How to Convert 3D Models into STL Files


STL (Stereolithography or Standard Tesellation Language) is another format which has been around for a long time.  It was developed by 3D Systems when 3d printing was just starting however the ability to define a 3d object with a set of triangles (or facets) is often used for purposes other than printing including visualization.   The format is composed of a set of triangles that have been fit around the 3d object.  This conversion from 3d object to triangles is called tessellation.  There are three default tessellations (high, medium and low) and you can define the tessellation with greater control if you modify the parameters but for most 3D printing you can utilize the default settings.  The higher the tessellation the more triangles and the larger the file created.  There is an option for format which defaults to Binary.  Although the other option for ASCII is available this is somewhat archaic and only useful if you needed a human readable file that you could edit.  Unlikely.
If you select a component that is composed of multiple bodies you can switch the Structure option to “One File Per Body”.  This can be useful if you want to batch all the potential bodies into STL format at one time.  This isn’t availabe when you Send to Meshmixer because Meshmixer only wants one file at a time

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