In order to give the customers the right advices and perhaps refuse some orders because I won’t be able to print them, I would like to know how do you do to verify the ability to print a STL?

I am on Mac OS X, have a Replicator2 (so use Makerware) and saw that Meshmixer has this ability.

I saw that 3DHubs use netfabb to do some checks… but in fact, I don’t know which checks are made.

For example, is the submitted file printable on my printer? How do I know?

Thanks a lot and have a great day.
IMI element 31 V_netfabb.stl (169 KB)


I think our Project Manager @Luuk may be of help with this question.

Hi there,

the checks in NetFabb are for watertightness. We also do a check to see if the model fits the bounding box of the printer. Apart from that we also notify customers if their model is too small to print, but this is only a warning. It’s up to the Hub to make the final decision whether he/she can print it or not.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for the info… Just to let you know, I had a model which was provided in inches on 3DHubs which was not intention of the customer. Perhaps it is just an error when creating the file… but I thought you should know about that issue.

Anyone could help about verifying files?

Hi @GloomySparker

Unit conversion is always a tricky part in the ordering process. Customers have to specify the units they modeled the part in and as a result we convert those measurements into cm, because that’s our standard unit. So 50mm will become 5cm.

Another handy webiste when it comes to verifying files for printability is:


With these kind of questions I’m always tempted to refer to either @James_2, @key23d, or @ProdPoint. Any ideas guys?

The main thing about a file printabibilty is wether or not it is manifold in other other words it has to be a closed shape with no holes.

Netfabb is very good at detecting these and repairing them, once you have opened your file check for any red parts in the model which indicate a fault. If so then press the red “+” button at the top and follow the automatic repair procedure. Before exporting the repaired part: Part -> Export -> Stl.

Another problem but less common is a hight poly count (high definition files) which can make the slicing tricky if not impossible. Again it’s an easy fix with MeshLab: Filters -> Remeshing, simplification and construction -> Quadratic Edge Collapse Detection. Although this might sound complicated you’re basicly reducing the files size whilst trying to keep all the details which you will be able translate into the print. For reference this process is called “Mesh Decimation”.

When starting long prints I also find it useful to check the gcode using this website:

If anyone has any good tutorials on mesh handling please share :slight_smile:


Edit: I forgot to mention the thin wall issue, as an example when using Slic3r any walls smaller then the nozzle itself won’t be detected and therefore printed. Again walls can be measured in NetFabb when clicking on the ruler, top right of the screen. Be sure to select to correct measuring tool at the bottom right.

Hi @GloomySparker,

@ProdPoint hits the nail on the head :wink: !

Besides that you can load the model into Cura for instance to see if you expect problems with overhang or otherwise depending on your experience with the material you are going to use.

Sometimes I even do a test print before I accept to print the order.

Kind regards, Guy

I agree with below - I always have a look at the model in Cura or 3DS and just slice through it and run the toolpath - you can spot lots of issues at that stage.

S3D has some simple repair tools - Cura also will fix some issues - netfabb is great at fixing issue - but I also find that it finds errors in almost every model that I have printed :slight_smile:

But for a model I think is complicated I almost always run a fast test print - sometimes two if I am curious!

I have always been amazed at designs I think will need support because of overhangs that I can print without them - whcih saves on clean up!


Thanks for your reply.

Could you please give me an URL where to download 3DS or S3D (which one is the right spelling? ;))?

Thanks a lot.

Apologies letter order is not a string point of mine (brain wiring :))

You have to pay - no demos, but it is aflexible piece of software if you want additional features on Cura etc.

i bought it to help me remove zipper lines from some tall prints which it did well.


Thanks a lot…

Not that cheap… Is there anyone using Simplify 3D here?


me :slight_smile: