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How to Save in STL Format

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Most 3D printers accept the industry-standard file format called STL, which was originally created for stereolithography machines. Learn more on Wikipedia.

For quotes, we accept these file formats: (no need to convert these)
  • STL (.stl)
  • IGES (.iges or igs)
  • Pro/E (.prt)
  • Google SketchUp (.skp)
  • SolidWorks (.sldprt)
  • STEP (.step or .stp)
  • Other Formats: Convert to STL (below) or Email Us to see if we can do it

Converting to STL

Below are instructions on how to save STL files within popular CAD programs.

Make sure you save STL files in Binary Format to reduce the file size.

  • AutoCAD:
    1. You must have a 3-D solid object to convert to STL.
    2. Command Line: Set DISPSILH to 1.
    3. Command Line: Set ISOLINES to 0.
    4. Command Line: Set FACETRES to 10.
    5. Relocate your object to the positive X-Y-Z octant.
    6. Use the STLOUT command to export your file.
  • I-DEAS:
    1. File...Export. Select Rapid Prototype File.
    2. Select the part to be converted.
    3. Select Prototype Device then SLA500.dat then click OK.
    4. Set Absolute Face Deviation to 0.000395.
    5. Select Binary and click OK.
  • IronCAD:
    1. Select the body you want to convert by right-clicking on it.
    2. Select Part Properties...Rendering and set Facet Surface Smoothing to 150.
    3. File...Export...STL.
  • Pro/E:
    1. File...Save a Copy. Select STL as the File Type.
    2. Use 0 as the Chord Height; leave Angle Control to 1.
  • SolidEdge:
    1. File...Save As. Select STL as the File Type.
    2. Click on Options and set Conversion Tolerance to 0.001 (0.0254 mm)
        and the Surface Plane Angle to 45.00°.
  • SolidWorks:
    1. File...Save As. Select STL as the File Type.
    2. Click on Options and set the Resolution to Custom
        and the Deviation to the far right (smallest number).
  • Blender (free 3D program):
    1. Select all bodies that you want to convert by right-clicking on them.
    2. File...Export...STL.
    3. Type in a file name and click Export STL.
  • Google SketchUp (also free):
    1. Please see our tutorial: Prepare SketchUp Files for 3D Printing.
    2. You will need to download a plugin that will allow exporting to STL.
    3. Here is a free plugin that works great: SketchUp to DXF or STL Plugin.
    4. Here is a good plugin with a free trial: Sycode SketchUp Plugin.
  • Other Formats: Email Us to see if we can do it

Check for STL Errors

It is important to check your STL files for geometry errors, as they are very common and will cause problems such as delays or nasty features on your printed models.

Please view our tutorial: How to Fix STL Errors.

Questions or Problems? Just contact us and we'll be glad to help!

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