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Working with STL Files in AutoCAD

STL files are common for 3D printing, as they represent the surface geometry of a 3D object with a mesh of triangles. However, STL files are not native to AutoCAD, and therefore they require some additional steps if you want to import or export them in AutoCAD environment. In this article, we will show you how to use the STLOUT command and Automesher Application to work with STL files in AutoCAD. You will also learn how to convert STL files to solid or mesh drawing entities.

Export DWG to STL with STLOUT Command

The STLOUT command is a built-in feature of AutoCAD that allows you to export 3D solids and watertight meshes to STL file. To use this command, you need to select the objects you want to export, and then specify a file name and location. You can also choose whether to create a binary or an ASCII STL file. A binary file is more compact, but an ASCII file is more readable by humans. The STLOUT command will create a file with the .stl extension, which you can then use to 3D print your DWG model.

STL in AutoCAD with Automesher Application

Automesher Application is a CAD extender that enhances the import and export functionality of vanilla AutoCAD. It supports many 3D file formats, including STL, OBJ, 3DS, SKP, 3DM, and more. With this application, you can import STL files into AutoCAD as polyface meshes, polygon meshes, faces, points, or 3D solids. It allows you also to go beyond the STLOUT command limitations and export any DWG drawing entity to STL file. The resolution of the STL file depends on the value of the FACETRES system variable. A higher value produces a finer mesh that matches the model better, but also results in a larger STL file size.

STL files in AutoCAD: Conclusion

STL files are widely used for 3D printing and modeling, but they are not fully compatible with AutoCAD. By using our Automesher Application, you can easily import and export STL files in AutoCAD, and convert them to other file formats as needed. This is a must to have tool if you want to improve your workflow and productivity when working with STL files and 3D models in AutoCAD.