[OpenSCAD] Ovals

arnholm at arnholm.org arnholm at arnholm.org
Thu Sep 6 02:55:44 EDT 2018

On 2018-09-05 22:27, FourthDr wrote:
> What do you mean by "2-manifold"? I thought manifold was well, 
> manifold.
> There is some other type of manifold?

2-manifold edge means that edge is referenced by exactly 2 faces. 
1-manifold edge means it is referenced by exactly 1 face and that face 
is then obviously not contributing to a closed volume boundary. In 
general, an edge being N-manifold means the edge is referenced by N 
faces. In loose language you could say a face is non-manifold if it 
refers to at least one edge that is not 2-manifold.

In 3d-printing it is common to require all edges to be 2-manifold, 
because the faces will then unambiguously define one or more closed 
volumes. If you had a more sophisticated representation of volumes with 
sub-volumes using e.g. different materials, it would make a lot of sense 
to allow N-manifold edges for N>2, but it is not possible within a 
single STL.

An STL file contains disconnected triangles ("polygon soup"), i.e. faces 
with exactly 3 edges. An edge runs between 2 vertices. A vertex has XYZ 
coordinates.  Strictly speaking, in STL files all edges are 1-manifold, 
because there is no concept of edge or vertex sharing, all vertices (and 
coordinates) are repeated for every triangle, hence it is a "polygon 
soup". It is up to the software reading the STL file to have a guess at 
what matches what and which manifoldness it is supposed to represent, 
and this often leads to conflicting interpretations. STL is (somewhat) 
OK for slicer programs, but not really a good choice for import to CAD 
programs, due to the interpretation issues mentioned. As mentioned, 
there are other formats that are less ambiguous, including WaveFront 

Carsten Arnholm

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