View Full Version : How to mill a statue from Poser to Surfcam

10-22-2007, 10:17 PM

I do 3D modeling with Poser, a human figure modeler. I sculpt with it and can get pretty realistic results. I currently have a model of my brother in an army tank that I want to import into Surfcam so my friend with a 3d milling station can produce a statue for my brother's birthday. I started by exporting my file in DXF, however there are too many polygons in the face for this to work well. Then I exported as a wavefront object and converted it into .igs entity 106 with 3D object converter. When I imported it into surfcam, there were just a bunch of triangles but much info was missing. Any ideas of how I can get the statue milled? I'm pretty good at the digital sculpting and think I could make money if I can find a sequence of file types that work.....

Thanks in advance for your help!!


10-23-2007, 11:54 AM
As far as I know, Surfcam still does not support mesh objects. That means anything you make in Poser will not be able to be milled in Surfcam. Converting the mesh to iges doesn't help, all it will get you is the mesh wireframe or individual polygons.

There are quite a number of other programs that can import and machine on mesh data. Beware, there are many mesh smoothing tricks used on screen displays of programs like Poser, what you see on the screen will not necessarily be what gets milled. In general the facets are too large. You need to look at the mesh model without the smoothing to see if it will mill OK - some programs allow you to turn off the mesh smoothing tricks to actually see what the mesh looks like. --ch

10-23-2007, 07:10 PM

Thanks a bunch for your reply. Based on my experience, I believe you are correct. What cam programs would you suggest I try, starting with the ones that are most promising? Hopefully they would automate the same milling station my friend owns....

Thanks in advance for your help,


10-23-2007, 07:44 PM
You might want to look at MeshCAM, it's pretty cheap, and does 4 axis too. However, it's .dxf import only reads 3D faces, not meshes. But if you can explode the meshes into faces, that'll work. Also, look at Vectric's Cut3D. No 4th axis, but it will read .obj files directly.


10-24-2007, 04:25 AM
There's also Deskproto (they also have a "lite" version) and Visual Mill Basic (all at the $1k price point except Deskproto lite) --ch

10-24-2007, 11:18 PM
Once again, thanks guys. To show you how green I am to milling, what is a 4th axis? Can I still mill a statue without it? I don't think Meshcam would work because the figure I am working with has too many polygons for dxf to support. I think I got that message when I was trying to export from 3dstudio max.

Also, what is involved with exploding meshes into faces? If this is getting boring for you, I would understand if you don't respond.

Take care,


10-25-2007, 09:15 AM
I don't think there is a polygon limit in a .dxf file.

Exploding a mesh depends on the app. AutoCAD has an explode command. 1 click is all it takes.

Can you post a sample model here and I'll see if I can get a .dxf that MeshCAM can use.

10-25-2007, 12:27 PM

Wow! That would be super! I'll post a Poser dxf. It will have to be next Tuesday, as I don't have the model here at work and am going out of town....

Thanks again,


10-25-2007, 02:05 PM
I can also convert an .obj to .dxf and try that.

10-27-2007, 05:31 PM
It's excellent at handling large files, and you can use the demo for free for a month try-out period. You can download it from www.deskproto.com . STL usually works better than DXF across platforms, but DeskProto can deal with both. The 4th axis does make things easier; it allows the piece to rotate as it's being cut. Think of a rotisserie, or a lathe with a dividing head set up on the bed of the mill. You can cut from the Y=0 position, in the middle of the axis, or use an indexing strategy to cut a series of 3-axis passes in different positions of the rotary axis. But with a complicated statue, there still might be areas you can't reach with the tool. In that case, think about cutting it up into pieces that can be milled individually, then assembled.

Andrew Werby

10-27-2007, 05:35 PM
Rhino W/ Rhinocam Pro.

How big are your models going to be?