Exploring Different File Types: Understanding STL, STP, OBJ, and IGS

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by assistant

When it comes to selecting the appropriate file format for your project, the array of available 3D model file formats can be perplexing. In this blog post, we will delve into the disparities between STL, STP, OBJ, and IGS files, shedding light on which format suits your manufacturing needs best.


Demystifying STL, STP, OBJ, and IGS File Formats

1. STL: This format reigns supreme in the realm of 3D printing. Comprising a triangular mesh geometry, STL files are simple, compact, and swiftly imported into slicing software for expedited printing.

2. STP: If your design involves intricate curves or demands utmost precision, STP (.step) files are the way to go. While being more intricate than STL, STEP files offer enhanced information capacity, facilitating easier editing and repair post-export. Notably, STEP is often regarded as the prime choice for sharing 3D models due to its neutrality. It’s important to note that higher model accuracy results in larger file sizes.

3. OBJ: Similar to STL, OBJ files possess geometrical data; however, they go a step further by accommodating color, texture, and material information. It’s worth mentioning that color and texture data are stored separately, which adds a layer of complexity.

4. IGS: Exhibiting resemblances to STP, IGS (.iges) files harbor more detailed information compared to STL and OBJ files. However, IGS files are generally larger. If you intend to transmit CAD designs via email, employing the STP format often aids in reducing attachment size.

Determining the Required Format for Manufacturing

1. STL/OBJ: Tailored for 3D printing, both STL and OBJ files encompass all the necessary information for the process. Although IGS files can be edited and repaired, they are less commonly employed for 3D printing due to their increased complexity. It’s vital to ensure that the export quality is high to yield satisfactory prints.

2. STP/IGS: Ideal for CNC machining, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication, STP and IGS files pack a punch with their detailed information, allowing the creation of models with intricate geometries and multiple colors.

STL/OBJ/STP/IGS: Vacuum Casting

For the vacuum casting process, the master model is crucial and can be created via SLA 3D printing or CNC, depending on the specifics of each case. If the master model is produced with 3D printing, a .stl or .obj file is required. Conversely, if CNC is utilized, a .stp or .igs file is necessary.

Manufacturing with Ruitai Mould

If uncertainty plagues your decision-making regarding the required 3D file format, STL is a safe bet for 3D printing, while STP serves as a reliable choice for other manufacturing processes. Should you have any queries regarding STL, STP, OBJ, or IGS, or if you need assistance in selecting the appropriate file type for your project, our team of experts stands ready to provide guidance.

Ruitai specializes in the precision manufacturing of prototype parts and offers a comprehensive array of services to fulfill various prototyping and production requirements. We are dedicated to providing tailored solutions and would be delighted to offer you a complimentary quote. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at your convenience.

By teaming up with Ruitai Mould, you gain access to a cadre of specialists who can address your inquiries and offer comprehensive support throughout the manufacturing journey, spanning from design to production.