The 3D printing process does not mean placing an image on a piece of paper, it is much more than that, and it may take time to master the skill of 3D printing.
If you are involved with the 3D printing technology, you may have come across the term STL File several times, and you might often get confused in these terms.
This article is going to be your help in finding out all the related information about the STL file, what it is, what role it plays in 3D printing, how it is helpful, and the procedure to make STL File for 3D printing.
It is a must-read article, especially for beginners, as we are going to discuss about the STL File from the very basics and will go in-depth.
Before talking over about the STL File, you should be familiar about the file format. A file format is defined as a structure or a layout that specifies how the content of the file is going to be stored, displayed, and organized.
STL File is a file format for 3D models and prototypes. STL is known as the abbreviation of Stereo Lithography, and also known as the Standard Triangle Language and Standard Tessellation Language.
STL format only specifies the surface geometry or vertices of a three-dimensional body without any illustration of color, texture, or other standard model features and characteristics.
STL File format is generally created by the Computer-Aided Design Software Programs; the extension of STL file format is denoted by the (STL).
All the latest models of CAD software programs and 3D printers are capable of generating the STL file format, and it is widely used among the professionals due to its feasibility, reliability, faster speed, and has a small file size.
It is also easy to use and made user friendly. Above all, the STL file is much secure as if we match it with other file formats.
Printing STL File
Giving a print command to the printer for printing STL File is not enough; for this, you need to integrate the 3D slicer software, which can convert your printing model into an object to make it possible for printing.
Here you should also know that every STL file is not printable; a design that is specifically made for printing can be printed through a 3D printer.
Preparing STL File for 3D Printing
Coming back to our main question of the article that how we can make the STL File for 3D printing, it mainly depends on the type of software program you are going to use. Each program has a different setting and procedure for making an STL File.
Below in this article, we are going to cover most of the major software programs we use and will show you the specific steps you need to follow to create an STL File for 3D printing.
Choosing the appropriate setting is essential no matter what software you are using in order to get the quality output result.
In the case of AutoCAD, it is necessary that the model is a 3D solid object and is in positive space. Open the command prompt box, and type “STLOUT”, select the object file and give it a name with the .stl file extension.
Other file formats can be exported into STL format in AutoCAD by clicking on the application menu, select the export box, and then select the file you need to export. In the file type section of the box, choose the .stl file extension and then click on the Save button.
For making an STL file in IronCAD, you need to open the file in the software, click on the part properties, a part dialog box will appear showing the rendering tab.
Here you can modify the setting as per your need; the appropriate value for Facet Surface Smoothing is considered as 150.
See Also, Best Creality 3d Printers
Keep in mind that settings can create a massive difference in file size; therefore, you should select the correct setting for the model.
Once you have done with the settings, click on the Save button. Once you have saved the settings, you just have to click on the file, export section, and select the STL tab. Click, OK, and have your STL file ready.
- Geomagic Design
This software program is simple to use and can create a file in a few clicks.
Choose the file you need to make STL for, open it, and the click on the export section. Here you will see the SAVE AS option, click on it and check for STL file format.
Click on STL format and give a name so that you can easily search your file. After this, click on the save option, and here your file is created in STL format.
There are many versions of this software available, and it is preferred to use the latest one.
Same as Geometric Design, open the file, click on the SAVE AS option, and select the STL format. Now it will give you the chance to make changes in the settings such as the aspect ratio, length of edges, and angles.
Once the setting is finalized, click on the Save button, and your STL file is successfully created.
In this software program, get on the file, open it, and click the export option. Click OK on Rapid Prototype File and select the part which needs to be demonstrated.
Choose the appropriate settings and Binary option, and then click on the OK button.
- Solid Edge/ Solid Works
These software uses a similar pattern to make an STL file.
Open the designated file, click on the SAVE AS option, choose the STL file format, and then select the right setting parameters.
In Solid Works software, you may also need to define the resolution. As soon as you are done with the settings, click on the OK and save it. Your file is created in STL format.