How to 3D print terrain created with Plex.Earth 4 (Civil 3D users)

Would you like to 3D print the terrain you imported with Plex.Earth to get a real feel (sic) of the area morphology? Here are the easy steps that you need to follow, provided that you are using Civil 3D


1. Import the Terrain

Select the “Import Terrain” command from the Plex.Earth ribbon tab and make sure that the  “Civil 3D Surface” is selected as the Mesh Type.


Then select the method that best suits your needs (Import by Google Earth View, Area or Path) and choose to import “Terrain Mesh”.


(For more information about importing terrain click here)


2. Extract a 3D Solid

When the import is completed, select your Terrain. That will automatically open the Tin Surface Ribbon of Autocad Civil 3D.

Then choose the “Extract from Surface” command from the ribbon and then select “Extract Solids from Surface”.


In the window which pop-ups, select as the vertical definition “At fixed elevation” and set it to zero in order to create the whole volume of your terrain and then select “Create solid


After this process, a 3D Solid Object should have been created in your drawing.



3. Export an STL file

After creating a 3D Solid object from your terrain, you can export an .stl file which is suitable for 3D printing.

Go to the Autocad Civil 3D Icon on the top left of your screen, click and choose “Export” -> “Other Formats

Then select to export your drawing as an .stl file.


You can select one or more solid objects.

Note that all objects must be entirely within the positive XYZ octant of the world coordinate system (WCS). That is, their X, Y, and Z coordinates must be greater than zero.

That’s it! You have created your model and you are ready to print now!



Still not convinced?

See how Aristides made his life easier using Plex.Earth 4 to 3D Print his architectural models.




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