Re: calling all uber geeks

From: DWAYNE SANDALL ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 04/20/04-09:20:48 AM Z
Message-id: <>


Here's my thinking on this, along with a couple of questions. First, the questions, if I recall correctly, an stl file is a 3D file, and if that is correct, then what I am guessing you want to do is make a 'textured' surface print? The rest of my comments are based on this assumption, of making this textured print.

I think the answer you are looking for in this case might be in the realm of terrain mapping. When I was in architecture school in the early/mid 90's I would take arial or sattelite images and be able to make a 3D terrain model into which I could insert my 3D model of the building.

Here's a bit of the theory of how it worked. The arial photos would be in greyscale, adjusted so that pure white was the highest point of the ground, and pure black would be lowest, and the shades of grey would be somewhere in between. The software would interpolate the pixels and build a 'mesh' that would approximate the surface.

Although the only time I made any physical 3D
prototype was of a building model, and it was pretty cool to see something come out of the screen into a piece of platic.

Once, late at night in the school's computer lab, for kicks, I had taken a photo of my face and made a mesh out of it.. it was pretty weird looking, but then again, some say I am too :-)

As for software, I am a bit out of touch in this realm, as I last did anything like this in the late 90's, but being the pack-rat that I am, I probably have some of the software backed up that I could refer to and point you in the right direction.

I hope this helps,

----- Original Message -----
From: Nick Makris <>
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 8:08 am
Subject: Re: calling all uber geeks

> Barry, here is my experience with this problem - it may or may not
> work for you depending on your CAD program. I have AutoCAD,
> DataCAD and DeltaCAD ($50 at and use DeltaCAD almost
> exclusively, mostly because it's so easy to use. The follo
> works in DeltaCAD.
> Open a new drawing and insert a JPEG of the Photo. Manually trace
> the image. Remove the JPEG layer. Scale the entire drawing to
> match the real size of the product and save the file.
> I've have found that some programs can be used to rasterize a JPEG
> and save as a DXF file but my experience is that every little
> nuance becomes a small line and the size of the file become
> unmanagable - not to mention the huge number of lines it generates.
> This is crude but effective in some circumstances - it may or may
> not be useful for your purposes.
> n
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Barry Kleider
> To:
> Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 8:50 PM
> Subject: calling all uber geeks
> Here's a wild problem:
> I need to convert one of my digital photos to a .stl file - the
> file type used in CAD programs.
> Has anyone ever done this sort of thing?
> I'm doing some m
ore of those tactile graphics - bas relief and
> such - and came across a Titan FDM from Stratysys. It's a machine
> which is used to make 3D prototypes from CAD files.
> I'm guessing, but here's my logic: my photo image and the the CAD
> image share some common parameters in that they are both visual
> maps.... Isa there a way to save them in .stl format?
> OR I may need to print out my .TIF or .JPEG files and load them
> into a CAD program as scans.
> (Maybe I just solved my own problem.)
> Barry
> Barry Kleider
> Photographer. Arts Educator.
> 612.722.9701
> email:
> Web:
Received on Tue Apr 20 09:53:20 2004

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