Arrange Models on the Printer Bed

There are two ways to arrange models on the printer bed - automatically and manually.

► AUTOMATIC LAYOUT

Automatically lay out multiple models using the Layout/Packing function in Meshmixer. 

STEP 1:

Use Import > Append to load multiple models on the printer bed. [Here is a reminder how to do this.]

STEP 2:

Click Analysis > Layout/Packing on the left toolbar. In the Layout/Packing window, the layout of your model will automatically update based on the default settings. Select your desired layout option, and click Update to see the change in Meshmixer’s viewport.

STEP 3:

Click Accept to save the layout.

NOTE

In the following example using Layout/Packing, five ring models are loaded onto the printer bed - all of which are centered and overlapping, but are at different heights. The Layout/Packing function drops them all to the floor of the printer bed, at precisely the same height.

 

 

► MANUAL LAYOUT

To manually arrange models on the printer bed, you’ll need to know understand how Snapping works, as well as the Local & World Transformation modes. You will then be able to use these skills to use the Align and Transform tools.

►►  UNDERSTANDING SNAPPING

When transforming objects, Snapping can help make precise alignments, but there are times when it will cause you to overshoot your mark, so you’ll want to turn it off.

To toggle snapping:

      • Type T to bring up the Transform tool.
      • Click the S icon that encircles the transform tool. When the S icon is green, snapping is turned on. When it is gray, snapping is turned off.

NOTE

Don’t use this method to drop multiple models to the print bed. Due to Ember’s micron-level resolution, it’s prohibitively difficult to manually align the bases of multiple objects in this way. Instead, use the automatic Layout/Packing arrangement process described above.

►►  UNDERSTANDING LOCAL vs. WORLD TRANSFORMATION

Local transformation moves the model in alignment with its individual axes. To turn it on, click the L icon on the ring encircling the model when in Edit > Transform mode.  

World transformation occurs in alignment with the global coordinates of the scene.  To enable World Transformation, click the W icon in Edit > Transform.

See the animation below to understand the difference between Local and World transformation, and how to switch between the two modes.

The ring on the right is shown transformed according to Local coordinates. Observe how it moves directions that are orthogonal (at right angles) to its orientation. When the ring on the left is transformed in World mode, it’s moved in directions that are orthogonal to the build plate.

 

►►  THE ALIGN TOOL

Use the align tool to orient your model in various ways. To drop a single model to the build plate, follow these steps:

STEP 1:

      • Select your model.
      • Click Edit > Align on the left sidebar.

STEP 2:

      • In the Align window, for Source, select Base Point, and for Destination, select World Origin / Y-up.
      • A ghost outline will show the pending alignment.
      • Click Accept.

STEP 3:

Repeat this process for all models on the printer bed.

 

NOTE

To clear the popup window on the left, type ESC on your keyboard.

 

►►  THE TRANSFORM TOOL

If you’ve used the Align tool on multiple models, they will overlap in the center of the printer bed. Use the Transform tool to move them into the desired position.

STEP 1:

Select the model you wish to move.

STEP 2:

Click Edit > Transform on the left sidebar (or type the keyboard shortcut, T).

STEP 3:

Click on the corresponding axis band and drag in the desired direction to rotate or move the model. The model may be transformed in the following ways:

      • Move in X, Y, or Z directions
      • Rotate around the X, Y, or Z axes

STEP 4:

Click Accept to apply the transformation.

In the following example, note the differences between Local and World transformations, and when Snapping is turned on and off. 

 

Continue on to Combine Models...

 

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