Options are a great thing to have, but in 3D printing, as in everything, too many choices can be problematic. If you’ve experimented with 3D printing at all, you’ll likely have experienced file format frustration. There is a massive amount of 3D software out there, and many of them use their own, proprietary file formats. This creates a headache for people who use 3D printing online platforms or bureaus. Trying to convert your file from whatever format your software uses to a standard STL file can be a huge pain. Fortunately, most of the major 3D printing platforms know this and are taking steps to make things easier.
The latest improvements come from Sculpteo. The online bureau has just added 10 new native 3D file formats to its list of accepted formats, bringing the total to more than 30 and allowing more users to upload their designs directly from their CAD software instead of having to convert them. File options have now been added to accommodate users of Catia, Solidworks, OpenSCAD and Rhino. You can find a full list of Sculpteo’s accepted file formats here.
Sculpteo also provides pretty comprehensive quality checks on all uploaded prints. The site’s repair tool checks each upload for issues that could result in a bad print, then automatically makes the necessary repairs. In addition to automatic repair, Sculpteo has now added a couple of new smart tools that allow you to optimize your own prints. Options are available that allow you to easily take care of the most common printability issues; you can now hollow out your print or thicken breakable areas with the click of a button.
“Among being a 3D printing service, Sculpteo also is a one stop solution to solve most of this issues when one wants a 3D print,” says Sculpteo’s Arthur Cassaignau. “By moving our service closer to your CAD software, we believe that we can help you streamline your 3D printing needs and be more efficient when it comes to turning a design into reality.”
This should be welcome news to those who dread the thought of converting their files to STL before being able to upload them. Recently, i.materialise also expanded its list of accepted file formats to 41, including the new, much talked about 3MF format. While 3MF is described by many as being a possible “universal 3D printing file format” sometime in the future, there’s still a long way to go. For the time being, there are still scores of software variations to deal with, so it’s nice that companies such as i.materialise and Sculpteo are doing their best to make things easier for their customers. Discuss this story in the Sculpteo File Format forum on 3DPB.com.