Many 3D applications, like Sketchup, Blender, Maya and 3D Studio Max, use meshes as their primary type of 3D object. Since meshes are very simple objects, containing only vertices (points), edges and triangular faces, they are very easy to create, modify, subdivide, stretch, and can easily be passed from one application to another without any loss of details. In addition, since meshes contain very simple data, 3D applications can usually manage very large quantities of them without using a lot of resources. For these reasons, meshes are often the 3D object type of choice for applications dealing with movies, animation, and image creation.
However, in the field of engineering meshes present one big limitation: they are only made of surfaces, and have no mass information, so they don't behave as solids. This means that all solid-based operations, such as addition or subtraction, are difficult to perform on meshes. The Mesh Workbench is useful to import 3D data in mesh format, to analyse it, detect errors, and finally convert it to a solid, for use with the Part Workbench.
All Mesh Workbench tools can be accessed from the Meshes menu. Some tools are also available in the Mesh tools toolbar.
- Import mesh...: Imports a mesh from file.
- Export mesh...: Exports a mesh to file.
- Curvature plot: Calculates the curvature of the vertices of a mesh.
- Harmonize normals: Harmonizes the normals of a mesh.
- Flip normals: Flips the normals of a mesh.
- Fill holes...: Closes holes in a mesh.
- Close hole: Interactively closes holes in a mesh.
- Add triangle: Adds a triangle to a mesh.
- Remove components...: Removes independent components from a mesh.
- Remove components by hand...: Marks a component for removal from a mesh.
- Create mesh segments...: Creates mesh segments.
- Create mesh segments from best-fit surfaces...: Creates mesh segments from best-fit surfaces.
- Smooth...: Smooths meshes.
- Scale...: Scales meshes.
- Regular solid... Creates a regular solid mesh.
- Merge: Merges meshes.
- Preference Import-Export
More mesh tools are available in the OpenSCAD Workbench.