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STL Export something wrong ?


Hi I'm not on maintenance anymore with Solid Edge, but this does not mean I do not use itSmiley Wink

So I'm still on ST6MP3 (The last MP I could download from the GTAC portal)


What's my problem.

I did get an STL file from a part of a client to make a 3Dprint of it.

All said and done but I'm not able to produce a print that's perfect to deliver.

So I'm having a hard time here and I'm searching for some answers why does it go wrong.

So I have printed the part in different positions and always at the same place the part becomes ugly. So I started to think that the hardware could not be the problem so I started to think How to avoid all this and want to start to make some adjustments to the part.To achieve the same goal.(By the way it's also possible that SE STL translater is corrupt)

So I open the STL in SE and guess what ? I'm not able to make adjustments to the part.

So I decide to lurke a bit on the internet to find a way to make this part editable. And on GrabCAD I found a possible solution. They said Meshlab will do the trick.

So I download Meshlab and install it and open the delivered STL file from the client.

and save it back to dxf. open it up again in SE ST6. And mark the option Write SAT body in the dxf "file open options dialogbox".

After opening the file I have to search the SAT file. At least that's what i thought. But no it's now an *.X_T file. I guess development wants to change this process (I hope they already did this.)

But what I find most unbelievable of this story is that I have to do all this stuff to do a simple adjustment to the part.

It's also not possible to do simple measurements.

Is there any chance that SE will introduce tools to easily edit and measure on STL files.

Spaceclaim can do this, so why not SE ?


so if someone of you did have the same experience as I have and does have some great tips, feel free to contact me or share his thoughts here



Dirk Rutten

Solid Edge STX user

Re: STL Export something wrong ?


An STL file is just a collection of triangular faces, rather than 'proper' geometry i.e. any curves, cylinders are just approximated with straightlines and triangles so it's not 'engineering data'. The size (and therefore accuracy vs. file size) depends on the fineness or corseness of your STL exporter.


In solid edge, all geometry is properly mathematically defined, whether it's surfaces or bodies, but it will allow you to bring in an STL as reference geometry. This means you can see it, but not actually use it for anything other than perhaps roughly remaking it by copying it by eye.


Anyway, kind of like you tried, I was able to bring an STL in by using something else to convert to to SAT. I think I used 3ds Max, but maybe you can find another program to do it.  The end result isn't great and certainly won't be nice to edit but it's doable.


The x_t file is a parasolid file, not SAT - perhaps you clicked the wrong setting or changed it without noticing?


The bottom line is that SE is not really the tool you're looking for. Could you get the client to export a STEP or parasolid for you instead?

Edit: By the way, I use SE to export STLs all the time and works really well for me.

Re: STL import


Hi Alex,


I must have overseen something but I discovered that the handling of 3Ddwg/dxf files in SE is changed and made a lot of easier then before. But in ST6 SE did the first steps to make the import procedure unnecessary I believe.

So normally if you want to open a 3D dxf/dwg in SE ST5 and previous you needed to set the following option in the file open, options dialogbox "write solid bodies to SAT file".

and then SE generates a SAT file of it. But now in ST6 it does not make a SAT file but a X_T file. Okay ?!Smiley Wink


And I don' t think I have said SE is not able to produce or import STL files. I just wanted to say you can not take any measurements on it or edit the **bleep** STL file. So forgive me, but what's the use of STL import ? The only thing you can do with it is viewing. So I think it does not belong in the SE core package but in the SE viewer.


And again the only thing I wanted to do was edit the STL file and during my journey I found a solution to make this STL file editable in SE. So problem solved for now but what in the future.

IMO SE should take the same train like Spaceclaim in this area because 3D printing will be more common then most of us think it will be. And they already have done a fair part of it by partnering with Microsoft in this area. But's nothing more then a few bells and...


Dirk Rutten

Solid Edge STX user

Re: STL import


I definitely agree it would be great for SE to have some sort of STL import where it could perhaps try to optimise it like it does with imported STEP files for example. 


I guess the difficulty is that STL files can have crazy, unoptimized detail (and non-manifold boides) compared to parametric models and are more like point cloud data that you would get from 3D laser scanning or something which is also hard to work with. They're more an output format than a neutral format for sharing data.


But as you say, the demand for stuff like this is only going to increase.

Re: STL import

Solution Partner Legend Solution Partner Legend
Solution Partner Legend

We have a solution to import STL to Solid Edge as a solid but we are doing this in a workflow by hand and we are thinking about to develop this as a complete solution.


The Workflow

  1. Scanning the 3D-Part -> Export as STL
  2. Import the STL -> Optimizing the STL (Level of Detail, Closing gaps, etc.) -> Export to STEP
  3. STEP-Import to Solid Edge

The solution will cover step number 2.


My question is: Is there really the need because if there are enough request we will start that project and we will release this very soon.


Just give me your feedabck by email or PM


Thank you



Re: STL import


Hi Stefan,


It depends how much you gonna ask for it Smiley Wink

It all depends if it is integrated in SE or not, because if you do not have the intention to do this I think your tool will not have a lot of extra value.

Because there is already a manual procedure to do this. Or other software that already can do this.

(Think about 3D print and scan software.)

But a integration in SE will certainly have a plus IMO. The extra step to import the STEP is crucial I think, but again its my sole opinion.


Good luck

Dirk Rutten

Solid Edge STX user

Re: STL import

Solution Partner Legend Solution Partner Legend
Solution Partner Legend

I am with you that there has to be added value.


We have checked other solutions and the solutions did not create results that are satisfied:

- huge filesize

- thousands of faces

- can't get a solid from them

- takes forever to convert

- can not be handled because of the poor performance


Our goal:

- minimize the filesize

- get a solid body

- increase speed


Here are some numbers of a model we convert:


Other solution:

Filesize: > 250 MB

Time to Import: 19 hours

Result: 10.000 faces

Performance: unacceptable


Our solution

Filesize: 15 MB

Time to Import: 40 minutes

Result: 1 Solid Body

Performance: acceptable


I have to ask the customer to publish some pictures.


Even it is not 100% integrated in Solid Edge we see added value just in the numbers and results.



Re: STL import

Solution Partner Legend Solution Partner Legend
Solution Partner Legend

Now I got the pictures. This is just a test case from the customer to see the quality and usability of scanned data.

Importing time was 11 minutes


Very nice to see is the structure of the skin. It is not done in Keyshot!

In Keyshot we just added the color.


2016-03-17 09_22_56-.png

2016-03-17 09_23_41-KeyShot 5.3 For Solid Edge - untitled.bip  - 64 bit.png



Re: STL import

Solution Partner Legend Solution Partner Legend
Solution Partner Legend

I have attached a PDF with a 2D-Drawing and 3D-Model of our testcase


You can see on the sectional view that the model is a solid.


To see the 3D-Model on the second page you have to turn on the trusted option on top of the page.


Kiss the frog to get the prince Smiley Happy


Have a nice weekend



Re: STL import

Solution Partner Legend Solution Partner Legend
Solution Partner Legend

Updated informations are here!