What are STL File?

If you own a 3D printer, it is highly likely that you have an idea of what you want to print and how to print it. It is also possible that you also have the ability to design 3D prints. However, you might be confused or lost when it comes to start the process of 3D printing. You simply may not have the time to create and design files yourself. So, let’s try to explain what an STL file is to provide more detailed information.

First of all, let’s start with what an STL file is. STL stands for “Standard Triangle / Tessellation Language”. STL file format is one of the most used file formats for 3D printing and CAD (Computer Aided Design). These contain geometric information of a design which will be 3D printed. These designs are symbolised by triangles in STL files, which gives the format its name. Since these triangles have edges, where they will be located can be decided by a computer or a slicing program, thus creating an image to be 3D printed. As the design gets more complex, more triangles will be used to represent it. There is no data in an STL file regarding texture, colour, or qualities like flexibility or strength, they only include information on shape and geometry. On a side note, there are some alternatives to STL files, such as OBJ files, which contain colour and texture profile information. When an STL file is downloaded, they are exported into a 3D printing slicer, where they are converted into G-code.
When an STL file is downloaded, it is exported into a 3D printing slicer. At this point, the file is converted into G-code, which is a language your 3D printer understands and uses to print your part.

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