Saturday, December 6, 2014

Putting Comet 67P into SketchUp

December 6, 2014 The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently put two 3D formats online of comet 67P currently under observation by the Rosetta spacecraft (see also ESA's Rosetta mission page). The formats are .wrl and .obj, neither of which can be imported into SketchUp 8.

Stl files can also not normally be imported into SketchUp 8 unless you have the proper plugin. There was a tutorial on this published a while back so if you would like to import/export .stl files, check it out. In addition to importing ESA's 67P model, .stl files are useful for 3D printing.

With the plugin you can bring in .stl files, but how do you convert ESA's .obj file into an .stl file? I found an online converter that does just that. An online 3D file converter found at allowed me to take ESA's .obj file and convert it into an .stl file in 3 easy steps. I was then able to import it into SketchUp 8 and then used the "Make Faces" plugin to cover the wire mesh.

The results are far from perfect but I do basically have comet 67P in SketchUp 8 on my desktop ready to explore.  I thought it might be interesting to print this out and make a Christmas tree ornament out of it but there are some problems with the model that would need to be resolved first.

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