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Parameter Extraction

Parameter Extraction is a tool that gives you an insight into all the different values of your model, including bounding box dimensions, volume, surface and number of triangles. We’ll tell you more about those in a second. These insights are particularly interesting to service bureaus that need to provide a quoting estimate to their customers, and need to calculate accurate pricing.

The bounding box

The bounding box is a rectangle that contains your entire model. Think of it as an imaginary box around your model that exactly fits the extremities in length, width and height of your model. The dimensions of the bounding box are based on how you designed your model, so it’s only a very general indication of the dimensions of your part.

The bounding box is quite important, because it indicates if your model will be able to fit on the build platform of the printer. It also helps service bureaus to determine how large the shipment package needs to be and in turn, is one of the parameters that’ll influence the quoting process.

illustration for the bounding box

Volume

The volume parameter represents the exact amount of space in cubic millimeters that your 3D model occupies. For example: if you filled your model with water, the amount of water it would take to fill it to the top would be equal to the volume parameter of the model. This gives you an idea of how much material will be necessary to print your model. It is important to remember that service bureaus also take the volume of an order into account when making the customer quotation.

Surface

The surface parameter indicates the sum of the surface areas of all triangles located on the outside of your model. So if you covered your model in aluminum foil, the amount of foil in millimeters would be equal to its surface parameter. This gives information about the cost the post-processing will take: how much sand paper will they need to buy? How much coating material will be needed for the finish? The surface parameter is yet another factor in the quoting process.

Number of Triangles

The higher the number of triangles used to describe the surface geometry of a 3D model, the more detailed it will be. This also influences how much time the computer needs to slice the STL file and print the object. The parameter extraction tool lets you know how many triangles your file contains, giving you a heads up about the customer quotation you might be able to expect. Bear in mind: the longer the slicing software needs to slice your file, the higher the quotation will be. For more information about the resolution of STL files, visit the STL Converter webpage.