STL edit - Software?

I want to edit scanned STL data.
In special i want to rotate some legs, arm, hands from scanned figures.
Do you know a good software for this?
Thank you.
BR Diana

the best software for this is Freeform - from 3D Systems. It has the shortest learning curve of any 3D modeling/sculpting app… although it IS quite costly… they make a version that will run from a mouse or drawing tablet now- but its still a vastly superior program if you get the haptic arm that enables you to literally FEEL the surface of the model

They make a less expensive version called “Sculpt”, too- but offhand I am not familiar enough with Sculpt to say whether that version of the app has the Bend and Twist tool that you would want for re-posing scanned figures.

check out their website and if interested, ASK them if Sculpt has the Bend & Twist tool that Freeform Plus has.

Thank you, i will check that.

Blender and its free

If you use SketchUp there is a free add-on to import STL files in to the program. You can not use OPEN but need to use IMPORT. The file brought in can be saved as a SKP file or exported as a STL file.


I just looked up the price for this software and the haptic arm. As a package this costs $19,500. Maybe some here can afford this, but I don’t think it’s in the price range for most mere mortals.


If you like free form sculpting, and you don’t want to spend $20K for the privilege, then give MeshMixer a try. It’s from Autodesk and it’s free. It does all the things you asked for, such as rotating a hand or a foot, or cutting a part and replacing it with something else, or completely re-sculpting a model. It even uses tools that behave like real sculpting knives and scarpers.

It also supports boolean and shell functions and exports the final model back to STL. I have been using Meshmixer for the last 2 years and as I got better with it, I find that it serves most of my purposes. It’s not a parametric CAD program, but if if you got an STL from a scanner, that needs some fixing or retouching, I can’t think of a better program.

Give it a try.

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yeah- its pricey- but here’s how I explain it to my apprentices… If you got a job that you could not get to without a new car- you would not think twice about spending 20 grand or more on the car— and the car doesn’t even help you DO the job… its just a means to get to that job.

To that end, i pick the tool that gives me the most power, professionally, and if I have to make payments, then I make payments- just like with a car.

I run 3 seats of FreeForm… which means I hire artists. The nicest thing about FreeForm is that I don’t have to even consider whether a given artist knows FreeForm- they could be expert in zBrush- or Rhino, or Solidworks… hell, they could even be someone who has Never even touched a computer in their lives…

All I need to consider is their portfolio… whether they can sculpt- or design. Freeform is SO intuitive and simple to use that ANY artist would be productive on it within a week.

In addition, most decent organic modelers out there are SubD- and SubD actually works by simulating high resolution geometry with UV texture mapping. it only bakes the texture into real geometry on export.

They are fantastic for making low poly models look like 10 million polys… and they enable the artist to do high res work on relatively low powered computers… but in my working world- 10 million polys is a pretty bare model- we routinely work in 100- 400 million polygon models- using real data, no texture maps.

oh- and Freeform uses voxels- so it CAN’t produce a model that is not a qualifed solid- the first 8 years I ran Freefrom- half of our paid projects were simply OPENING other apps models in FreeForm- which converted them to solids.

But absolutely- its a pro level tool.
Not for the faint of heart nor thin of wallet.

For folks who want something more affordable- I recommend Modo- it will do everything that zbrush will do- and a whole bunch of stuff you only WISH zbrush would do… and its got the best rendering engine available in an affordable app.

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oh- and I primarily recommended it because the OP plans to use Scan data.

Most apps won’t even be able to OPEN a high resolution scan that run 12 million points and up.

Freeform is the pre-eminent app for manipulating scan data.

PPS- can’t beat Free…though…
I’ve heard good things about MeshMixer, too- tho like most apps it takes while to become facile with it,

Thank you for all the information about the different Software.

  • I get in contact with 3D Systems and tell them the points what is necessary for me.
    Let`s wait for the answer and the price. Could be that Sculpt is enought.
  • Meshmixer and others i will try to have an overview how to use.
    BR Diana

I have an Einscanner S and I typically scan models that end up being 6-8 million polygons (10-16 million vertices), and while it is not easy (or useful) working with anything that huge, MeshMixer does open them up. Then I can adaptively reduce the mesh size to make it easier to work with.

Here is an example of a raw scan that is 6.2 million triangles, about 300MB in size, that opens up just fine in MeshMixer.

Meshmixer has made a on-line manual available that is extremely well done and covers (almost) every function.

You can try before you buy, buy I would reccomend zbrush!


as I said- i’ve heard good things about MeshMixer.

But its just a bit too basic for the range of things we take on.

There is also 3d coat that will let you convert the model to voxes then re-export out. Also a program called Hexagon that was once known at Amapi Designer which has excellent tools and great sub-d modeling. I believe Daz just about gives Hexagon away now.

Usually STL files is the end product from another program that generated it. Most will tweak an STL for missing faces or decimate it to reduce poly count etc. For articulating models you are usually better off with a good sculpting and modeling program. Z-Brush is well worth the money in that category and for little less money there is 3dCoat.

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