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Triangulation of 3D Surfaces
Described by Stereolithography Files

Daniel Rypl, Zdenek Bittnar

Department of Structural Mechanics
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Czech Technical University in Prague
Thákurova 7, 166 29 Prague, Czech Republic


The stereolithography (STL) file format, developed for rapid prototyping industry, became an attractive alternative for surface representation in solid modeling. However such a representation is not appropriate for computational analysis using the finite element method. The presented paper addresses triangulation of 3D surfaces geometry of which is represented by discrete data in the STL format. Initially, a suitable topological representation is constructed from the STL file using feature recognition based on appropriate topological and geometrical operations. Then a smooth surface is recovered over the original STL grid using an interpolating subdivision procedure. And finally, the reconstructed surface is subjected to the triangulation accomplished using the advancing front technique operating directly on the surface. The capability of the proposed methodology is illustrated on a few examples.

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Daniel Rypl