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3D STL File: A Technical Guide

A wind turbine propeller with a mesh of a 3D model

3D STL (STereoLithography) files are a common file format used in the computer aided design (CAD) community. 3D STL files are also generated by 3D scanning technologies to represent a 3D Model. It represents models as a series of triangular facets, or faces.


The STL file contains the vertices and normals of the triangles that make up the 3D model. STL files are a popular format for 3D printing because they are small and easy to share. Also, STL files do not contain information about the color or texture of a product.


Benefits of STL Files


  • Small and easy to share.

  • Easily imported into most 3D printing technology.

  • Help create physical copies of 3D models.


Drawbacks of STL Files


  • Do not contain information about color or texture.

  • Can be difficult to create STL files from scratch.


STL files are a valuable asset for anyone who works with 3D printing or CAD. They

are a convenient way to share 3D models and to help visualize the 3D models. However, it is important to be aware of the limitations of STL files as you plan to meet your engineering goals.


Own a 3D Printer? Try our interactive online 3D CAD Library.


To learn more, check out our latest posts about 3D content.

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