Pix4D outputs for 3D printing


Pix4D can generate a 3D textured mesh which can be exported in the following formats: .ply, .fbx, .dxf, .obj, .pdf. This 3D textured mesh can be imported into a preferred mesh editor or model slicer.

In order to print, first define the thickness of the 3D object to be printed as well as the scale. 

In order to prepare a model for 3D printing in Pix4D, the base (platform) has to be made. To add the base and make the model printable in Pix4D: 

1. Define manual tie points (MTPs) all along the hull of the mesh. 
2. Offset these MTPs along the z-axis to have a stable base. As a minimum requirement, the MTPs should have the lowest altitude value of the whole project.
3. To complete the base, create surfaces for the base. Firstly, connect the MTPs on the sides. Manually create all the surfaces from the top MTPs to the bottom MTPs, and use the counterclockwise direction to connect points.
4. Manually create the bottom surface (with all the bottom MTPs), and orient the surface towards the bottom (for example from the bottom view use a counterclockwise direction).
5. Ensure to select the option in the right sidebar that all the surfaces will be used for mesh generation and generate the mesh. 



The 3D textured mesh can be imported into third-party software and edited for 3D printing.

Using Meshmixer

1. Import OBJ mesh into Meshmixer.
2. Fill in gaps and holes.
3. Make a flat bottom.
4. Export to save it as an STL file.

For more information on how to edit a model in Meshmixer and prepare it for 3D printing, click here.

Using Blender

1. Turn a mesh into a 3D printable object, using Blender: www.makerbot.com.
2. Print using MakerBot.

For more information, click here.


Disclaimer: Pix4D publishes this information as a courtesy to its customers. Pix4D makes no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, with respect to the content's validity or accuracy.

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  • Niken Andika Putri

    Hi everyone, I'd like to ask about where the color information of 3d mesh is located?

    And how to make the 3d mesh output have the color information for printing?

    I'd like to print the output as 3d model, and it's need more editing, but the editor said that the .obj file doesn't have color information.

    Is there any step that I skip? I'll wait for your responses.

    Thank you.

  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Niken,

    A Pix4D Mesh exported as an OBJ has 3 components. The first is the actual OBJ file that stores the geometry of the model. The second file is the MTL file which maps texture and color to the OBJ file. The third is a texture JPEG which actually has the color information that is to be mapped with the MTL. In order to get the model to appear as it does in Pix4D, you have to import all three of these. 

    You should note that for most printers you will only need the geometry, as color will be limited to the number of extruders that you have. Even then, usually multi-color prints are done using segmented models and not color information. 

    Hope this helps!

  • Niken Andika Putri

    Hi Holden,

    Thank you for your explanations.

  • Holden (Pix4D)

    No Problem! If you are interested in printing with multiple colors check out the video in the link below. This is the cutting edge for consumer multicolor printing. This does not use the color info from the texture but I thought you would think it was cool at least. 


  • Sandesh Dulal

    Hello everyone,

    I've been trying to export my 3D Model to 3D PDF Format in my MacBook but there is no option to export the triangle meshes. What should be done to export the triangular meshes to 3D PDF format?

  • Avatar
    Beata (Pix4D)

    Hi Sandesh,

    In general, you should be able to export your 3D Textured Mesh marking 3D PDF in the Processing Options as in the screenshot below.

    Or, as you presented, setting the export directly from the output layer.

    However, you mentioned that you are using Mac OS. Unfortunately, we stopped supporting it in February 2018.

    Therefore, the 3D PDF might be not available in Pix4Dmapper 3.0.18. - the last available version for Mac OS.

    If the 3D PDF doesn't exist in the Processing Options, you would need to do the process on Windows. 



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