VOLUME AWARE GEOMODELS 3D PRINTING
Publication Date: 2014-Sep-04
The IP.com Prior Art Database
The system 400 may be configured to implement one or more embodiments of the method 300, but in others may implement any other method. The system 400 may include a geomodeling software platform 402, and a printing interface 404. A user 403 may interact with the platform 402, so as to create, manipulate, etc. a digital geomodel, or any other type of digital model. The user 403 may also interact with the printing interface 404, so as to define or otherwise input printing parameters. In one example, the printing parameters may include a number of digital models (e.g., one or more instances of the geomodel being edited in the platform 402, one or more instances of one or more geomodels stored in memory, etc.) to print. The system 400 may also include an engine 406, which may receive the geomodel(s) and/or printing settings. The engine may then calculate a bounding box, scale or otherwise translate the models received, and generate a printable file 408 including data related to the scaled models. The file may also include a buffer zone 409 (e.g., space or “no printing zone”) which may separate the models from one another in the file. The buffer zone 409 may allow for separation of the models after printing, for example. The file 408 may then be transmitted to a printer (not shown), which may print the model in three dimensions, resulting in a three-dimensional, physical model 410 that includes the models therein.
 Many different electronic formats have been defined to store digital computer models of the subsurface of the Earth containing reservoirs and other volumes of interest. Further, these 3D models are viewed as 2D representations on a flat computer monitor, allowing manipulation to give the impression of an interaction with a 3D object.
 Generally, these model formats have been optimized for considerations such as memory efficiency, processing speed, and suitability to geological or dynamic modeling problems. The improved cost-effectiveness ratio of computers and graphics hardware has contributed to new methods to generate photo-realistic scenes, which are known as “virtual reality” (VR). Developers and users of subsurface structural modeling systems have adopted VR to visualize spatial objects.
 Generally, physical models facilitate interpretation over digital models. Slight movements of the head or body suffice to compare heights, to solve optical ambiguities, or to reveal parts of the model that might be obscured in fixed view. A haptic experience may be valid not only for engineers, but also for decision-makers in regional planning with a limited experience or no access in using subsurface VR modeling platforms. Under certain circumstances, a real, physical, 3D model is able to transmit the geological message much better and faster than a digital model.
 Technically, bringing a 3D geomodel into a file format representation, which can be used by 3D printer technology providers, can be done. However a one-to-one conversion of a geomodel into a printable format may lead to ambiguities—notably when it comes to scales. When converting a 3D geomodel from a digital representation in geological software to a printable format, the volumes generated are generally of several millions of cubic meters, while a printable area on a printer is generally a few cubic meters or less. Also, in some circumstances, a user might want to print several 3D models at the same time.
Brief Description of the Drawings
 The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the present teachings and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present teachings. The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee. In the figures:
 Figure 1 illustrates a flowchart of a method for printing a model, according to an embodiment.
 Figure 2 illustrates a schematic view of a system for printing a model, according to an embodiment.
 Figure 3 illustrates a flowchart of another method for printing a model, according to an embodiment.
 Figure 4 illustrates a schematic view of another s...