How To Prepare STL Files
STL is a triangulated representation of a 3D CAD version (Figure 1). The triangulation (or poly matter) of a surface will motive faceting of the 3D model. The parameters used for outputting a STL will have an effect on how a whole lot faceting occurs (Figures 2 and 3). You can not build the choices version smoother than the STL document. If the choices STL is coarse and faceted the physical 3D printed version could be coarse and faceted as well. However, the smoother/ much less faceted your surface is, (the better the poly rely or triangulation) the bigger your document. 3D printing can best be given a positive document size; consequently it’s vital to discover a balance among your version, its desired floor, and the 3-D printing manner of your desire. When exporting to STL to your CAD package deal, you can see parameters for chord height, deviation, attitude tolerance, poly depend, or something similar. These are the parameters that have an effect on the choices faceting of the choices STL. We’ve compiled pointers on exporting for the choices satisfactory “surface: file” length ratio underneath. Preparing your files The following step-by way of-step commands for changing CAD documents to STL got here from each CAD software program enterprise’s internet site or from 3-d printing and design person boards; it’s an standard simplified step-with the aid of-step technique from the choices greater 3D printing network. If your CAD software is not listed under or in case you require extra assistance, please contact your CAD software technical support for statistics approximately exporting to an STL. Select your CAD software: 3D Modeling for Beginners Tinkercad SketchUp three-D Modeling for Engineers Autodesk Inventor CATIA IronCAD Rhinoceros PTC Creo Parametric Solid Edge SolidWorks NX three-D Modeling for Artists Blender ZBrush Maya Don’t have CAD software? SolidView is an affordable solution for non-CAD customers to put together STL files from many famous CAD codecs. Start your free trial today. Tinkercad Tinkercad is incredible for 3D printing simple geometrical gadgets. Its interface became created with 3-d printing in thoughts. Design > Download for 3-d Printing > .STL SketchUp SketchUp does no longer offer STL advent directly inside the program. Download the extension for .STL right here (be aware: this plugin is open-supply and updated frequently). Download and deploy the choices plugin Select Tools > Export to DXF or STL and choose the choices units to your model (millimeters is usually recommended) Tip: SketchUp isn’t inherently constructed for version production consequently it’s useful to check your SketchUp report for additional characteristic accuracies once it’s exported from the interface. We recommend uploading your SketchUp file into Meshmixer (a free application from Autodesk) to check your report for faceting and connect any floor flaws. Note: We don’t endorse Sketchup for use with 3D printing because it does now not export nicely and is satisfactory for early design sketches as opposed to generating bodily fashions. Autodesk Inventor Select IPro > Print > 3-d Print Preview Select Options and select preferred decision and click OK Within the preview window, pick Save Copy As or Send to 3-D Print Service Save As type to STL File (*.stl) Note: The “High” setting will even produce the biggest document length. From Low, Medium to High, the choices hairdryer sample document in Inventor went from approximately 6.7MB to 17.6MB to 50MB. Tip: Before finalizing your export, pick the choices Options tab. Within this window, you can pick the decision (faceting) on your model (High, Medium, Low and Custom) and take a look at that your units are accurate. The “High” setting will produce a huge document length. Autodesk Inventor lets in you to store each individual parts and assemblies in STL format, in any respect design levels. For a short evaluate of designing in Inventor, click here. To take a look at your modifiers were carried out earlier than exporting: Tools > Rebuild All (this ensures that the choices design records contains current changes, and that it is not corrupt) File > Save Copy As > STL (.stl) Select High and click OK Note: To trade the values associated with each of the choices resolution settings (High/Medium/Low) you want to edit the Windows registry. CATIA Select STL command (we suggest setting most segmentation to zero.half mm) Select the model > Yes > Export Note: CATIA V5 is able to growing STL documents from CATPart files, but no longer from assemblies (CATProduct files) or geometrical representations (car documents). Therefore, supply documents, together with those saved in a impartial format (i.e. STEP or IGES), have to be stored as CATParts. If the supply design changed into stored as an meeting, it is imported to CATIA as a CATProduct. To create an STL file from it, you ought to first convert it to a multi-bodied element. The system defined beneath is one in all several strategies for doing this. Saving CATProduct documents as CATPart Files for 3-D printing: File Menu > Open > pick your supply report (assemblies import as CATProduct) Save the choices imported CATProduct file Select File > New > Part > Name the brand new element Select one element from your master CATProduct File and replica it Paste the choices element in a brand new element window Repeat steps and until you have copied all of the components and pasted them as person parts Once you have got the choices assembly completely separate into person additives, choose File > New Part Copy each of the character additives from the running documents and paste them into the brand new blended version record (the geometries of all the components should keep and align effectively within the blended component) The new element is now ready to be exported as an STL report Select Tools > Generate CATPart from Product Finally, Select File > Salve As > Save as type: STL Tip: Occasionally a number of the choices components may not align effectively in the combined component due to the manner the original meeting became designed. To align parts, pick Insert Menu > Constraints Feature. Before saving the choices document, it’s miles beneficial to review the choices settings that determine model accuracy and report length. To see these parameters: Tools > Options In the Options dialog field, display the choices Performance tab Under the choices General category (on the choices left), select Display Review three-D Accuracy settings Tip: Curves’ accuracy ratio: The better the choices putting, the choices smoother the surface may be while coping with complicated geometries, particularly if surfaces incorporate surprising small modifications with small radii (like the bumps on a golfing ball). IronCAD Right-click on on the component Click Part Properties > Rendering Set Facet Surface Smoothing to one hundred fifty File > Export Select .STL Note: IronCAD can export in many file codecs depending in your geometry. Tip: When operating in assembly mode, you must keep each of the choices element parts as individual STL files. The approaches for doing so are described beneath. Saving a model layout in STL format: Open the choices version layout in IronCAD. Right-click on the choices element and pick out Part Properties > Part conversation field Make positive that the choices Rendering tab is displayed Change the choices Surface Smoothness placing to an appropriate cost in your model. If you haven’t installed the ideal fee, try 150. The better the choices number, the choices smoother the model floor may be. Change the choices Max Edge Length setting to the right cost on your version. If you haven’t hooked up the best price, attempt zero.05. This placing produces desirable effects, however will increase document length and might require numerous mins to render the model to STL format. To create smoother version surfaces whilst designing spherical and torus geometries, pick out the Triangulated Mesh take a look at box. Selecting this check container effects in large STL files, however might also produce smoother curves in models. If the surfaces of the choices model design are planes, this putting does no longer improve the choices consequences. Click OK to keep the settings and close the choices conversation field. File > Export > STL In the choices Stereolithography conversation container, make sure PC is chosen, and pick out the choices Binary Output take a look at container. Click OK to store the settings and create the choices STL document. Rhinoceros Select Object Mesh > From a NURBS Object Select Polygon Mesh > Detailed Controls Maximum factor ratio: 2.0 Perspective > Rendered View > Observe smoothness and verify it meets standards To take a look at that your mesh is uniform: Select the brand new object mesh > Analyze > Mass Properties > Volume Rhinoceros four File > Save As Select File Type as STL Select File Name > Save Select Binary Select Detail Controls from Mesh Options Max attitude = 20, Max aspect ratio = 6, Min side duration = 0.0001 Click OK Tip: Check your items geometry and surface in the Object Properties tab to make certain object uniformity. Rhinoceros Version three and Later Rhinoceros enables significant manage of STL houses whilst saving designs as STL documents. Because Rhinoceros software program is floor-based, the whole version design (even supposing an assembly) is stored as a unmarried STL element. Saving a version design in STL format Select Part > File > Export Selected > In the choices Save As Type field, select Stereolithography (*.stl) Click Save In the choices STL Mesh Export Options dialog container, set the choices STL tolerance – the most distance allowed between the surface of the choices layout and the polygon mesh of the choices STL report. If you do no longer know the other settings appropriate in your version design, strive these: Tolerance: Less than half of of the printer’s resolution. For instance, the placing shown in the figures above (0.01 mm) is a superb putting for printing models at a resolution of zero.03 mm Maximum Angle: Default Maximum Aspect Ratio: Default Maximum Edge Length: Clear Maximum Edge Length: Clear Maximum Initial Grid Quads: Default Refine Mesh: Check Pack Textures: Check Click OK In the choices STL Export Options dialog container, set the choices file kind as Binary and click OK Note: If the Export open objects test box is chosen, STL files could be created for each of the choices items currently open. If this test box is cleared, an STL report is created for the selected object. Important: STL documents are suitable for 3-D printing if the fashions they describe are “watertight”, this is, they do now not comprise holes or gaps. If an errors message seems, click Cancel and fix the choices model layout earlier than saving it as an STL report. Steps for solving mesh in Rhinoceros are special underneath. Troubleshooting Model Designs If a model design includes holes or gaps, it isn’t always suitable for 3-D printing. Before saving it as an STL document, you should make it “watertight.” To near holes and gaps in a version design: Check your item for mistakes: Command = Checknewobjects Surface errors will show Delete trouble surfaces: Command = Selbad Command: Rebuildedges Analyze Naked Edges: Analysis > Show Edges/ Edges Off > Command = Showedges Select item > Enter Within communicate box, select Naked Edges Highlighted strains are naked edges and have to be joined to the relaxation of your model Fix Naked Edges Option 1: Command = _Mesh This will create a mesh from the choices NURBS geometry (save your authentic NURBS report before doing this) Command = _Showedges This will detect bare edges Command = Fillhole If you can not find the Fillhole command, open your Tools tab and select Toolbar Layout From the menu, test the container for Bonus Tools The Bonus Tools window will open Select Fill Mesh Hole If you’ve got hassle, make certain you’ve got the choices proper updates installed Option 2: Click the Mesh from Surface/ Polysurface icon from toolbar Polygon Mesh communicate field will open Click Detailed Control > Polygon Mesh Detailed Options speak box will open Enter preferred settings > OK Select whole object Tools menu > Polygon Mesh > Weld Command = 180 for perspective tolerance The Weld command will merge adjoining triangle points whilst 180 angle tolerance is about Validate the item is watertight Command = SelNakedMeshEdgePt If the resulting object incorporates holes or gaps, the choices mesh desires fixed Repeat the choices Save As system PTC Creo 3-d printing in PolyJet: File > Print > 3-D Print Define Material Define STL decision Tip: Check your document for printability thru the choices Printability Validation Tab Retired PTC Creo Formats: Pro/ENGINEER File > Export > Model Set type to STL Set chord peak to 0. The area will be replaced with the aid of minimum applicable value Set Angle Control to one Click OK Exporting your STL report may be accomplished at all ranges of design, for both individual elements and assemblies. When managing assemblies, you could specify elements of an meeting to both encompass or exclude from the ensuing STL report. Use the system under for saving each parts and assemblies as STL files for eventual three-D printing. To save a Pro/E as an STL report: Check that the model layout is continuous and “watertight” This step is specifically vital if the design was imported from a neutral design format due to the fact non-non-stop our bodies are possibly to result in faulty models To check for continuity: View the choices version with hidden strains displayed. From the View menu, choose Display Setting > Scheme > PreWildfire. The version surfaces are displayed in magenta. If the layout is continuous, the choices contour strains are white. If there are alternatives gaps, the strains are yellow. Fix the choices version layout, if vital, earlier than saving it as an STL report. From the choices File menu, select Save a Copy. The Save a Copy dialog container seems. From the choices Type pull-down menu, select STL Deviation Control The Deviation Control settings in the Export STL dialog container affect the choices accuracy of the choices model and the scale of its report. Open Chord Height (chordal tolerance) This putting specifies the maximum distance among the surface of the choices unique design and the choices tessellated floor of the STL triangle (the choices chord) Chord peak controls the choices diploma of tessellation of the choices version surface The smaller the choices chord top, the much less deviation from the choices real part surface (but the bigger the record) Angle Control This placing regulates how much additional tessellation happens alongside surfaces with small radii. The smaller the radii, the extra triangles are used. The placing may be among zero and 1. Unless a higher putting is essential, to gain smoother surfaces, 0 is usually recommended. Once you’ve got reviewed the above the controls and altered your settings, click Apply > OK to create the STL report. Saving a Pro/E Assembly as an STL File File > Save a Copy From the choices Type pull-down menu, select STL. Export STL conversation field seems: Specify the elements of the choices meeting to either encompass or exclude in the ensuing STL record Example: In the dialog container one of the parts of the assembly (the tire) has been excluded, leaving components (the choices hub and the primary wheel) to be exported to the choices STL document. The layout because of these settings (when you click on OK) is shown on the choices left. When you have made all the required settings, click on Apply and OK to create the STL report. Solid Edge ST6 – ST8 Application Button > Save As (opens conversation box) From the Save As drop down menu, choose STL documents (*.stl) Select the choices Options button from the choices Save As conversation field Adjust Conversion Tolerance and Tolerance Units (millimeters endorsed) The lower the verbal exchange tolerance, the choices finer the choices tessellation Adjust the Surface Plane Angle (based your favored floor smoothness) The lower the surface aircraft angle, the choices greater the accuracy (important in small info) As a rule, the choices finer the choices tessellation and the choices more the choices accuracy, the bigger the dimensions of the STL report, and the longer it takes to generate it Under Output File as: Check Binary Binary STL documents are much smaller than STL files saved in ASCII format Click OK > Save Tip: Review the controls for exporting STL files in Solid Edge right here. Note: Solid Edge is capable of growing person STL documents from the additives of an meeting, but this functionality isn’t constructed into the application. It is finished via the utility programming interface (API), the use of Visual Basic scripts. This answer does now not allow a visible preview of the choices polygon mesh earlier than saving the choices STL documents. Solid Edge (Older than ST6) Open version and pick out File > Save As Save As Type >STL Options > Conversion Tolerance: 0.0254 mm for FDM; zero.0.5 mm for PolyJet Set Surface Plane Angle to forty five° Select Binary type and OK Name and Save STL document Note: Solid Edge software program from Siemens PLM (previously USG) supports STL output at the choices middle level, enabling you to store each parts and assemblies as STL files. However, whilst saving an meeting, all of its components are covered in a single STL report. SolidWorks File > Save As Set Save As Type to STL Options > Resolution > Fine > OK > Save STL settings: How to exchange STL settings File > Save As STL > Options For a smoother STL document, exchange the choices Resolution to Custom Change the choices deviation to 0.01 mm Change the attitude to 5 (smaller deviations and angles will produce a smoother document, however the record size will get larger) Tip: Review record export options earlier than you store your document from SolidWorks right here. To keep a version or a version meeting in STL Format: File > Save As (Save As dialog container opens) From the choices Save as type drop-down menu pick STL (*.stl) Click Options The Export Options conversation container will show the choices document in a tessellated view File Format selection is STL In the Export Options dialog field > Output As segment choose Binary The resulting record length may be lots smaller than a document stored in ASCII layout In the Resolution section, pick the precise option If you choose Custom, you may manually regulate the Deviation and Angle settings The Deviation and Angle settings affect the tessellation of non-planar surfaces as follows: Lower deviation settings result in finer tessellation Lower perspective settings bring about more accuracy, great in small info Note: The higher the resolution, the larger the size of the record, and the choices longer it takes to generate For unmarried cloth builds make certain that the subsequent check box is chosen: Save all additives of an meeting in a unmarried file This guarantees that all additives are saved as a unmarried STL report. For dual fabric builds (PolyJet) make certain that the following check container is NOT decided on: Save all components of an meeting in a single document Note: Keep in thoughts that an assembly with many units will create many man or woman STL documents while the “Save all components of an assembly in a unmarried file” check container is left unchecked Click OK In the choices Save As dialog box, click on Save In the affirmation message, click on Yes NX (Formerly UGS NX) NX software from Siemens PLM (previously USG), helps STL output at the core level, permitting you to store not simplest whole elements as STL documents, but additionally decided on surfaces of a component. This offers you extremely good flexibility whilst getting ready objects for three-D printing. In addition, meeting output enables you to save numerous additives as a unmarried unit while maintaining each factor as a separate extent (shell). File > Export > STL Rapid Prototyping speak field will seem Output Type: Binary Binary STL documents are a lot smaller than STL files saved in ASCII format Triangle Tolerance: zero.0.5 mm This is the most distance allowed among the choices surface of the choices authentic layout and the tessellated surface of the choices STL triangle, and affects the smoothness of the choices version surface Adjacency Tolerance: zero.1/2 mm This determines if adjacent surfaces “attach”. If the distance among the 2 surfaces is much less than this putting, they may be taken into consideration connected. This putting ought to be much less than the printing decision. For instance, while printing fashions at a decision of 30 micrometers (microns), the choices placing have to be no greater than zero.03 mm. Auto Normal Gen: Check field Normal Display: Check box Triangle Display: Check field Click OK Export Rapid Prototyping dialogue box will seem Name your file and click on OK Blender Prior to exporting, make certain your item is uniform by way of checking that all surfaces/ vertices are related. To test your file for uniformity: Enter Edit Mode, select your object, and press “L” over the choices mesh Areas that don’t spotlight are free-floating. All vertices need to be connected to your element to print. After you’ve confirmed your item is uniform, check for holes inside the mesh of your element Enter Edit Mode, deselect all vertices, and pick out Non Manifold from the choices drop down menu or honestly hit Shft-Ctrl-Alt-M Change the choices gadgets and dimensions of your object Blender’s default measurement is referred to as a Blender Unit and is equal to at least one meter Press “N” to carry up your dimensions tab Change devices from Blender Units to Metric with the aid of selecting Properties > Scene Tab Change gadgets to Metric (preferably millimeter) Adjust your scale in the dimensions tab to compute with Metrics Now your record is ready for export. Select File > Export as .STL (* .stl) Tip: Modifiers may be applied in the course of export or previous. ZBrush ZBrush provides designers with notable feature talents, however the ones functions equate to hundreds of tiny polygons that aren’t always possible for three-D printing. To make sure your element is producible and that its info solve as desired, download the Decimation Master Plugin from ZBrush. The Decimation Master Plugin will can help you optimize the polygon mesh of your component for printing by means of specifying a percent of the choices poly mesh to hold for export. It will keep detail at the same time as lowering poly count. For a short review of the plugin, inclusive of masking to hold regions in which high poly count number is critical on your model, click right here. Once you have got optimized your part using the choices above steps, it is ready to export as an STL report. Download the three-D Print Exporter Plugin from ZBrush Select the choices ZPlugin menu Click 3-D Print Exporter Define and scale your dimensions Select STL > STL Export Save Maya Maya is a unfastened-shape layout area no longer mainly tailored to manufacturing, consequently it’s miles particularly crucial to test the scale and producibility of your design (are the choices wall thicknesses defined? Are all vertices linked?). Check features for producibility: Window > Settings > Preferences >Settings Change measurement units to millimeters Review dimensions and scale inside the Chanel Box Finally, open Create > Scene Assembly Access dimension gear to check all function sizes and thicknesses Once you’ve checked your component for producibility, open the Rebuild Surface Options and outline the choices surface density of your element. This will determine the decision of the choices final 3-D print. Check the choices design hints of your preferred generation to ensure the three-D print procedure can manage your favored decision. Design guidelines on each 3-D printing era can be found here. Now you’re prepared to export. Select File > Export Selection > Export as STL_DCE.