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How can I print my map to a 3D printer from Surfer?

Surfer cannot currently print directly to a 3D printer, but beginning in Surfer 14, you can export your Surfer grid to an STL (Stereolithography 3D Mesh) file, and then print the STL file with a 3D printer. To export your grid to an STL file:

  1. Click Grids | Edit | Convert.
  2. In the Open Grid dialog, select your grid file and click Open.
  3. In the Save Grid As dialog, set the Save as type to STL 3D Mesh From Grid (*.stl), give your file a name, and click Save.
  4. An Export Options dialog appears:

    • Height scaling - This is the scale for the grid Z values. There are two options here:
      • Multiply grid heights by - This is a numeric value to scale the grid z values by. Values less than 1 decrease the grid Z values and values greater than 1 increase the grid Z values. The default value is 1 (grid Z values are not scaled).
      • Height as percent of diagonal length - This is a percentage value to scale the grid z values by. So if you want the height of your model to be 25% of the diagonal length (maximum horizontal extent), you can set this value to 25.

The Height for blank nodes in grid value is scaled by the Height scaling value, but the Floor level of model value is not. Choose a value that suits your printer.

    • Height for blank nodes in grid - NoData nodes will be mapped to this value in the output STL file. The default value is 0, however, 0 may not be appropriate for your grid range. A value equal to or near the grid Z minimum is recommended. This value is transformed by the Multiply grid heights by value. For example, if you remap NoData grid nodes to 100 and set Multiply grid heights by to 0.25, the resulting height value in the STL file is 25 for blanked nodes.
    • Floor level of model - This value determines the surface's height above the floor and the wall height. The default value is 0, however, 0 may not be appropriate for your grid range or your printer. This value is not affected by the Multiply grid heights by value.
    • Enable walls - Check this check box to include walls in the output STL file. This option is checked by default.
    • Enable floor - Check this check box to include a floor on the bottom of the output STL file. This option is checked by default.
    • Write binary STL instead of ASCII STL - Some 3D printer software does not support importing ASCII STL files, so check this option if that's the case for your printer, and a binary STL file will be exported instead. Binary format output STL files are considerably smaller than ASCII format STL files. You can find specific information about each file type in the Help.
  1. Set the desired options, then click OK to convert the grid to triangles and write the triangles to an STL file.

 

You can now use the STL file with any application or 3D printer that supports STL files, such as the free STLView STL file viewer, or our own Voxler program.


grid GRD file converted to STL format for 3D printing - partially finished

Partial progress printing the demogrid.grd file from Surfer's Samples directory (approximately 2 hours in).  Interior was filled with a 10% cross hatch.

 

grid GRD file converted to STL format for 3D printing - finised product

Finished product: demogrid.grd created from 25 meters of plastic wire, in approximately 4 hours. Printing was done using an older model of the XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer with XYZWare 2.1.10.3 software.

 

If you wish to add your vote for 3D printing directly from Surfer to our suggestion file, contact surfersupport@goldensoftware.com.

 

Updated September 11, 2017

 

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