I'm looking for a way to slice up a 3D model and then get the profiles of each individual layer. I need to 2D print the different layers (with the layer height that I define) for a Styrofoam craft.
Thank you very much!
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I'm a fan of OpenSCAD and have used the method suggested in the first answer. For non-OpenSCAD users, another option exists, which I've also used.
PrusaSlicer is a free 3D printer slicing program. One can configure layer heights as desired for the material thickness, even though it's not likely one will find a printer with such values, except perhaps concrete 3D printers!
Once configured and sliced, the exported file (configured for a Prusa SL1 printer) is renamed to .ZIP and the files within extracted. The files of note are going to be PNG format, one file per layer.
The settings within the slicer software have to be "adjusted" for your creation.
In Print Settings tab, change the layer height to match your material thickness. Also in the Print Settings tab, turn off supports and turn off pad (left column selections).
In Material Settings tab, change the Initial layer height to match your overall layer thickness. Unchanged, it remains the default 0.05 mm, unlikely to match your building material.
On the Printer Settings tab, change the bed shape to match your objective plus a bit of spacing around the item. Change the max height appropriately.
Set the Display Width parameters to match your output. Excessively large values will result in small model segments in a large blank area. Set pixel values to desired resolution of the output image file. For example, 200 is equivalent to a typical inkjet printer resolution.
I performed all of the above steps for a simple cube, exported the file to the default .SL1 extension, renamed it to .ZIP and extracted to a folder. The folder contained a number of support files for the MSLA printer, but also a full list of the layer .PNG files. Depending on your system settings, you may be able to change the extension in the Save dialog to .ZIP.
If PNG is not a suitable format, one can convert them to SVG using Inkscape bitmap trace or similar software.
I recommend to create a model with some form of registration incorporated to the design. One can create and subtract a pair of cylinders, for example, that travels through each layer, allowing insertion of a dowel to more easily stack the slices for assembly.
One can add primitives within the slicer, but they fall to the bed and also cannot be subtracted, at least so far as my limited research has shown. I've used Fusion 360 and Meshmixer to create such modifications.
Another aspect of the slicer is the ability to hollow the model, which would provide for some interesting constructions as well as possibly easier alignment.
This should be a .GIF animation of the results of my testing on Astronaut Phil A Ment, 1 millimeter layer height:
stltopng conversion of original STL file of Phil: