[Chimera-users] clip planes in vrml

Thomas Goddard goddard at cgl.ucsf.edu
Thu May 13 18:15:28 PDT 2010

Hi Daniel,

   I don't think any 3d printer software is going to do the computation 
to handle clipping planes.

   What you need is that objects that intersect the clip plane have to 
be rerendered with a capping surface over the hole created by the clip 
plane cut.  Chimera can make such caps for surface models but the cap 
surface is detached from the surface that is being cut -- the edges are 
very close so it is not noticable.  That probably won't work for 
printing a 3-d model.  But it is possible to compute a cap surface using 
surfaces generated from volume data, which can in turn represent a 
molecule using the molmap Chimera command.  This method just displays a 
subregion of the volume say limiting the z size of the volume grid.  To 
cut along other axes you could rotate the map using resampling.  This is 
all a bit complex but I have used it to print models on our uPrint 3-d 
printer.  This kind of computational geometry for cap surfaces is 
usually done in CAD (computer aided design) software like SolidWorks.


> Thanks Greg. I viewed the file with BS Contact and it was fine; Adobe 3D
> reviewer is the problem. For clip planes, you suggest X3D, but clip
> planes don't seem to work for that format either. Even if it works, the
> Zcorp printer does not read X3D- only VRML, PLY, 3DS, and ZPR.  Should I
> give up on the idea of printing a clipped model?
> On Thu, May 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM, Greg Couch <gregc at cgl.ucsf.edu
> <mailto:gregc at cgl.ucsf.edu>> wrote:
>     On 05/13/2010 11:18 AM, Daniel Gurnon wrote:
>         Hi all,
>         I'm thinking of the 3D printing of physical models, and how
>         informative clipping planes can be....would it be feasible to
>         add capped-clip planes to vrml output?
>     Alas, VRML does not support clip planes, you have to use X3D.  Does
>     Adobe 3D reviewer have X3D support?
>         I also ran into a problem when I exported a surface to vrml and
>         tried to view it with Adobe 3D reviewer. The color information
>         didn't transfer. This isn't a problem when saving ribbons or
>         bonds as vrml.
>         Dan
>     Double check that the surface displays correctly in a VRML viewer,
>     eg., BS Contact, Octaga, etc.  And if it does (and I predict it
>     will), then the bug is in the Adobe 3D reviewer's VRML import code.
>         - Greg
> --
> ____________________________
> Daniel Gurnon, Ph. D.
> Assistant Professor of Chemistry
> DePauw University
> Greencastle, IN 46135
> p: 765-658-6279
> e: danielgurnon at depauw.edu <mailto:danielgurnon at depauw.edu>
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