3D polygon mesh from bitmap data (free download)

From: Delft Spline Systems (info@spline.nl)
Date: Fri Sep 08 2000 - 10:38:37 EEST

Dear list,

Yesterday I have been playing around with a very nice new toy
that I found on the Internet. It is a free software called CyberMesh,
and it converts bitmap images to 3D polygon data. To be more
precise: it translates the grey-value of every pixel to a Z-height
(black is lowest, white is highest) and then creates a mesh having
a vertex on that height for every pixel. Output is polygon data in
DXF or 3DS format.

This 3D file of course can be used to make a (Rapid) Prototype.
Note that all of you who use Layered Manufacturing will first have
to convert to STL and add facets make a true solid. Any DeskProto
user can immediately start machining ;-)
Conversion to STL can be done using the free DeskProto demo version.

It is a great tool, so I wanted to let you know. I already did some
nice logo's, and (obviously) a photo of my wife (no real resemblance
though - you can imagine: white teeth, black hair, etc). Still many
things are possible. I have been thinking of applications like adding
text or texture to a model, like Karl's creating e-toys from children's
drawings, like new forms of art and jewelry, learning aids for blind
people, signmaking, sweets, etc. The sky is the limit.

Obviously this is not a new tool: engraving packages like ArtCAM,
Cimagrafi and Type-3 offer the same - however these are far too
expensive for most applications. This tool is free, and can be
downloaded from Puffin Designs in Sausalito (CA):

Do not mind the remark that CyberMesh is a Photoshop plug-in: the
download (293 Kb) includes a version that runs stand-alone in Windows.
In addition to using rectangular coordinates the images can also be
converted to 3D using cylindrical or spherical coordinate systems.

Do enjoy your Friday afternoon by some experimenting !

Best Regards,

Lex Lennings.

A few tips from my own short experience (as the software is offered
without any technical support).

- The bitmaps may not too large: 300 x 300 pixels already results in a
warning message and a large DXF file (ca 16 Mb), much larger bitmaps
are just refused.

- The download comes with the ini-file CMESH.INI
This file must be copied to the Windows directory to be recognized (the
Readme file does not tell you so). Do keep a copy of this file to be able
to restore errors.

- As output format use "3D Face DXF" (NxM- and Polyline-DXF are
not recognized by DeskProto).

Two bugs were found:

- A scale factor below 1.0 works fine, however on exiting the program it
will be stored as 0.0 The next time the program is started it hangs
(edit or replace the INI file to restore).

- The earth-example file (spherical) results in a mirrored earth (can be easily
corrected by mirroring again).

Delft Spline Systems, The Netherlands.
We offer DeskProto: affordable Rapid Prototyping using CNC milling.

mailto:info@spline.nl --- website: http://www.deskproto.com

For more information about the rp-ml, see http://ltk.hut.fi/rp-ml/

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