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.step vs .stl

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:42 pm
by Vashmata
Noob here. I have yet to find an answer to this:

What I've read is that step files are much better because rather than creating a mesh, they store parametric data. However, everywhere I go, it seems people are using stl files for prints. Why is that?

Apologies if this has been answered somewhere. I went looking through the forum but didn't find anything.

Re: .step vs .stl

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:37 pm
by Spotopolis
.step files are editable CAD files that can be opened in 3D modeling software such as SolidWorks, Fusion 360, Rhino, etc. Think of them as native files that store the actual model information and are meant to be exchangeable with other software programs.

.stl files have been converted to mesh files, so the native structures are gone, replaced by triangles. These are difficult at best to modify since the components are gone. Meshmixer is one application that does allow manipulation of meshes, but the interface is pretty convoluted.

The reason that you see so many .stl files is that slicing software such as Simply3D typically don't import .step files and expect mesh files, usually .stl or .obj files.

Re: .step vs .stl

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:44 pm
by Vashmata
Okay, so I can't avoid it, then.