement … Some use Rhino in their workflow, which has the added benefit of exporting a ZPR file directly into ZPrint.

Let’s dive into the Rhino workflow a bit deeper. For those of you who use Rhino, you know that the software offers several Export options. This is best illustrated with an example. Here is a model for an organic sports stadium, complete with surrounding site, provided by T-Splines of Provo, Utah.

With one menu pick, we can select the entire model for Export (note all the options):
About two-thirds of the way down the list, note the Z Corp. (.zpr) option. ZPR is a file format developed by Z Corp. which not only includes the polygon mesh geometry but also the color and texture information in the CAD model.

When we open the ZPR file directly in ZPrint, we see this (note the retention of color information):

This file was checked in ZEdit Pro to ensure a water-tight model, and then printed on a high def color ZPrinter® model 650. Here is a photo of the 3D printed model:
For reference, this model took about 5 hours to print with a material cost of approx $300.

Our experience with the Rhino ZPR export has been very positive. Please share your experience.