Rheologic Blender Addon: export multiple objects as separate STLs

rheo_io_mesh_stl (zip file, deprecated) is a blender addon to export all objects in a blender scene as separate STL files using the respective blender object names as file names. This is useful for frequently changing geometries where you need to export objects as named STLs.

Please note that the functionality of this addon has been included into the standard stl export module, that is included in later versions of blender. If you are using a current version of blender, you will probably not need this addon. We will continue to host this addon here for users who might want to use it with older versions of blender, however, we will not maintain and develop it further.

Introduction

Blender objects in outliner and separate STL export filesIn our work we frequently use the excellent open-source software blender to generate or manipulate 3d geometries. In order to use geometries with OpenFOAM CFD simulations however they need to be exported in the STL file format. Blender can export into STL without issues, however usually you will want to treat different parts of your geometry in different ways in OpenFOAM.

To be able to do this, you need to separate your blender geometry into distinct objects and export them one by one into individual STL files. Especially if you have to change your geometry frequently, while for example optimizing some spatial feature in your simulation, the process of exporting each object as separate STL quickly becomes tedious.

So we created a blender addon to make our - and hopefully your - life easier: the addon exports all existing objects in a blender scene into a directory of your choosing, each object as separate STL file using its blender object name as filename.

The addon also comes handy for general import/export purposes apart from CFD simulations in OpenFOAM. The STL file format is fairly basic and therefore supported by a large number of software products; using the addon allows you to keep a collection of objects in a single blender file and export them in one go as individual STL files. That can be useful for example in the area of 3D printing.

Installation

Blender addon activation Rheologic STL exportSimply download the zip-file containing the blender stl addon and unpack it into your blender addon directory (usually something like Blender64/2.76/scripts/addons). The addon was tested with blender-2.76 and might work with other versions of blender though ymmv. The zip-file contains a directory named rheo_io_mesh_stl. Once you have it unpacked in the addon directory, fire up blender and go to File-User Preferences (Ctrl Alt U), click on "Testing" and search for "Rheologic". Click the little check mark to the right of the addon to activate it and save the user settings. That's it! The addon is ready to use!

Usage

Blender objects in editor windowThe usage of the addon is fairly simple: create some objects, name them, call the addon, select an output directory and hit enter.

Let's take a look at a short example. I opened up blender, deleted lamp and camera, added a sphere, copied the standard cube and sphere, joined them into a new object (Ctrl J) and added a monkey for good measure - see the screenshot. Next I edited the names of the objects in the outliner window to something more descriptive (see image above).
Rheologic STL addon searchNow you can move back to your editor window, hit space and type "stl", which will give you a list of all blender commands containing the string. Select "Export all objects as separate STLs". Be patient during this step - a large geometry can take a while to convert. Then a file dialog window will open - select a directory and hit "Export all objects as STLs" - done! Optionally you can enter a string in the filename field of the file dialog, this string will be added as prefix to the individual file names, if you keep the field empty, the files will be saved without prefix. The result of the little example are 4 STL files, each having the name of the respective blender object. That's it!

Pay back some karma if you find our addon useful:

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If you'd like to get in contact with us, send an email to office@rheologic.at.

Disclaimer

This offering is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM software and owner of the OPENFOAM® and OpenCFD® trade marks. OPENFOAM® is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM software.