Ribbon Structures Not Supported on Shapeways

My protein of interest failed to meet the printability checks when uploaded to Shapeways. Is Shapeways a viable printing service for the NIH 3D Print generated protein structures in ribbon representation?

Hi Godel, we haven't tried any ribbon structures on Shapeways yet. Did they give you any idea why? What model were you trying to print, and in what material?

Printing ribbons isn't easy, but Shapeways has access to a wide variety of technologies and materials. However, Shapeways' troubleshooting page says a model can be deemed not printable "Based upon the size, volume and wallthickness." It may be the case that a ribbon model at small scale is too fragile, depending on the material and method of printing.

If you can please share more details, I'm happy to look into it further. Solving the problem could be valuable for other users.

I uploaded this model to Shapeways to check their "printability." It works for everything but sandstone - which, unfortunately, is the only option if you want full color. The issue appears to be related to scale and thickness, at least when I uploaded the ribbon as STL or VRML, as it failed the "Wall Thickness Check." The minimum thickness for sandstone (which is actually a gypsum-based powder) is 2mm, because the material is more brittle. The issue is not that it isn't so much "printable" as it is too fragile to survive post-processing and shipping - Shapeways doesn't want unhappy customers sending back broken prints!

To get around this, you would have to scale up the size of the model so that the minimum thickness is 2mm or greater. I don't believe Shapeways allows one to do that through their site, so you'd have to do it manually. You could try doing this in Meshlab, an open source software: http://meshlab.sourceforge.net/. It will import VRML files. This is on our list to create a video tutorial, but you might give it a try and see if that helps, you probably want a bigger-sized print anyways, as the default output is small.

The thicknesses (and heights) of ribbon geometry components can be easily adjusted in Chimera by clicking Tools > Depiction > Ribbon Style Editor

Verma Walker (from the NIH Library), also pointed out that a user had modified the thicknesses of ribbon structures for printing when preparing a model through PyMol as well.  Maybe she can share that info here too?

Making the "height" and the arrows, which interconnect the various parts thicker and more robust, will ensure it's easier to print and won't fall apart when removing support structures.  I can post more input on printing ribbons with FDM in the other thread.




Can someone post a link to the info about thickening a ribbons structure in Pymol?  I printed this GFP structure and it worked out so well!  I'd like to be able to achieve this quality with other structures.  After googling this topic, this is what I found:  http://www.pymolwiki.org/index.php/Ribbon_width.  However, it turns out that "cartoon" is what corresponds to "ribbons" in Pymol and I seem to be at a dead end on thickening cartoons.  Would appreciate thoughts.

Sincerely,  Jessica P.

This link looks like it has the information: http://www.pymolwiki.org/index.php/Cartoon#Adjusting_width_of_cartoon

It seems the commands are:

show cartoon tube (selection)




What about using




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