gray scale depth map to STL ?

Ok, I’ve created some gray scale depth map images that I want to mill using Estlcam. It looks like Estlcam doesn’t import depth maps (unless I am missing something). I’ve searched the forum and can’t seem to find any results. What program do others use to convert gray scale images to STL mesh files? I know Artcam does it, but, I am looking for open source or a free way of doing it. I can’t afford Artcam right now.

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for because it converts to gcode, not stl.

Thanks, I got a bit busy right now, will have to chk it out later. Looks like this does the whole thing, converts to 3d and creates the tool paths. I am not sure it will do exactly what i need though. I was wanting to convert the grayscale 16 bit tiff files to a 3D mesh, then have Estlcam create the tool paths, using multiple bits - a rough cut using 6.36mm and then a ball nose 3.18mm bit. Estlcam does the multiple passes, but, i don’t see that it can read a tiff depthmap, It needs an stl mesh file.

So many CNC shops use the grayscale depthmaps - and use programs like ArtCam or Aspire. I’m surprised that Estlcam doesn’t have the option of creating 3d from grayscale.

I tried Blender - starting with a plane, dividing it into a fine mesh, then using an image file as a displacement creating the 3d mesh, but, i don’t know Blender good enough to know what i am doing. I get a 3d mesh, but, I need precise control over the size and mapping, and i am lost in blender how to control it. The displaced 3d mesh doesn’t align or scale right to the plane i create.

Artcam and Aspire can do what i want. Aspire seems the best, but, i am trying to find free or affordable- and something that will work with Estlcam

This is how I did it two years ago, Not sure if it’s still relevant.

I have “questionable” copies of pretty much every software package that has been mentioned in these forums. Alas, I try to stick to the open-source stuff when possible but I was a shameless pirate in a past life and those tendencies still persist:) Shame on me…

Vicious1 - I will take a look, but, it says it only reads HTG files, which i take it are height topography type files. So, then i would have to convert the TIFF to HTG, and if those are only 8bit gray scale, that would limit the height to 256 levels. 16 bit TIFF files can have 65k levels of depth, giving a far smoother result.

I know Aspire will do it, but, not going to shell out $2k for just that. I have seen some links to older programs, and either the sites are gone, or the programs are missing dll files i haven’t found yet.

Yes, there is always ye’ ole ways of the pirates - but, i’ve been trying to keep a clean ship lately… I am fine paying the 50-60$ for Estlcam - it gets the job done and isn’t priced outrageously too high. Christian deserves earning income for his time. But, 2k or more for a program… prices like that is what keeps the pirates busy.

It was a long time ago, and I was helping a friend with his GIS presentation. I just assumed it would work with any grey scale image. Sorry.

Try this one:

I don’t really have any 16 bit TIFF files to test but I found a simple TIFF online and the software will open and convert it.

Leo69 Great Thanks,
that one looks like it will do what i want. It does read in 16 bit TIFF files, but, i would need to do more testing to see if it is using the full resolution. But, otherwise it seems to do what i was looking for. Simple and fast, and if it is open source, and source code is available, then Estlcam should incorporate it into it’s own program.

I noticed the resolution setting can be set lower for more detail.I tried with zero and it looked pretty good . Like you mentioned, whether or not it’ll work with full 16 bits image remains to be seen.