How annoying is it when you get half way through a print and it fails for no apparent reason? If you don’t know then let me tell you, it’s a level of frustration only previously felt during openings of vacuum packed technology without scissors. There’s rarely an explanation to a failed print and it could happen at any stage; minutes or hours into a print. You turn your back for one second and there lies a melted mess, while your printer ploughs on thinking it is doing a great job.
The only thing you can do is make sure that your STL file is as complete and watertight as possible, if you’ve made it yourself you can assure the quality but if you are downloading from Thingiverse or such like, it is difficult to tell. Until netfabb came along that is.
Netfabb Studio Basic is a free piece of software that analyses and repairs STL files so that they can be 3D Printed. They’ve just made it even easier to check your STL files with netfabb Cloud Services.
All you have to do now to check an STL is upload it here, and the free browser-based software will do the rest. They claim that a whopping 95% of corrupt files can be repaired without any manual intervention.
Service bureaus like Shapeways are already using the software, under the slightly shinier guise of Mesh Medic, but if you’re printing at home make sure you use this before going ahead with any print. It's a bit like checking your tyres before long journeys, it will save you time and money in the long run.