Modeling in Cinema 4d for Shapeways Rapid Prototype Printing

I’ve printed a few models from C4D at as a 3D sculpture and each time I do this I have to go through a trial and error process to create the model at the right size and specifications. I haven’t found good information that explains what the correct settings are, so for my own benefit and others, here it is:

  1. Set Cinema Preferences to  use Millimeters
  2. Create geometry without using Boolean (seems like Booleans never work once translated to VRML)
  3. Make your geometry a single object, the Connect object works well for this
  4. If you use the Connect object, don’t forget to “Make it Editable” to actually connect it into a single object
  5. Keep polygon count less than 100,000 and it must be less than 500,000. Since C4D uses 4 sided Polygons, this means the actual count should be 250,000 or less in polys.
  6. Since version 11, if you have Advanced Renderer you can check Render>Cineman>Select non-Manifold edges
  7. Export at VRML 2 with the scale set to 1000 [Edit: In C14, if you set your project up in Millimeters, select the Export option of 1 : Millimeters. If you set up using Centimeters, set Export to 1 : Centimeters]
  8. On the Shapeways site, use Millimeters as the measurement, regardless of if you used Centimeters or Millimeters in C4D.

This brings the models in as centimeters, i.e. 100 mm = 10 cm and in Cinema the object is scaled at a reasonable size so it’s easy to work with. Hope this helps other people trying to do the same thing!

Update: Shapeways has expanded my tutorial on their blog, you can read more here.

Related note: I also needed to export models from Cinema 4D to Illustrator using the Export option. For scale, I found 56.5 cm/inch for the resolution worked when bringing the model to illustrator for laser cutting.