With the free Mineways program you can interactively select a model from a Minecraft 1.7.2 or earlier world map and have a 3D printing service make the model real. You don't need a 3D printer, and it's easy to upload and buy models - really! See the two-minute introductory video. Prices of 3D prints range from $5 to $500, depending on size. Or, just enjoy viewing and rendering your creation in a different way (but for rendering you should probably be using jmc2obj). Kids like it, too.
Below are some 3D prints (the village on the far right predates Mineways, but is made on the same type of printer); click on an image to see more of that object, or visit the Mineways Flickr group for the whole set:
Super-fast quickstart for 3D printing: Download and unzip Mineways to some directory. Double-click mineways.exe to run. Use "File | Open World" to select a world. Use the left mouse button to drag the map around, use the mousewheel to zoom. Drag with the right mouse button to select an area on the map and to adjust this rectangle. Optionally use the middle mouse button or "Lower depth" slider to select a depth. Export the model for 3D printing by "File | Export for 3D Printing..." - just hit "OK" on the Options dialog. Not clear? Watch this quick introduction or this longer tutorial to see what's what. You can find more tutorials on the video playlist.
Problems? See the Troubleshooting Guide.
Exporting creates a .zip file by default. To preview your model, unzip the .zip file (there is also a checkbox on export, "Create files themselves", to avoid unzipping) and open the .wrl file with MeshLab or other VRML file viewer. If you want to 3D print your model, create a free Shapeways account and upload the .zip file. Once the model is processed by Shapeways (a few minutes), you can order it - make sure to select "colored sandstone" for the material. As an example, here's my non-profit store. Note that no part of this process will cost you anything, unless you actually order something.
What to try next: check out the "Export lesser blocks" feature, which lets you get more detail. This feature is not on by default because it has some risks - read up! To learn more about other options work through the documentation page, the information is pretty much in order of importance.
Super-fast quickstart for rendering: Same as for 3D printing export, but instead select "File | Export for Rendering..." - just hit "OK" on the Options dialog. You can preview the output OBJ file by using G3D, MeshLab, or any other OBJ file viewer. To import the model to a rendering program, see this area of the documentation.
Mac users: Download Mineways for Mac, version 3.02. To load your world, you need to navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/saves/ and select the level.dat file there - see this video. If you can't find the Application Support/minecraft folder, open up the Terminal utility (Applications -> Utilities) and then type "chflags nohidden ~/Library". If you are warned that the terrainExt.png file is not found, use "File | Set Terrain File" and look for it in Downloads/osxmineways or wherever you put mineways.exe.
Installation notes: You must use the Update:Uninstall.command file in this download to remove any previous version before installing. This program requires X11 for Mac OS X, which comes with the xcode tools, as found on the Mac OS X Install DVD. How to install xcode can be found here. If you are using Minecraft 1.1 or older, download v1.15 for Mac. Ported to the Mac OS X platform by Psp4804 by using WINE.
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The most useful links:
- Download the latest Windows version of Mineways (version 3.03, updated 11/17/2013), which also runs on Linux under WINE. This version supports Minecraft 1.2 through 1.7.2. If you are still using Minecraft 1.1 or older, you should use Mineways Version 1.15 to read these files. The following texture pack terrain PNG files are included for use with Mineways ("File | Set terrain.png for export"), by permission of their creators (thanks!) - go here to see previews:
- Video Playlist - includes tutorials, such as a quick run through, a walkthrough of the basics, and more advanced methods, like how to turn off the export of glass blocks.
- The main Mineways page - go here for an in-depth version of this page, including source code download, Linux version advice, etc.
Here are some of my favorites on Shapeways by other people:
Here's my little non-profit shop at Sculpteo (move your mouse over any image, it's cool):
From the Mineways Flickr pool and elsewhere; click on a photo to see more: