.STL To Be Replaced?

By on November 6th, 2009 in blog


RapidToday posts an interesting interview with Hod Lipson, chair of the ASTM Committee on Additive Manufacturing Standards’s task force on file formats. The topic: .STL.

You ask what’s wrong with .STL? Lots, it turns out. The 1987 vintage standard is so old you could legally buy it a beer in most states. As RapidToday points out, an entire industry has emerged simply to fix broken .STL files. Worse, the standard is so deficient that some printer manufacturers have invented their own proprietary standards or extensions. While these proprietary standards might work for an individual equipment manufacturer, it doesn’t help the industry as a whole.

There are obvious deficiencies, such as colors, materials, etc., but according to RapidToday, .STL also needs:

  • Better accuracy in representing curved surfaces
  • Surface texturing requirements
  • Buildability verification (leak patching)
  • Inclusion of metadata (e.g. authorship and copyright information)

The STL file format doesn’t just lack these capabilities, it also has a few inherent problems: file size is excessive, file security is limited, and it can’t detect or fix errors (especially unintended holes) in the part to be built.

What’s going to happen next? The task force is conducting a survey to collect input from all stakeholders. You can participate right here.

Via RapidToday

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!


Leave a comment