View Full Version : Info on 3d model to solid in Lightwave

09-22-2008, 12:22 PM
Lightwave was recommended to me on the cnczone forum as a program that might solve a problem we are having in converting models to a 3D machinable format. Now as much as we may use creation features of Lightwave in the future, right now we are not looking at it as a creation software, but as a conversion and editing software. We will not be creating most of the models we will be working with ourselves.

Hi everyone, I hope maybe someone here can help me.

We are trying to edit and convert some characters that we will machine on a 3 axis CNC machine. We are fairly new to 3D software and keep having the same problem no matter what software we use. we have tried Rhino 4, 3D Studio Max, Poser, Artcam pro...

Example: Girl created in poser to be life size character such as futuristic space warrior.

No problem creating character and posing her, but to machine her we need to cut off her arms and legs and machine each of them as two parts either front and back or left and right side, which ever allows the machine to get the most detail.

Bottom line is we need a model that is all one piece that we can dice up and import to Artcam pro for tool pathing. mesh to solid does not seem to work as it is limited to 20,000 vertices and most models exceed that.

we need to take a model that is usually supplied to us by our customers in various 3D formats with OBJ or 3DS being the most common and cut off arms and legs or whatever and leave perfectly smooth closed separation point to machine and attach back together later. All clothes, guns, props what ever must stay attached and be part of the separated arm, body etc..

The problem we keep having is that:

1. when we try to cut off arms and legs, we can not because of multiple mesh layers such as all the clothing layers will not allow commands such as meshslice to work.

2. model is made up of over 20,000 vertices and hundreds of layers. everything is separate and needs to be combined into a single piece that is not hollow. if we strip off all the layers of clothes and use slice command in say Rhino, it is still not a clean cut, it follows along the vertices and creates a ragged edge and leaves body of girl hollow. This means when we try to machine body, it leaves open hole where arm should connect rather than a flat mounting surface for reattachment.

I have included an image from Artcam Pro on a simple nude girl. We can not get one in with clothing layers intact. You can see how we have to layout parts to machine from top side.

I will also include image of just arm that we sliced off in Rhino, open hole and jagged edge is a problem. I have also included OBJ file if anyone whats to try and see what we are attempting to do with them. I tried to post 2nd Obj file with clothing layers, but it exceeded post limits.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Magna

09-22-2008, 04:21 PM
Hi Magna

I downloaded your model, it has a few issues for cnc machining.
the eyes mouth and finger nails will never cnc in the format they are in right now and some holes need filling.

I can recommend Lightwave for the job you have to do, albeit at a slower pace than the more expensive software packages specifically designed for this type of work. typically these programs cost in excess of 8000:00 so you cant go wrong using the speed boolean tools in LW modeller, other tools very useful for the work you want to do are the metanurb function for making your model much smoother prior to CNC.

09-23-2008, 06:16 AM

I don't know how much 8000:00 in us dollars, but what are the names of the 8000:00 programs you are referring too? I may find that they handle some of our other workloads better and may be worth the investment in the long run.

If not too much trouble, since I am not familiar with LW, could you give me a brief description of what would be needed to convert this model into solid and cut off arms and legs in LW?

Thank You for your help.

09-23-2008, 07:04 AM
8000 pounds is about 14,800 dollars nowadays... that will change on a daily basis...

That doesn't mean that software is a direct currency conversion though. There might be a US price as well.

09-23-2008, 10:17 AM
If you're using Poser meshes, you might need to shell some, if not all of the clothing, as they usually are paper thin, to keep the polygon cound down.

09-23-2008, 01:34 PM
I only used poser as an example, since many models already have clothing and realistic poses. The models gave us a quick way to test different software and figure out what we might have to deal with when we received files from customers. If poser is the worst file we will have to deal with, then that is the one I would like to practice on and overcome problems.

If there is a magic bullet program out there that will turn any file into machinable models, then I would like to know about it. Regardless of cost.