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How to get STL Thumbnail View using Windows Explorer

Discussion in 'Software' started by danzca6, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    For some time now I have been realizing that as you grow your STL collection for 3D printing that it gets hard sometimes finding just the right model you are looking for in a directory full of STL files. Standard windows explorer doesn't have the ability to show a thumbnail view of an STL file like it does for images, videos, and some documents. STL files don't have an embedded thumbnail to view either. So you need something to render the STL as an image. I didn't want to have to open another program and use their built in STL viewer like you can in Netfabb Basic. I wanted it to be easy and seamless. After searching for a week, and about to go into programming my own solution, I found a way to make this happen. A DLP 3D printer manufacturer called Kevvox has their own studio for their 3D printers. The full version of the studio lets you print, fix models, cut and merge models and much more. Seems to be specific for their printers though. I have no idea of what the cost of the full version is, but they do have a demo version available on their site. I found reference to a hidden feature of installing this studio demo on another forum. The demo is pretty crippled and not that useful since you can't save anything. But wait! There is one great thing that it does install on you system! You can download the demo for windows in 32 and 64 bit from here http://kevvox.com/3d-printers/software/. I installed it yesterday and never opened it. However, when going to my STL modeling directory I found a great surprise. All of my STL files now have a thumbnail preview when I set the directory to Medium, Large, or Extra Large Icons view. It's also surprisingly fast. See the screenshot below. I haven't had a chance to try it in Windows 8 or 10, but it works in 7. It won't change your default associated program for STLs if you already have that set. It will if nothing is set yet, but you can always change that without changing the preview functionality. From what I can see it doesn't do OBJ files. It will just do STL, SLC, KSP, and KSPX files. The KSP and KSPX are specific to Kevvox I think.

    Let me know if you try it on Windows 8 or 10 and it works for you. Hopefully others will find this useful. I have sure enjoyed it. Some model sites like download a multiple STL project with odd guid like names. So using this I can easily view and rename as appropriate.

    Note: In the installed directory, you will see a dll called STLThumbnailExtension.dll. I haven't tried, but I think if you were to manually reg this dll and its dependancies, that you may not have to do a full install. I will try that and post back if I find it works.

    Enjoy and Happy Printing!

    STLView.PNG

    UPDATE: Direct link to file in case site is under construction.

    http://www.pragmaticdesigns.com/K-Studio-Demo_x64_1.2.4.0.zip
     
    #1 danzca6, Jan 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
    Ryan TeGantvoort and Jutte like this.
  2. WheresWaldo

    WheresWaldo ✌(◕‿-)✌
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    @danzca6 - does it still work after you uninstall the kevvox software?
     
  3. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    No, but it must cache the images or something. I can go back to a directory after install and the files viewed prior are still there with the thumbnail, but a new file address won't generate a thumbnail.
     
  4. WheresWaldo

    WheresWaldo ✌(◕‿-)✌
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    Yes Windows caches the thumbnails. It is likely a single DLL used as an Explorer extension, If I have the time and am so inclined I might try to figure out which one it is to isolate it. If it is possible, it could be a simple matter of copying it to the Windows/System sub-directory and then registering the DLL.

    It's a good find.

    Autoruns still works with Windows 10 so it should be easy to find the proper DLL.
     
  5. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    STLThumbnailExtension.dll is the key I think. There are a couple dependencies in the install directory that you can see when you run a dependency check on the dll. Yeah I hope posting this here will benefit the community and I'm sure someone will get it scaled down to the bare necessity to make it work. I will play more with it as well. Just wanted to get it posted for others to try out.
     
    Mike Kelly likes this.
  6. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick update. I did test this in both Windows 8.1 and 10. Works the same in each. Still getting a lot of use from this and love being able to see a folder full of stl files and pick the correct one easily.
     
    Mike Kelly likes this.
  7. Terry Taylor

    Terry Taylor New Member

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    What was the final versiom? Install the software, copy the dll to a safe place. uninstall the software and copy the dll back to the Windows dll folder?
     
  8. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    I just install the program and go. I haven't done anymore with moving the dlls around. I did try a few times and didn't get anywhere. So, for now, it's just simpler to install the software and leave it. If anyone has more time to tinker with what the right recipe is for the dlls, then please let me know what you find to work.
     
  9. WheresWaldo

    WheresWaldo ✌(◕‿-)✌
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    I am going to work on this for a bit and see what I can come up with. I don't need more software installed since my boot SSD is small and filling up.
     
  10. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    That's great Waldo. Thanks. I have 1TB SSD for boot so I didn't think much of having another piece of software installed. Can't wait to see what you find.
     
  11. Julia Truchsess

    Julia Truchsess New Member

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    K-Studio previews worked perfectly for me under Win 7. Since installing Win 10 they have not worked at all. Tried doing a repair with the K-Studio installer (which had fixed it in the past when I accidentally re-associated STLs with another app) and that didn't work. Doing a complete uninstall, reinstall, and reboot didn't work either. I am so bummed - being able to preview STLs is a HUGE convenience and timesaver. Being forced to open a file in a 3D app just to see what the heck it is is absurd, especially after MSFTs big announcements a while back about how they were going to support 3D printing with printer drivers etc. I'd gladly pay money to have this feature back.
     
  12. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    Mine works great with WIndows 10. I upgraded from 7 pro to 10 pro. Did you change the view of the file explorer to be medium or large icons? What version of 10 are you running?
     
  13. Julia Truchsess

    Julia Truchsess New Member

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    I have Win 10 Home, 64-bit, upgraded via Windows Update after it pestered me for a month or two. I thought I had 7 Pro but maybe not. The icon size doesn't seem to make any difference in thumbnail view, but actually I greatly prefer "Details" view with the preview pane of the selected item on the right.
     
  14. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    well, my son's laptop has 10 home 64 bit. I will give it a go tonight to see if this feature still works. I am fairly sure I did test that prior to upgrading my main machine and it worked, but I will do a double check. I agree that it is a major loss not having the preview. I would not have upgraded if that was the case. My 10 pro is 64 bit as well. Hopefully we can get this sorted for you.
     
  15. Julia Truchsess

    Julia Truchsess New Member

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  16. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    Well, my son finally got done with his homework. I had upgraded his machine from windows 8.1 home to 10 home 64 bit. I didn't do the option to save apps, settings, or documents on his. So I did a fresh install of 64 bit K-Studio and setup my file explorer to be details with the preview pane on the right like you described. It seems to be working just fine. The file association is the 3d builder app from Windows 10, but I don't think that really matters. My PC has netfabb associated to stl files.

    I was really hoping it didn't work so I had something to work with to help you. Not sure why it isn't showing for you.

    Capture.PNG
     
  17. Julia Truchsess

    Julia Truchsess New Member

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    Well I'm glad that there's hope of my eventually getting it to work somehow. It's interesting that you still get the K-Studio previews after associating STLs with another app. Under Win7 that would always break the preview feature for me until I would re-run the K-Studio installer and select "repair", then they'd come back again, associated with K-Studio. Thanks for your help!
     
  18. Julia Truchsess

    Julia Truchsess New Member

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    Maybe I need to re-register the DLL? Or there's a permissions issue? Not a Windows maven here...
     
  19. danzca6

    danzca6 Well-Known Member

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    I've registered and unregistered the dlls, installed and uninstalled, and so on many times with k-studio to try to find the bare minimum components to get the preview to work. A fresh install always put things back to working. regsvr32 with 64 bit is a bit of a pain because there are two versions found in different paths. 32 bit is here (%systemroot%\SysWoW64\regsvr32.exe) and 64 bit is here (%systemroot%\System32\regsvr32.exe). I've logged in under an admin user and a standard user and the preview still worked. I would always add a new STL to a directory to make sure i wasn't seeing a cached image.

    Do you have another PC to try it with just to do a side by side? Maybe this is the only win 10 machine you have though.
     
  20. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ¯\_(⊙︿⊙)_/¯
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    I installed it on my machine (not the printer machine) and no joy.
    So not all windows 10 (64-bit) machines get that working with an install :)
     

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