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A step by step guide on how to Export .stls from CAD software

This is a guide to help indiviuals export stl files from various CAD software. It lists step by step ways to export 3D Print ready files from CAD software such as Solidworks, Solid Edge, Blender , AutoCAD, and Rhino, just to name few. Following the steps below will guide you on how to save a file in stl format from CAD software.

We try to keep it as up to date as possible but if you notice that there is a software missing or that some of the instructions are out of date, please let us know. Being relevant and up to date is important to us.


General guidelines for exporting .stl from CAD software

Some software may ask for inputs from users during the export process. Below are some recommendations. Before sending any files to print, it is STRONGLY recommended to use a free .stl viewing software such as mini magics™ to verify .stl files.
When choosing between ASCII and Binary, the latter is generally preferred as it will produce a smaller files size. A low Standard Deviation (SD) will produce a higher resolution and larger file than will a higher SD as will angle tolerance. However, having a low angle tolerance may alter some of the smaller features of a file. We suggest playing around with the variables of the software until satisfied with the results. Typically, files larger than 10MB are unnecessary and cumbersome to upload and work with.


How to export a .stl from 3D Studio MAX 3D CAD software


  • File > Export>
  • Select “StereoLitho [*.STL]” in
  • Select location
  • Enter a name
  • Save
  • OK
  • Export To STL dialog
  • Object Name: Enter a name for the object you want to save in STL format.
  • Binary/ASCII: Choose whether the STL output file will be binary or ASCII (character) data. ASCII STL files are much larger than binary STL files.
  • Selected Only: Exports only objects that you selected in the 3D Studio scene.

How to export a .stl from Alibre 3D CAD software


  • File > Export…
  • Save As > STL…
  • Enter File Name
  • Save

How to export a .stl from AutoCAD 3D CAD software


  • Set DISPSILH to 1
  • Set ISOLINES to 0
  • Set FACETRES to 10
  • Relocate the object to the positive X-Y-Z octant
  • Use the STLOUT command to export a .stl file. (AMSTLOUT for AutoCAD Desktop files)

How to export a .stl from Blender 3D CAD software


  • File> Export > STL
  • Enter Filename
  • Select Location
  • Click button Export STL

How to export a .stl from CAD Key 3D CAD software


  • File > Export > STL
  • Type in a filename and select OK
  • Change Format to Binary
  • Use default Facet Tolerance
  • Additional export tolerance options are in the Solids99 Configuration window accessed from the Tolerance section of Configuration.

How to export a .stl from Catia 3D CAD software


To export a complete assembly as a single .stl files, you will have to convert the assembly in the Assembly Design environment to a CATPart as follows
  • Select the entire product tree
  • Tools >Generate CATPart from product
  • Enter a new part number or name
  • Do NOT check: merge all bodies of each part in one body
  • OK
    You will now be able to export the CATPart in the Part Design Environment
    The accuracy of the .stl file is a fuction of the Display accuracy.
  • Tools > Options...
  • In the tree select General > Display
  • Select the Performance tab
  • Under 3D accuracy, select Fixed
  • Set to .02mm (.0008in)
  • Adjust Curve accuracy ration to .2
  • OK
  • File > Save As
  • Enter filename
  • Select type STL
  • Save

How to export a .stl from Google Sketchup 3D CAD software


Google Sketchup cannot currently export .STL files without installing additional plug-ins. A simple Google search will find some. Alternatively, you can export the files to .dae format and use an open source software such as Blender to export that file to .stl format.

How to export a .stl from I-DEAS 3D CAD software


  • File > Export > Rapid Prototype File > OK
  • Select the part to be prototyped
  • Select prototype device > SLA500.dat > OK
  • Set absolute facet deviation to 0.000395
  • Select Binary > OK

How to export a .stl from Inventor 3D CAD software


  • File > Save as > Save Copy as…
  • Select STL
  • Enter Filename
  • Click the Options button
  • Format Binary
  • Select units
  • Resolution > medium or high
  • Click the Save button

How to export a .stl from Iron CAD 3D CAD software


  • Select Part Properties then Rendering
  • Set Facet Surface Smoothing to 150
  • Select File then Export
  • Select .STL

How to export a .stl from Mechanical Desktop 3D CAD software


  • Use the AMSTLOUT command to export your STL file.
  • The following command line options affect the quality of the STL and should be adjusted to produce an acceptable file.
  • Angular Tolerance - This command limits the angle between the normals of adjacent triangles. The default setting is 15 degrees. Reducing the angle will increase the resolution of the STL file.
  • Aspect Ratio - This setting controls the Height/Width ratio of the facets. A setting of 1 would mean the height of a facet is no greater than its width. The default setting is 0, ignored.
  • Surface Tolerance - This setting controls the greatest distance between the edge of a facet and the actual geometry. A setting of 0.0000 causes this option to be ignored.
  • Vertex Spacing - This option controls the length of the edge of a facet. The
  • Default setting is 0.0000, ignored.

How to export a .stl from Pro Engineer 3D CAD software


  • File > Export > Model
  • STL
  • Set chord height to 0. The field will be replaced by minimum acceptable value.
  • Set Angle Control to 1
  • OK

How to export a .stl from Revit 3D CAD software


Revit does not allow direct export to STL files but does allow to first save as .dwg file and open in AutoCAD to create .stl files.

  • 3D view
  • File menu > Export CAD format > select 3D polymesh
  • Save as Type > AutoCAD 2004 DWG
Now open the saved file AUTO CAD
  • Command menu > Explode
  • Select the object(s)
  • All the objects are converted into 3D solid
  • Select a single solid for STL output
  • Command menu > STOUT or Export
  • Select objects
  • Create a binary STL file
Alternatively, download the .stl Exporter from Autodesk Labs and follow the steps below.
  • Unzip and install it
  • Load a 3D model
  • External tool > export
  • Adjust the scale of the model appropriately

    How to export a .stl from Rhino 3D CAD software
    • File > Save As
    • Select File Type > STL
    • Enter a name for the STL file
    • Save
    • Select Binary STL Files

    How to export a .stl from Solid Works 3D CAD software


    • Tools > Options > Export
    • STL Options
    • Select Binary for file type
    • Set Quality to Fine
    • File > Save As
    • Set Save As Type to STL
    • Save

    How to export a .stl from Solid Edge 3D CAD software


    • File > Save As
    • Set Save As Type to STL
    • Options
    • Set Conversion Tolerance to 0.001in or 0.0254mm.
    • Set Surface Plane Angle to 45.00
    • Save

    How to export a .stl from Think 3 3D CAD software


    • File > Save As
    • Set Save As Type to STL
    • Save

    How to export a .stl from Unigraphics (now called NX) 3D CAD software


    • File > Export > Rapid Prototyping or STL
    • Set Output type to Binary
    • Set Triangle Tolerance to 0.025mm or .001 in
    • Set Adjacency Tolerance to 0.1mm or .04 in
    • Set Auto Normal Gen to On
    • Set Normal Display to Off
    • Set Triangle Display to On


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