3D Genius

By September 13, 2013 4 Comments

Trimming objects with NetFabb Studio Basic


We’re very taken with bratskbars‘ range of three-dimensional decorative flourishes, as published on Thingiverse. You can see here how well it looks atop this antique grandfather clock.

But when we came to print it out, we found there was an error in the design: the base, which should have been flat, had a lump on it. This meant that while the lump printed just fine, the rest of the design was trying to print in thin air – and so we faced the usual problem of having cascading filament pouring out of the nozzle without sticking.

The solution was to trim the base to remove the bottom lump. Here’s how to do that using NetFabb Studio Basic.

1. Open the stl file

You’ll need to use the Add button to place the object on the bed. It will default to a corner position; simply drag it more to the middle for better access:




2. Zoom right in

You need a close-up view, so click the button showing three balls on the menu bar to zoom to the current object. The view will be enlarged so that this fits the screen:



3. Change the viewpoint

The icons at the top left let you view the object from different set angles. Click the one with the front face highlighted in order to view it directly from the front. Now, you can see the offending lump at the base: drag the magnifying glass icon to enlarge it for a better view. But you still cant see it that clearly:



4. Try a different view

Try different views of the object until you can see the offending section more clearly. In this case, a side view gives a much better idea of what’s going on:



5. Set the cut

In order to trim the base off, you want to set a cut in the Z axis. Drag the slider in the Cuts section, or type in a number. I found that trimming a bit of the object itself, as well as the lump, helped to ensure the base would be flat:



6. Click the Cut button

Click the button marked Execute Cut and you’ll see a screen like this. Leave the Cutting Options settings as they are for this simple cut, and then click Cut on here as well:



7. The cut object

Once the cut has been made, the object will be deselected, so it’s shown in grey rather than green. You may well see a warning triangle, which indicates that the object is no longer watertight – but this can be fixed later:



8. Select the piece to cut

Now that the object has been divided into two, you’ll see it’s now listed twice in the Parts list, first as (Cut 1) and second as (Cut 2).  Next, you need to tell NetFabb which one to remove. Click on it, and it will turn green; then double-click the X in a circle next to the object’s name (it will be highlighted in the Parts list) to delete it:


9. Fix the part

Click the red cross icon in the menu bar to fix the remaining part. Now, the offending area will have been removed and you’re ready to go:



If you wish, you can continue in NetFabb to slice and prepare the model for printing. We found, however, that NetFabb had difficulty with filament retraction, which meant a lot of strings on the model that had to be manually removed after printing. Until a fix is found, a better solution might be to export the model as an STL file and slice it in another program.

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Posted in: Printing Tips, Technique

4 Comments on "Trimming objects with NetFabb Studio Basic"

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  1. Marcelo says:

    This is also a good technique for splitting an object that won’t fit in the platform into multiple parts.

  2. DscheyH says:

    TIPP to use CURA for cutting of bottom parts:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with Netfabb. Indeed a very good tool and as also mentioned by Marcelo perfect for cutting an object into various pieces.

    However, if you just want to cut the bottom of an object there is a much more easier way when you are using Cura on your Ultimaker.

    In the “full settings mode” go to the “advanced” tab, then enter in the field “Cut off bottom (mm)” a value which will cause the object to sink down the print platform. Every part above the platform will be printed, any part below will not be printed.

    • Steve Caplin says:

      Yes – I see that’s now been incorporated into the latest version of Cura. But it’s a little imprecise: unlike in NetFabb, you can’t easily see where to make the cut.

  3. Chris O says:

    Loved this article! I must say that I’ve been using netfabb for months now to repair my stl’s and convert files from stl to obj format, but I never even realized there was a cut function. I followed the directions above and it worked great! Keep of the good work, Steve.

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