This tutorial shows you how to separate 1 STL file into multiple STL files for multi-color and multi-material 3D printing. We use Meshmixer (free software from Autodesk: http://meshmixer.com). This tutorial includes our tips on how to manage your workflow, minimize errors, and manage files.
We recommend watching the tutorial in its entirety, and referring to this Contents section when you are trying to remember how to do a specific action in Meshmixer.
0:00 - Context: about multi-color & multi-body printing, introducing Meshmixer
1:24 - Introducing Meshmixer's "Complex" feature
1:52 - Difference between Complex "fill regions" and "offset regions"
2:30 - Examples: fills and offsets
2:50 - Importing STLs into Meshmixer
3:13 - Edit → Separate Shells (removing unwanted bodies from an STL)
3:42 - Rotate, pan, move, orbit around model
4:00 - Start with visualizing end result
4:30 - Think about which surfaces should be fill surfaces and which should be offset surfaces
4:48 - "Painting" model with the Select tool
5:30 - Importance of patience, precision, iteration
6:08 - Ctrl+Z (Undo)
6:20 - Don't leave regions empty when painting
6:35 - "Erasing" painted areas with Shift + Click
7:13 - Select → Modify → Smooth Boundary
8:10 - Select → Modify → Create FaceGroup (Ctrl+G)
8:50 - Best practice: Create Complexes, save them out to create checkpoints
9:45 - Use separate FaceGroups
10:25 - Clean regions before smoothing boundaries
11:52 - Checkpoint: saving out regions to work with smaller meshes
12:17 - Edit → Generate Complex
12:40 - Doing a fill (double click black line)
13:06 - Lots of RAM and a good processor can help prevent crashes
14:14 - Accept the fills
14:30 - Edit → Split Complex (split into multiple bodies)
15:01 - Save Checkpoint
15:23 - Saving out STLs (select object, File → Export [Ctrl+E])
15:33 - Managing files & folders
15:47 - Save as: "STL Binary Sequence, One File Per Region (*.stl)"
16:09 - Suggested file naming convention
16:40 - Use file sizes to know which is your main model
16:58 - Pull the main body back into Meshmixer
17:00 - Delete finished bodies
17:53 - Use Smooth Boundary command when polygon counts are low
19:20 - Save things out at each iteration. It's worth it!
20:09 - Accept, Split Complex, Export (One STL per region), bring back main body
21:00 - First Offset surface. 1 offset at a time. 2 offsets at once = issues.
22:00 - Select, Smooth Boundary, Create FaceGroup
22:40 - Edit → Generate Complex → double click the surface (not the line)
23:10 - Make Offset Distance as high as possible without causing mesh issues (overlap)
24:39 - Connected parts can often be combined as 1 fill + FaceGroup
26:22 - Another offset example
27:00 - Saving last complex / STLs
27:16 - File management once you have all the STL files split out
27:26 - Delete redundant (extra) bodies
27:59 - Keep the final main body's STL
28:28 - Bring the models all back into Meshmixer
28:50 - Use Ctrl/Shift to select objects → Edit → Combine → Export combined STLs
29:00 - "Scale Up?" pop up? Click No. (Meshmixer probably sees objects that are small.)
29:50 - Final result in a slicer
30:37 - Final result printed
Printed with Palette: http://mosaicmanufacturing.com
Share your Meshmixed prints with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media:
Dragon model by MakerBot: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:305752
Multi-color dragon model: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:216...
Parrot model by MakerBot: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:220625
Multi-color parrot model: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:218...