On Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 09:15:55AM -0600, C Want wrote:
> I wrote a cheap hack a while back to produce STL output for the 
> Connolly surfaces in pymol to help send some models to a 3D printer.
> Please see these previous messages for a 'patch' and some pictures:
> http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=5856368
> http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=5933822
> We have some 3D printer users in our Biochemistry department that
> still use this hack to get their models out of pymol.

Speaking of which, thanks again for that code, Chris.  I finally
got around to patching and compiling pymol, printing out a few
files, and tracking down a Zcorp 3D printer on campus here.  The
nice people who run it worked with me to print out a few "parts"
as they refer to them.  I printed 4 different PDB files, one I
use in my demos in class, and one each from three structural
biology groups in the department.

The structure I use in class is a complex made up of two chains. 
I was gratified to see that when printed as separate chains, the
two parts can be "physically" docked against one another pretty
well.  I had hoped that would be the case, but it's an entirely
different matter to hold the two pieces in one's hands and to
actually try to get them to fit!

The print outs have been well received so far (I've had them for
little over a week now) and we'll see if it gets enough interest
for us to make more such models.

One thing I did run into was trying to find a way of viewing the
generated .stl files.  In my searching, I thought I might be
able to use a combination of GTS (http://gts.sourceforge.net)
and GeomView (http://packages.debian.org/geomview) to do this,
but when I tried to take the stl files through the first stage
of the conversion, I got an error about the input not being a
valid stl file.  I'm hoping to get my hands on an stl file from
another source (AutoCAD, maybe?) and seeing if I can tease out
what the problem is.

D. Joe Anderson, Asst. Sci.            2252 Molecular Biology Bldg.     
BBMB Research Computing Support
www.bb.iastate.edu/computing           bbsupp...@iastate.edu 

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