How to Export a .STL File from Popular 3D CAD Software

Design your prototype in the 3D software package of your choice, then save your CAD drawing in “.STL” format. Upload it and one of our friendly customer service representatives will get a quote back to you, then wait for your package to be delivered!

The old adage…garbage in equals garbage out is still true in the 3D printing world. A successful prototyping project begins with the creation of a good .STL file. If the export settings in the CAD program are not set properly, your exported .STL file could have facets which may result in an inferior product. Below are some of the more popular CAD programs and instructions on how to export a quality .STL file from each program.

Alibre

  1. File
  2. Export
  3. Save As > STL
  4. Enter file name.
  5. Save

AutoCAD

  1. Your design must be a three-dimensional solid object to output a .STL file.
  2. Make sure the model is in positive space.
  3. Set Facetres to 10.
  4. At the command prompt type STLOUT.
  5. Select Objects.
  6. Choose Y for Binary.
  7. Enter file name.

CADKey

  1. Choose Stereolithography from Export options.
  2. Enter file name.
  3. Click OK.

I-DEAS

  1. File > Export > Rapid Prototype File > OK
  2. Select the part to be prototyped.
  3. Select Prototype Device > SLA500.dat > OK
  4. Set absolute facet deviation to 0.000395.
  5. Select Binary > OK

Inventor

  1. Save Copy As
  2. Select STL.
  3. Choose Options > Set to High
  4. Enter file name.
  5. Save.

IronCAD

  1. Right click on the part.
  2. Part Properties > Rendering
  3. Set Facet Surface Smoothing to 150.
  4. File > Export
  5. Choose .STL.

Modo

  1. File > Save a Copy
  2. Save as Type: Stereolithogragphy STL (*.STL).

ProE

  1. File > Save a Copy
  2. Set type to .STL.
  3. Set chord height to 0. The field will be replaced by minimum acceptable value.
  4. Set Angle Control to 1.
  5. Enter file name.
  6. OK

Rhino

  1. File > Save As
  2. Select File Type > .STL
  3. Enter a name for the .STL file.
  4. Save.
  5. Select Binary .STL Files.

SolidDesigner

  1. File > External > Save .STL
  2. Select Binary mode.
  3. Select Part.
  4. Enter 0.001mm for Max Deviation Distance.
  5. Click OK.

SolidEdge

  1. File > Save As
  2. Set Save As Type to .STL.
  3. Options
  4. Set Conversion Tolerance to 0.001in or 0.0254mm.
  5. Set Surface Plane Angle to 45.00.
  6. Save.

SolidWorks

  1. File > Save As
  2. Set Save As Type to .STL.
  3. Options > Resolution > Fine > OK
  4. Save.

Think3

  1. File > Save As
  2. Set Save As Type to .STL.
  3. Save.

Unigraphics

  1. File > Export > Rapid Prototyping
  2. Set Output type to Binary.
  3. Set Triangle Tolerance to 0.0025.
  4. Set Adjacency Tolerance to 0.12.
  5. Set Auto Normal Gen to On.
  6. Set Normal Display to Off.
  7. Set Triangle Display to On.