If you're using a Windows PC then Microsoft has a free 3D shape editor app that lets you resize, rotate, or lay out multiple objects into an .STL file for printing with FCPL. Most of our 3D printers will accept files about 150mm wide, 150mm long, and 140mm tall so larger objects may need to be shrunk down to print successfully. Also if you have a few small pieces you can lay them out in a single .STL file for printing as one job (see below).
Open "3D Builder or download it for free from the Microsoft Store. You can create a new "scene" or open an existing file and then check Import Model.
The interface may look complex at first but to make the object smaller click it and the Scale button at the bottom. The dimensions of the original file will show in millimeters and now either drag the edges of the box to make it smaller or click one of the values and set it manually to the necessary size. The lock icon will keep the ratio of the length, width, and height proportional as you change one of the dimensions, this is useful if you just want to change the size of an object without skewing its shape.
The puzzle piece is now 35mm wide which has changed the other dimensions to maintain the shape of the object so click Accept. The Undo and Redo arrows in the top right hand corner let you go back if you make a mistake.
If that's all the changes needed then we're ready to save the shape as an .STL file for printing. Clicking the options or "hamburger" button in the top left hand corner brings up the Save As menu where you can choose where to save, the file name, and change the file format to .STL for submitting on our 3D printing page.
Another use of 3D Builder in Windows is to add multiple small objects to one .STL file to easily print in one job. A great example is this chess set uploaded by user "FunFunBoy" at Thingiverse.com: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2552392
After downloading the individual chess pieces to a folder click Insert, Add, Load Object, and click Import Model for each one.
On the right side of the screen are the selection options. Clicking the Sticky Selection button toggles between the selection modes — you can either select one object at a time for easy moving or select multiple objects at once just by clicking each one. There are Select All and Deselect All buttons to speed up the process.
It's important to remember when moving objects around they can't end up floating in the midair - individual pieces saved as one .STL file can't be moved around by us afterwards. The 3D printer will treat all of the individual objects as one single object. It can be easy to shift objects up and down by mistake when moving them around so we need to make sure all pieces sitting at the same level.
An easy way to make sure all objects are laying flat together is to select each object one at a time and click Object and then Settle which will drop each object flat onto the same plane. If staff notice there are floating objects in a file you submit, we'll try to have you correct this before we print.
In that same menu selecting an object and clicking Duplicate will add another of the same object. This example will have just the special back row pieces of a chess set, the pawns can go in another file. The Rook, Bishop, and Knight were all duplicated and then arranged so they're not touching.
Selecting all of the objects and clicking Scale again will let you make sure they'll fit within the 3D printer's build plate at the branch you're submitting your file. Those build plate sizes can be found here but to be safe 150mm x 150mm will work on most printers. If a group of objects is larger than those dimensions we may need to scale them down to fit our build plate!
Now the whole group can be saved as an .STL file and submitted on the page for 3D printing.