Tag Archives: File Format

3D-Printing file formats must evolve with the industry

3D-Printing File Formats Must Evolve with the IndustryAs rapid-fire advances enrich the 3D-printing landscape, file formats have to keep pace to support these changes, or there’s a risk of neutralizing further progress.

In the beginning, there was the stereolithography file, commonly called the STL file. Although not very complex—it was essentially a collection of triangles—the STL provided a way to get data into 3D-printing systems. Enough hardware manufacturers used STL for it to become something of an industry standard, providing some much-needed interoperability during the additive-manufacturing industry’s early days.

However, as the industry matured, STL’s various shortcomings came into focus. Since STL files were little more than a giant soup of triangles, they were difficult to work with. If you wanted to edit a face or reposition a part, you’d have to figure out a way to change numerous triangles—a highly inefficient and error-prone process.

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3D-Printing Tips: What to do with file formats

3D-Printing Tips: What to Do with File FormatsMultiple file-format choices exist, but you might want to consider taking additional steps when saving your parts for 3D printing.

One can choose from a number of file formats for 3D printing, and in general they all work fine. However, understanding what mesh resolution is needed for each part can affect the size of the file, which may create lag when transferring data. In addition, not everything transfers smoothly from a CAD drawing to the printer. This article will look at file resolution, clearance between moving parts, geometric interferences, and more things to keep in mind when moving your CAD drawing to a 3D printer.

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