Solids, surfaces, shapes, and mesh elements can all be used to create printable models. If the original data is not already one of these element types, one of the following tools will need to be used to create a mesh element:
a. If the data is a group of topo lines, or a group of triangles like a mesh, but not joined into an element, then the Create Mesh from Contours can be used. Make sure Keep Original is checked. This will allow the user to use the data in the reference file, but build the element in the master file.
b. If the data is a group of data points, then use the Create Mesh from Points. Make sure Keep Original is checked. This will allow the user to use the data in the reference file, but build the element in the master file.
The process for creating a closed volume will differ depending on what kind of element you are using. A closed volume does not need to be just one single element. It can be a combination of different types of elements as long as they all intersect to form a volume without gaps.
For an open mesh element:
a. The Extrude Mesh Volume tool can be used on open meshes to create a closed volume with a flat bottom. This tool is great for terrain models. (see picture below)
b. The Thicken mesh to volume can be used to create a closed volume by offsetting the mesh; this is great for parts like walls or pipes.
c. The Stitch mesh tools can be used to combine mesh elements into one single element. Both bridge mesh, and merge edge will help close gaps between the open elements.
For a surface:
a. For open surfaces that form the walls of an element, the surfaces need to be stitched together using the Stitch Surfaces tool. Then convert to solid can be used to close the open sides and form a closed volume.
b. For single open surfaces, thicken surface to solid can be used to create a solid element.
For shapes and curves:
a. Extrude to Solid can be used to create a solid element from a closed shape or curve.
b. Extrude to Surface can be used to create an open surface from open shapes and curves.
The Create Base tool can be used to form a closed volume out of an open mesh. This is helpful when working with terrain models.