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Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview
In our previous articles we tried to provide information about more essential thing related to 3d printing such as 3d printer and 3d printer filament types as well as overall overview of 3d printing technologies.
We also mentioned about 3D printer files that also play not the last role in the 3d printing process. In few words 3d printer file contains information about an object you want to print using either your own 3d printer or 3rd party service.
In this article we will try to tell about different and most popular 3d print files formats as well as about 3d model repositories that available in the Internet and have huge library of 3d printing files.
.STL file format probably is one of most popular 3d printer files formats. It is supported by big variety of 3d printers and most of files that you can find in 3D model repositories will be in that format.
STL stands for STereoLithography or Standard Tessellation Language. Initially it was one of main file formats in CAD software created by 3D systems. Currently this format can be found in many 3D printing software packages, it is simply and easy to output and probably that is one of reasons why it became so popular.
Since this article is more about 3d printing technologies, however stl files also used in different areas such as computer-aided manufacturing and rapid prototyping in common. Standard STL files used to describe a surface geometry of 3D object and do not contain any information about texture, colour or other common properties of 3D objects that related to CAD models. However there are few variations of STL files that can contain colour information and it is available in STL files saved in binary format. Besides the binary format STL file also can be saved in ASCII. Binary format is used for large stl files.
.OBJ (Object Files) is another format of 3d printer files which is also popular in 3D Printing. Initially it was used in Advanced Visualizer animation package developed by Wavefront Technologies. OBJ file represents 3D geometry alone and may contain several different attributes most common of them are: vertex normals, geometric vertices, polygonal faces and texture coordinates.
Objects files as STL files can be either in ASCII (.obj) or binary format (.mod). More technical information about OBJ format can be found here.
.3DS 3d print files format is one of formats developed by Autodesk and initially used in their Autodesk 3D Studio software package. 3DS files were very popular in mid 90s and became one of common industry standards along with OBJ for 3D models.
3DS file is a binary file format and it based on chunks or blocks that contain data, its length and a chunk identifier. Chunks in 3d printer files of 3DS format form a hierarchical structure which is similar to XML DOM tree.
3MF file format is a new one and was recently presented by Microsoft. It should allow to make 3d printing easier for all users and especially for those who will install new Windows 10 operating system that will have Autodesk’s 3D printing platform Spark integrated into it. 3MF is not a new format which has existed for years and Microsoft has just completely overhauled it.
There are following benefits of using 3MF 3d printer files format:
- all information about 3D model contained in one single archive
- 3MF format is extensible, which means that additional information can be added to it
- It is designed specifically to be an additive manufacturing format
- Define Human-readable XML and well-know binary formats like JPEG and PNG
- Open royalty-free specification from 3MF members who agreed to make necessary patent claims available
3D model repositories
There are many repositories in the Internet where you can find different 3d printer files whether it be stl file or obj. We have tried to create a list of most popular 3D model repositories and present it to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want us to add additional information to the list.
At the end we also would like to share with you a graphic that shows Most Popular Content Platforms based on 3D Hubs trends.
- What is 3D Printing?
- History of 3D Printing
- Direct and Binder 3D Printing techniques
- Photopolymerization and Sintering
- 3D Printing Process
- 3D printing revolution
- 3D Printing Materials
- How to choose a right 3D printer filament type
- 3D Printer Filament Types Overview
- How to build a 3D printer from scratch
- Types of 3D printers or 3D printing technologies overview
- How to find and buy a right 3D printer
- 3D Printing Services Overview
- You Should Know These Important 3D Printing Concepts
I am building my own homebrew 3d printer, not based on a kit. I wish I could find a discussion group of like minded designers, because there are often questions about software and hardware that the specifications may not answer. Right now I am doing the control G&Mcode interpreter and there are some formatting issues that I need to find out. I am also not using Arduino.