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As noted here, .dae export does not work correctly for use of .dae meshes in gazebo since Blender versions > 2.49 . So everyone having problems like those described in my original posting should probably first check their Blender versions.

A workaround is opening files in meshlab and re-saving as .dae (but some properties might get lost in that process).

As noted here, .dae export does not work correctly for use of .dae meshes in gazebo since Blender versions > 2.49 . So everyone having problems like those described in my original posting should probably first check their Blender versions.

After playing around some more, it turns out that you have to convert your mesh data to triangles first for the Blender 2.61 .dae export (Select all, then CTRL+T). Apparently, quads will be saved to the COLLADA file otherwise, which gazebo cannot interpret correctly, leading to the polygon mess in the images I posted.

A workaround is opening files in meshlab and re-saving as .dae (but some properties might get lost in that process).

As noted here, .dae export does not work correctly for use of .dae meshes in gazebo since Blender versions > 2.49 . So everyone having problems like those described in my original posting should probably first check their Blender versions.

After playing around some more, it turns out that you have to convert your mesh data to triangles first for the Blender 2.61 .dae export (Select all, then CTRL+T). Apparently, quads will be saved to the COLLADA file otherwise, which gazebo cannot interpret correctly, leading to the polygon mess in the images I posted.posted. The model still has it's backfacing polygons rendered for me though, as described with pictures in the original post.

A Another workaround is opening files in meshlab and re-saving as .dae (but some properties might get lost in that process).

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Update with some more insights

As noted here, .dae export does not work correctly for use of .dae meshes in gazebo since Blender versions > 2.49 . So everyone having problems like those described in my original posting should probably first check their Blender versions.

After playing around some more, it turns out that you have to convert your mesh data to triangles first for the Blender 2.61 .dae export (Select all, then CTRL+T). Apparently, quads will be saved to the COLLADA file otherwise, which gazebo cannot interpret correctly, leading to the polygon mess in the images I posted. The model occassionally still has it's backfacing polygons rendered for me though, as described with pictures in the original post.post. Update: In this case, a export to .stl, opening that file in meshlab, saving to stl again, and re-importing to blender usually fixes the issue. This doesn't hurt too much if one first models geometry, then checks it in gazebo, and only afterwards applies material and textures. OTOH, doing the materials and textures and finding out something with rendering is wrong afterwards can be pretty annoying.

Another workaround is opening files in meshlab and re-saving as .dae (but some properties might get lost in that process).