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Software for 3D printers

Though 3D printers are not yet exactly cheap they are getting affordable for enthusiasts. But what to print? One possibility is to print heightfields obtained from your own images. You can create an STL heightfield file from an image with the Windows application shown below:

Flat Logo to 3D logo.

The 3D file can be output as an STL or STLB or even an AutoCAD DXF mesh:

3D logo viewed in AutoCAD as a DXF mesh

Which format you save the file in depends on how you are most comfortable working. Many people use the STL format when creating real physical objects.

Of course you don't have to limit yourself to logos, PhotoToMesh will work with any sort of image (but remember it is not a "3d reconstruction from photo" ). Here is a spiral image which has been pasted into PhotoToMesh:

Spiral as STL object

And here is a photo of a distant galaxy turned into something that can be machined from an STL file:

STL and DXF mesh

PhotoToMesh is a Windows program. The new version has cylindrical, spherical and surface of revolution objects too! You can download a free demo by clicking on the button below:


"I imported the STL's from PhotoToMesh into my CAM package (Cimatron E) and machined the STL directly."
Really slick software. I found it perusing the internet for a way to convert an extremely large 2d DEM image into 3d and import it into Rhino 5. I was searching for topo terrain conversion plugins. My detailed contour maps just crash Rhino and a few other 3d modeling programs. PhotoToMesh solved the problem. Thanks! - Scott



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