STL and OBJ designs can be imported into Millbox for both reusable materials (such as 98mm discs) and block materials (mandrel/pin positional fixtures).
Positional fixtures are setups that have a mill fixture with multiple positions to mount material to. These fixtures follow the same importing sequence, but requires an additional step: to define which mill fixture position material will be milled at.
- Import the design files from the original folder location, as that folder contains additional files which are used to help define features such as margin curves and axis holes.
- If you move STL files to another folder for your process, make sure you move all of the supporting files as well.
- If you accidentally select the incorrect design type (called "Type Object" in MillBox) for the STL design being importing, delete it and re-import it using the correct Type Object. Millbox imports the STL in order to generate and apply the correct curves for properly milling the design, but the Type Object needs to be the correct one for the STL.
- Alternatively, if you are confident that the correct curves were generated, you can adjust the STL design type object after importing. Click on the unit and adjust it in the unit pop-up menu. Incorrect curve generation or no curve generation can cause milling to fail and damage equipment/tools. See this article for more details on what type object are.
Sections in this Article
- Importing STLs for reusable blanks
- Importing additional STL units in reusable blanks
- Importing STLs for positional fixtures
- Importing additional STL for positional fixtures
Importing STLs for reusable blanks (i.e. 98mm format discs)
Confirmation of job setup completed
After setting up a new job, the "Import STL" view will appear automatically.
Import STL button
You can toggle the menu open & closed by clicking the Import STL button. The exact text description of the button can be different.
1. Navigate to the design folder
The last directory used will open, as this is the default option. This can be turned off and set to a different default directory in the configuration.
To navigate the folder directories, use the left window to select drives/network folders. Use the arrow buttons at the top of the screen to move backwards, forward, or up to the parent directory.
If a folder is not present but is needed, you (or your IT department) will have to map that network folder as a drive, or browse for it in the directory.
2. Select STL design and define the Design Type object
Select the STL file to import and the visualization of the STL will appear at the bottom window of the screen to double check the design to help you determine how to tell Millbox what type of object the STL is. Millbox uses the type object that you select for the design to determine what curves to generate and how to apply what milling steps to calculate for the unit.
Double-click the Visualization Window to pop-up the STL Viewer Window to inspect the unit.
Select the correct Type Object for your STL file. This will apply the correct milling operations for the design. The type selected will remain highlighted. For the unit in this example, the STL type is selected as a Full Contour Crown.
To learn more about the type object selections, and which one to select for your designs using CAP strategies, see this article for reference. The type objects are used to tell Millbox what curves to generate and how to apply the strategy template on how to calculate the toolpaths for the mill.
Importing multiple STLs
You can also select multiple STLs that are all the same type object and in the same folder to speed up importing files:
CTRL+left-click each STL file you want to select. To import all the files in a folder, click the first file in the list, then SHIFT+left-click the last file in the list; all the files in the folder will be selected.
Millbox will evaluate and generate curves needed to mill the STL, according to the type object selected.
3. Confirming and completing importing the STL
There are two options to finish importing the selected STL(s) into the job
- Import selected unit(s) and continue to import more STL units
Click the Import selected file button. This looks like a title bar but will allow you to import and stay in the Import STL view to continue.
- Import selected units(s) and continue to material selection menu
Click the Check Button to confirm importing the STL file and to move to the next step.
If you forgot to select the STL Type for the design, a pop-up will appear to let you know you need to select the object type.
Click OK to close the pop-up window and go back to the type section and make sure the type object is highlighted. Click the Check button.
The material selection menu will open automatically progress you to the next steps after selecting the check button and Millbox completes loading the STL.
From here, you can either:
- select a new or existing material blank
- import additional STL units in the disc
- Move/sprue/adjust the imported unit.
Importing additional STL units in reusable blanks
If you need to continue importing units after pressing the check button, you can click the blank menu button or click the X button on the bottom right corner of the blank menu.
You should then be able to click the Import Object menu button and repeat the STL import process described in this section.
Importing STLs using positional fixtures
This section assumes that you are already familiar with the disc milling setup.
When you select a material option that has a positional fixture defined for that machine and material, you should see the fixture and additional positions. Other fixture types may not have the same visual indicators as shown here, but they will follow the same workflow.
You should be aware that the fixture images are not always in the the same view orientation as the fixture in the main window. The final locations shown in the main view in the fixture are how the units will be milled.
The Import STL option will appear automatically and the unit selected will be placed in the position that was selected when setting up the job. The option to select the blank materials for that machine and fixture will appear next after the STL loads.
You can now select the material type and size needed to mill the unit.
Importing additional STLs using positional fixtures
To continue adding more units to the job, you can select a material blank to continue. Material selection and spruing details will be covered in a later section.
You can also chose to leave the blank selection menu to import more units but it is easier and faster to select the blank material when prompted after importing the STL. We will cover the workflow of importing STLs and selecting the material blank in this example as it's the preferred workflow.
To add additional units after the first unit is imported, click the Import STL button. A pop-up will ask you to select the position of the next unit to import. You will need to left click the next position to import.
Again as you can see in this example, the view orientation of the main job window is not the same as the position selection menu. You will have be aware of this behavior and adjust your selections relative to the orientation of the main view to the set fixture position menu images.
If you happen to selecting the same position will result in importing a unit into the same position. You will have to delete the unit and repeat the selection process.
Repeat all these steps until you have completed importing all the STLs you would like to mill in this job.