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Wireframe STL

I'm working on a tool that will generate 3D printable connectors for the vertices in an STL file, allowing construction of very large objects. Instead of being limited to the print volume of the 3D printer, the size of the resulting thing can be almost arbitrarily large. This two-turn Mobius torus has some issues with intersections between the beams, but might work out.

Platonic Solids

Regular or periodic shapes seem to work well with this process. Very complex shapes, like the Stanford bunny, don't seem to work at all. The above rendering shows a dodecahedron that has been converted using wireframe: each vertex is now a connector that can be connected with 8mm pencils, each 19cm long.

The twenty connectors are printed (about 3 hours) and fitted together with the pencils. It's a snug fit and the piece holds together fairly well. I've posted the STL files to thingiverse as thing:653464.

Makes a nice table center piece, perhaps as a series of platonic solids. I'm printing a companion Icosahedron and will be posting the rest of the solids to thingiverse.

Wireframe prints

The wireframe output can also be used to generate interesting prints of just the edges. There isn't an option to the tool to do this, so I hand edited the resulting OpenSCAD file to remove the connector pieces and extend the rods the entire distance. The wireframe bust of Sappho is available as thing:1031698 if you want to try it on your printer.

Source code

The code is pretty rough: Like unfold.c, wireframe reads a binary STL file on stdin and writes the OpenSCAD file to stdout. There are currently no options for selecting different sizes or shapes of connectors, nor to control the size of the nodes. You must edit the file, run make and re-process the STL.

 make wireframe
 openscad -o foo.stl foo.scad
 ./stl-convert < foo.stl | ./wireframe > foo-corners.scad

2015 3D Printing OpenSCAD

Last update: November 8, 2020