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The CAD to STL Process

How to prepare your CAD File for 3D printing

Step-by-step instructions for converting various CAD file formats to STL files are provided below. Download here  for instruction manual on fixing STL files.


Most CAD programs have the function for you to save your design as an STL file format. Opening your STL file, you will see a cross section of triangles appearing in the CAD outline. The accuracy of the curved surfaces printed are determined by the number and sizes of the triangles and can be easily managed by setting the following parameters when you create the STL file from the CAD design:

Chordal Tolerance / Deviation

The furthest possible distance between the surface of the original design and the tessellated surface of the STL triangle.

Angle Control

The angular deviation permitted between adjacent triangles. This setting empowers you to build tessellation that are fundamental  for surfaces with small radii. The smaller the radii, the more triangles required.

STL File Format

An option is given for you to save your STL files in either binary or ASCII format. Binary files are usually preferred as it is smaller than ASCII by a factor of 6! However, ASCII files can be checked and read visually.

STL Geometry Check

The quality of the printed prototype may be adversely affected if it contains gaps. Therefore, a geometry check should be performed on the STL files before proceeding. Problematic files may be fixed using a third party software.

Preparing Parts for Printing

Objet StudioTM comprises a full range of tools to prepare for parts printing. Reprinting a job can be done quickly if you save the build tray as a single file. Remember to scale your models and arrange them on a virtual build tray for printing.