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 Post subject: STL-Files automatic packing for 3D-print
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:38 pm
Location: Russia
Here is a paid product performs this function:
http://www.netfabb.com/automatic_packing.php
This program is very expensive, (

how to make it into SolidWorks?
or there may be a free equivalent?

are examples of his work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yQiCrpaLoE
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 Post subject: Re: STL-Files automatic packing for 3D-print
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Location: near Utrecht, Netherlands
I don't think there is free/open source software out there. The only ones who need this kind of software are very big 3D printing companies and puzzle makers.

I have made an attempt at writing my own software a while ago, but the results were not good enough: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=21658

Now when you posted this topic I was actually working on a second attempt. It uses a more sophisticated approach by voxtelizing each object and approximating the shape with a convex hull. Using 0.5mm cubed voxtels gives quite reasonable results and I've gotten my first usable packing from it. Unfortunately the algorithm/my implementation (which really just enumerates the positions and just successively places the parts wherever they fit) is really slow (30 minutes per puzzle) and it does not always work. But I am quite happy at this first result:
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But I figured out a method that would allow the software to place each part in a number of different orientations without taking a big performance hit. Once I implement this it may work much better.

But then, I am not sure if I can get it to work well enough. I think this model is "easy" because there are so many tiny parts. The algorithm places the largest parts first and then the smaller ones. Placing the large parts takes the most time and then the smallest ones can be inserted quite quickly so I'm kind of scared to apply this to a model with only large parts.

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 Post subject: Re: STL-Files automatic packing for 3D-print
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:52 am
I. Am. Amazed.
HOLY smokes, tom!!!!
I don't know what else to say. If there is one thing in my studies were I don't feel at home it's programming. I just don't understand it at all. And I feel really *at home* in everything, including math V.
I always thought this when I was reading about algos from people of this forum who can calcualte working mechanisms or find commutators and such.
Now I am posting this for the first time.

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