I'm investigating algorithms to make a mesh watertight for 3d printing. I'd be very excited to implement such algorithms. The initial input is a mesh which is not watertight and I want to understand and implement algorithms to transform it to make it suitable for 3d printing.

Here is a good explanation about watertight meshes: http://support.ponoko.com/entries/20217167-creating-watertight-meshes-for-3d-printing

I've heard that the key to watertight meshes is shrink wrapping. I'm completely new to meshes.

  • What are the most common shrink wrapping algorithms?
  • Where can I find open source implementations?
  • Where can I find real world inputs?

1 Answer 1


Making a mesh watertight

There are several efficient algorithms to make a mesh watertight, historically, in Stanford, the pionneers of 3D Scanning developed the Zipper algorithm: https://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/zipper/

Then many algorithms were developed, you may refer for instance to the following website maintained by friends of mine: http://www.meshrepair.org/

It has references to several tutorial materials that we wrote with colleagues. See in particular the 'Model repair' chapter of the book that I co-authored with them Polygon Mesh Processing [1].

On meshrepair.org, you will also find references to implementations (including the Graphite software that I am developing). The latest version of my Graphite software (3.x) has implementation of several mesh repair algorithm. It can be downloaded from:


Sources of real world examples

Many examples of scanned meshes are available from the Aim at Shape repository:


Most of the models in this website are available in both raw format and post-processed watertight format.


[1] Botsch, Mario, Leif Kobbelt, Mark Pauly, Pierre Alliez, and Bruno Lévy. Polygon mesh processing. CRC press, 2010.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you one of the creators of meshrepair.org? If so, please just mention that explicitly in you answer. You might also more explicitly say that you're an author of the pmp book although that is already implied ("our book"). It's always nice to have full disclosure. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2015 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ OK, will edit to make it clearer for the book (for meshrepair.org, I'm not an author of it, but it is maintained by friends of mine, I will make that clearer as well) $\endgroup$
    – BrunoLevy
    Aug 30, 2015 at 14:15

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