STL file from AutoCAD

Discussion in 'Software and Applications' started by keithmcp, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. keithmcp
    keithmcp New Member
    I have a 3D model of a spaceship which is made up of multiple solids. I tried exporting it to a .stl file but that only allows one solid per file. My question is how can I get this model in the right format so that I can get a quote and print it?

    Any help and/or advice would be appreciated. :D
  2. bartv
    bartv New Member
    Hi keithmcp,

    you can try two things:

    1. 'Join' the separate meshes into one mesh. It doesn't matter if they overlap or even if they don't connect (although that means you'll be printing loose parts).

    2. Use a boolean operation to create a 'union' of the objects.

    I can't really get more specific than that I'm afraid. It really depends on how your 3d app works (which one do you use, by the way?)


  3. keithmcp
    keithmcp New Member
    I am using AutoCAD 2008.

    Problem solved. You were right. What I had to do was do a select all so that i would get all objects and then use the Convert to Solid command. The union command also works.

    This converted the whole model to one giant solid. Once I did this I was able to export it to .stl file.

    The export worked and I was able to upload without a problem.
    Thanks for the tip.
    ANIMEMI New Member
    Hi kiethmcp
    may I ask...

    I thought AutoCAD would only handle Solids and meshes seperately. You can convert a solid to a mesh but not the other way.
    Were your parts all solids?
    Can you please tell me the Syntax of the command?

    note: I can only use v2005.
    you stated v2008.
  5. keithmcp
    keithmcp New Member
    Yes all the parts of the model were solids, there were no meshes in it. I used the union command and selected all the objects in the model and it converted it to one giant solid. Please note though that the entire model (now one solid)has be in the positive xyz plane. This required me moving it as the "origin" was in the middle of the model.
    File, Export, *.stl for file type

    Once I did this I was finally able to create the stl file. AutoCAD does not make outputting an stl easy at all. I do not like this method as I had to create a copy to do this as having it as one solid makes changing it must harder.

    AutoCAD has a 3dsout command which I hope is easier to use. I have not tried it yet because Shapeways does not accept 3ds files. Once they do i will see.

    Hope that answers your questions.
    ANIMEMI New Member
    Thank you yes. I understand now.

    I used to do AutoCAD for building services (10 years). I am not a mech guy but I hope to use a Vanilla autocad with scripts to create some gear parts.

    Your info will help.

    Oh. BTW Blender will import your 3DS file and may help your workflow.