Extracting edges of STL model and projecting to plane...
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    Default Extracting edges of STL model and projecting to plane...

    Any body know of software to do this, preferably free or open source?

    There is a youtube about converting stl's to solids using Fusion 360. That would do it after projecting the solid to a plane. Problem is the video is using the old Fusion format making it hard to follow since some features are renamed or different.

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    Can you do it in onshape?

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    Not free but 40 sessions that can be 24 hrs will get it done. CamBam. About as simple but fairly capable CAM you will find.

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    viacad does it. They give you a free 30 day trial with no limits. You can also "explode" features or edges off models and project them to your work plane.

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    Solidworks can solidify STL files and then you could use either and intersection curve or “convert entities” on a suitable sketch plane.

    I’d be surprised if Spaceclaim couldn’t do it but I’m not more than marginally proficient.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, my customer/friend found another solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions, my customer/friend found another solution.
    And what was the solution. That way we can check it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    And what was the solution. That way we can check it out.
    Really simple solution. Import the stl file into FreeCAD, then export as a PDF. The PDF is scalable in Acrobat Reader which was a requirement. All free.

    I don't know about the accuracy, but this appears to be within the needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Really simple solution. Import the stl file into FreeCAD, then export as a PDF. The PDF is scalable in Acrobat Reader which was a requirement. All free.

    I don't know about the accuracy, but this appears to be within the needs.
    So all that was needed was a 2D document of the stl.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    So all that was needed was a 2D document of the stl.?
    Yes, that's what it turns out.

    Here's the whole story.... I use photogrammetry for work at times. Mostly related to work I do for artists and architectural restoration. This is not my usual type work, it does provide a nice break from more intense close tolerance work that's been my bread and butter. A non-CAD individual expressed interest in the photogrammetric process. For his needs he needed an outline or edge of the object in his .stl files exported from the photogrammetric software. That was the reason for my initial question, I wanted to give him a way to get the outline without monetary outlay.

    This exercise was an education for me. I didn't realize none of my usual three CAD programs couldn't do the simple projection from a mesh file. But then, I've never had the need to do it. I can machine directly from the .stl model.

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    Unigraphics/NX will do it, it will project curves onto compound surfaces, offset curves on compound surfaces, split surfaces with those curves etc. The curves will need to be extracted or sectioned if starting with an STL file; sometimes that's the pain, since the STL files are not solids or surfaces. The STL files will create accurate cross-section outlines through any plane specified, so I've created numerous solid files by taking multiple sections of STL files. If it's not a time-consuming project, feel free to PM me and I'll give it a try (can export STEP, parasolid, dxf, iges etc).

    PDF's are vector files, so can be imported into Corel, etc, stripped of all the text and dimensions and such, export the iso views as DXF into NX and create solids from PDF drawing views.

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    Thanx for the answer and explanation.

    still leave me more questions or his stl, was it a scan or an stl from the web or one that was created by them?

    cause alot of different ways to skin the .....................

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    Thanx for the answer and explanation.

    still leave me more questions or his stl, was it a scan or an stl from the web or one that was created by them?

    cause alot of different ways to skin the .....................
    I don't know that an stl has actually been created yet by the person (I create them for my work). I told the individual about the photogrammetric software that would create and export an stl from a series of digital photos of an object. He then wanted to know how that stl could be converted into a scalable 2D outline (edge file) to print on paper. As I said I believe the person is not CAD proficient and probably wouldn't want to spend money on the solution or make it a research project.

    It never occurred to me initially that a PDF would be sufficient. In 35 years CNC'ing there's never been much need to play with stl's or PDF's. Lately due to learning what photogrammetry can do I've been working with mesh files, stl's and obj's, to do 3D printing and machining. There're several open-source softwares to manipulate stl's to prepare them for 3D printing in ways my various CAD software don't do easily. For 4th axis machining I use Bobcad because it's so fast and easy for me, but Bobcad can't do much in modifying stl's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzert View Post
    I’d be surprised if Spaceclaim couldn’t do it but I’m not more than marginally proficient.
    Have looked at spaceclaim myself, video makes it look easy but not tried it yet

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    There's no shortage of programs that'll do the edge projection...... Problem is, a number of them cost big dollars. Autodesk had a few that were free, now when you go to the download link you find it's no longer free. I'll bet that's what will eventually happen with Fusion.


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