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STL "import"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by beastro, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. beastro

    beastro Senior Member


    Has anybody discovered a working procedure to get an existing STL file into Alibre. For those of us who work with 3d printing and have to modify existing STL design files, it would be very important to have some way to import mesh files.


    anson likes this.
  2. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi Berrgold -- Not really, an ISO-10303 file imports as a "dumb solid." Either: (A) regenerate the Model from scratch; or (B) add Cuts and Extrusions (etc.) to make the needed changes. -- Lew
  3. Hunter

    Hunter Senior Member

    Not directly in Alibre. If you're willing to work with history free geometry, then there is a way. Import the file into something that can read STL and export as STEP. Then import the STEP into Alibre. Software options:
    1. FreeCAD
    2. Fusion 360
    3. Gmsh
    4. https://github.com/slugdev/stltostp
    Last option may be all you need...
    NateLiqGrav likes this.
  4. beastro

    beastro Senior Member

    Thank you Hunter,

    That looks perfect. I'll try it out ASAP.

    Kind regards
  5. beastro

    beastro Senior Member

    Hi Lew,

    Thank you! I usually take the dumb solid as a starting point to project to sketch etc., so any option to get it into Alibre is valid. I'll try the command line utility from Hunter.

    Kind regards
  6. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Beastro, can you give me a sense of the workflow you are trying to accomplish? When you say "modify", what do you mean? What tools would you want to use to modify it? What kind of modifications would you need to make? Closing holes in the mesh? Adding extrusions?

    The answers to these questions helps us determine what level of mesh support we will offer in the future, and what technologies we will need to use.
  7. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    How timely this thread is. I actually had a need for this very thing. So to make my life easier I created this Script Release: STL Import
  8. beastro

    beastro Senior Member

    Hi Max,

    Thanks for chiming in and first of all congrats for the new release of Alibre!
    I'll give you a practical example:
    Our support group for health services in Spain is designing a face mask to be printed by our members. There are a few things and requirements that this mask has to fulfil, but generally the basic shape can/should be taken from an anatomically proven design instead of reinventing the wheel.

    Nevertheless, I would have to change things, starting with filter size and shape, face contact area and sealing of the mask etc.
    What I would need at the very minimum, is the possibility to import a, as Lew put it earlier in this thread, "Dumb solid" to be able to project to sketch, trim, use it for booleans, etc.

    Unfortunately, these days everybody publishes designes only as STL or other meshes and often these designs have to be adapted to become meaningful for one's own applications. As BigSeb put it in another thread not long ago, not having any way to deal constructively with those mesh files only leaves open the possibility to 3d scan or design everything from scratch.

    I know of course that I can do the conversation via Freecad etc., but in this particular case FreeCad does not want to convert the STL to Step (why I don't know). I will try later with the command line utility from Hunter.

    Thanks for the help!

  9. beastro

    beastro Senior Member

    Great!! I will try that later! That also answers another question that I had posted on the Script forum...

  10. M00m137

    M00m137 Member

    Wow you are going to have some fun with that model - lots of wavy shapes!

    It's a shame that Alibre ditched their mesh support a few years back - it was one of the nice-to-haves which helped persuade us to make the switch - and then was almost immediately removed. It woudl be nice to see it back, even in a very basic form.
  11. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Converting stl to stp... tricky...

    I've had moderate success with FreeCAD. Its not perfect by any means but it certainly gives it a go. The biggest downfall here (in my opinion) is AD. AD isn't the greatest at importing faulty files so the slightest surface mismatch and you have an unusable file. Moi to the rescue. Also AD doesn't seem to handle organic shapes very well so you often up with really weird surfaces.

    I have never tried Fusion 360. Because it's Autodesk. [rant]I refuse to use Autodesk products, for the same reasons I refuse to use Stratasys printers or play Gibson guitars. Bad business practices I won't tolerate. [/rant]

    CAD Exchanger can convert stls too, I think. Never tried it. Costs $500. Check it out HERE

    Where ever possible try to remodel from scratch. Way less hassles.

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