How to convert a CAD file to an STL file?

How CAD files are exported to STL is an important process for accurate building of parts.

The step by step process for converting CAD files to STL was taken straight from the
mentioned companies websites.

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4 Answers

STL is the standard file type used by most or all rapid prototyping systems. A STL is a triangulated representation of a 3D CAD model (figure 1). The triangulation of a surface will cause faceting of the 3D model. The parameters used for outputting a STL will affect how much faceting occurs (figure 2 and 3). You cannot build the model any better or smoother than the STL file, so if the STL is coarse and faceted, that is what you can expect in the final model.

In the CAD package, when exporting to STL, you may see parameters for chord height, deviation, angle tolerance, or something similar. These are the parameters that affect the faceting of the STL.You don’t necessarily want to go too small. The finer the STL the larger the file is in size, which will affect processing time in Insight as well as build time. Below is some information found on the Internet regarding exporting to STL from various CAD packages.

Answered with a tutorial:

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Awesome guide. I export STL files daily (from SolidWorks), and the "fine" setting is not very good. It creates faceted files. I'd suggest changing the options to:
Tolerance: .001
Angle: 5°
Turn off the other check boxes. There is no need to preview or show file information prior to saving.
You may want to export components of an assembly into a single file, but that really depends on your STL editing software.

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AutoCAD ... another method.
Export selected objects as .SAT
Load into Mastercam
Save as STL. Fine adjustments are easy and reliable, and 3D viewing is good.

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Open your part file in solid works. Go to file> Save As. A Pop up will open. Rename your part file and select the required format from drop down menu. You will find many formats like stl, stp, iges.

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