Recently we’ve been getting questions concerning 3D printing file management, especially file names and limitations. I’ll try to answer the question that came up and give some pointers for future reference.
A problem that one customer had was that Objet Studio would crash on certain files, but there was no problem with other programs accessing the same file. It turns out that Objet Studio doesn’t handle special characters (@, #, $, %, ^, & and similar) in file names or paths. The path name will include the folder the file is in as well as the parent folder(s) and network path, so special characters in any of these will cause a failure. If your network or naming conventions include these special characters your only recourse would be to create a local folder and rename the files to eliminate the characters. A recommendation is to avoid using special characters in any file names or paths as a matter of policy, discuss this with your network administrator if necessary.
Another thing to think about is where to store the printer specific files that are created when processing files. Catalyst (for Dimension machines), by default, puts the .cmb.gz file in the directory that the .stl file is stored in, giving it the name of the .stl file with the new extension. This is convenient because you can save processing time if you need another copy by just selecting Insert CMB from the pack view. You can also save a pack that is printed often by creating the pack you need and selecting Save As near the bottom of the pack view. When doing this you can rename the pack for easier reuse, the default is Pack_(first file name in the pack).
Insight and Control Center (for Fortus machines) creates a new folder in the folder that the .stl file is in. This folder contains the .cmb file as well as a log file with processing details, a screen shot of the model as oriented and a few others. This folder will be named SSYS_(stl file name). Other than this this same rules apply as for Catalyst.
Objet Studio (for Objet machines) wants to put its tray file in the last place you stored one. If you never select another location it will be in the folder that Objet Studio is installed in, and the naming convention is tray1.objtf, tray2.objtf and so on. Not as useful or user friendly for sure. However, Objet Studio gives you the option to relocate each file when you create it, using the standard Windows file save window. I recommend saving these in a manner similar to Insight and Catalyst, in the folder that the .stl file was saved in, and renaming them to reflect the .stl model for ease of reuse. If you have models from several locations you will have to determine where would be most suitable to save the tray file (.objtf). The tray file is similar to a pack file, in that it allows you to reprint an entire tray. The limitation is if you relocate or modify the .stl files, the tray file may no longer work as it only contains file and orientation information, not toolpaths.
Good luck with your 3D printers and if you have any questions please let us know. We’re always looking to help our customers in any way we can!