My university (University of North Carolina) provides access to several 3-D printers, which are driven by STL files, and I am exploring how to print CityEngine models. Does anyone have suggestions for a workflow which would allow one to export a CityEngine model and subsequently process the exported file in some other software and save the model in an STL file?
I've not much to say, but...
1. Objects to print must be closed solids (water-tight).
2. Someone here has been working on an STL export for CityEngine, but I'm not sure of the status.
3. You might export an OBJ file, and then convert that to STL in another program.
4. Make sure you put a base under your city of sufficient thickness.
5. Some 3D print shops will convert OBJ to STL for you, and deal with the machines. (they can be a pain if you haven't worked with them before)
Your reply is helpful. Regarding your third point, I just looked at the manual for Blender, and it does support importing OBJ files and exporting STL files. Therefore, theoretically, I should be able to print CityEngine models (and rely on university staff to deal with the printer).
I will say from personal experience, terrain data can pose an issue for CE models. One 3D printer told me when I got him to work with a simple model that everything was fine until he started working with a uneven terrain. Just keep this in mind that it can pose an issue.
That was once discussed - at least for CityEngine.
But this is a very very tricky thing to develop, so it will most probably not come in near future.
Your best bet is to write your code accordingly so you know your mesh is printable.
Head of 3D Technologies
Garsdale Design Limited
Also see the challenges to CE or ArcScene, on this matter.
However, my best guess is that Pro should work on it to directly support.
In practice, a workaround to 3D printing of Topo map available.
I followed the steps that you've suggested but my 3D print model (building) has some issues. I exported the building as obj and print it , got issues with roof; exported as obj and convert to stl in Meshlab and netfabb, got the similar issues; either parts of the roof or the wall are missing int the print while the model looks fine in CE and in FlashPrint (before pressing the print button).
I've got similar issues when I export the model as fbx into the UnrealEngine. roofts are not complete.
My guess is that Chris's first point might be the relevant issue here. The models need to be closed, and maybe something funny is going on with the roof to make it not a closed solid. When exporting a model as an OBJ in CityEngine, all faces that have the same material are considered part of the same object. Make sure that all the material.* properties for the relevant shapes are set to the same thing. This should be fine if you just make everything white, for example.