Repair Your File for 3D Printing

Professional 3D printers, like any other type of 3D printers, need a 3D file to create an object - and it is important to verify that the file does not have any errors that would render it non-printable. To help you optimize your 3D files and CAD files for a print, Sculpteo has developped multiple algorithms that will automatically repair your file as soon as it is uploaded to the site. We are the sole 3D printing company to offer these particular services for your rapid prototyping needs.

On this page you will find information summarizing the principle causes of non-printable files. This problem include discrepencies in the structure of your 3D file (inversed polygons, holes, single stops, cantilevered aspects, etc.) as they would otherwise translate to a physical object. Though sometimes the issue is simply a matter of model size - on this page you'll find all the information you'll find all that information and more. We've split it up into the following categories:

Repair your file with Sculpteo's online repairing tools

When a non-pritable file is uploaded to our site, it is automatically analyzed and corrected by our repair algorithms. There are few problems which our algorithms are not able to repair. That being said our reparations may drastically alter your model, depending on the severity of your file's errors. However when a file is repaired, we also offer different algorithmic reparations, giving you a choice of how your file will be repaired.

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Diagnose your 3D file

You are able to access the 3D file diagnostics in the top right portion of your screen. The diagnostic will point out the errors in your 3D file and will show you exactly where those problems arise in the 3D viewer. The file then updates according to the repair options you choose. Choosing "None" in the drop-down menu will show your original file and you will be able to visualize each of the errors detected by our software.

The diagnostic check will show the following errors:

  • Edge Stops (surfaces that do not contribute to the border of a volume)
  • Singular sides and points (non-manifold)
  • Intersecting Faces (auto-intersections)
  • Inverted Faces (orientation)

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automatic repair surface orientation

surface orientation

Repair your 3D file

If our auto repair function alters your 3D file significantly or does not result in a fully corrected version, you will be redirected to our repair page. If you are not satisfied with the repairs, you can change your 3D file and upload it again or try other methods of correction directly on our website. To do this, simply select one of the remedies proposed in this drop below the 3D viewer menu and choose the one that suits you best. Once the repair is chosen, you can click "Continue".

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The diagnostic check will show the following errors. To know more, you can check our paragraph explaining how to correct 3D file manually for 3D printing.

  • Automatic : Optimized for most file types
  • Plugging : Good for CAD models
  • Reconstruction : Good for architecture models
  • Restrained reconstruction : Good for CAD and architecture models
  • Visible reconstruction : Good for miniatures or small non-mechanical objects"
  • Hybrid Reconstruction : Good for models made of multiple parts

Correct your 3D file manually

Verify the structure of a 3D File

When you transfer your 3D file on our site some geometric inconsistencies may prevent our printers from understanding it. The most common problem we run in to is that your file does not consist of a single, solid, and uniform object. Our printer is then unable to determine the interior and exterior of the model and will render the file 'Not Orientable'.

The majority 3D modeling programs available today are not created specifically for 3D printing; they often include animation and visual rendering tools. Animation and visual renderings do not require solid/closed objects in order to render (the priority is instead placed on the model's surface), however a file destined for a 3D print requires more than a simple surface - a 3D print requires volume. Our online repair tools (which will launch automatically if a corrupted file is uploaded) can fix most of the problems within a file, but in order to maintain complete control over your model's conception, it's important to understand how to repair your file manually. Below you'll find general information on repairing your file.

For information on correcting a file in a specific program, we invite you visit our tutorials which explain how to prepare your file for a 3D print in various programs.

Conceive a closed 3D model with voluminious surfaces

To ensure that your 3D model is closed or "watertight", you must verify that the model's geometry does not contain surfaces which do not bound a volume. To reiterate: a surface without a thickness or which does not contribute to a volume cannot be 3D printed. This problem can be corrected by either deleting the object or giving the surface(s) volume.

In other cases, there may be small holes which prevent volume from being "watertight". Most 3D modeling programs have a 'Fill' tool which can quickly remedy the problem.

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Correct non-manifold edges and singular points

During the conception of your 3D file, certain operations may create unattached, ambiguous surfaces which do not connect. Other operations may separate surfaces, creating singular point of connection. These singularities prevent our online tools from determining the volume of the model.

To define a clear volume, each side must be connecting two and only two adjacent faces. Similarly, singular points must arrive at the collection of multiple faces. If two faces share only one point (as shown in the image below), the model is considered "non-manifold" and will not be able to be printed.

These singularities can be eliminated by either disconnecting the non-manifold surface and giving it volume, or by deleting it completely.

singular point
Delete auto-intersections

As you create your 3D model, there may be a point when two or more volumes cut into each other. These intersections create an ambiguous model with uninterpretable volumes. 3D Modeling softwares often have a function that can merge these elements, rendering a singlular object - for specifics in a particular program, see our tutorials on modeling a 3D printable file. auto-intersections

Correctly orient your model's surfaces

In most 3D modeling softwares, surfaces are oriented with an inside and an outside to help determine the model's volume. If one of the faces of an object is oriented in the wrong direction, it's volume may indeterminable by our online software. It is important to reassure that each face is oriented in the correct direction in order to avoid that type of problem.

orientation of surfaces

Check that your object is physically feasible

When you design a file for 3D printing, you must also read and follow the design guidelines of the material you're planning to print with, our 3D printed polyamide is our most common option. Each material has its own restrictions when creating a file. For example, your plastic 3D prints must have a minimum thickness of 0.8 to 1 mm depending on the particularities of the design. It is also important to note that unlike your 3D file, your print will be a physical object, and will be constrained by the known physics of our universe. You must check and ensure that your 3D file is able to support the weight of its own cantilevers and that the object's walls are thick enough to support themselves.

Check the format and size of your 3D file

In order to upload your 3D file to our online 3D printing service, you ought to double check that it is not too large and it is exported in one of the 25 filetypes our programs are able to interpret. For more information on accepted filetypes and exporting a file, visit our page on exporting a file for 3D printing.

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