Explanation of export/import formats supported by Shapr3D


Medium quality STL:
STL is a mesh format, which means that it contains triangles, and nothing else (in case of Shapr, otherwise you could store color and lighting information in this format). This format is intended to be used for 3D printing at home with your filament based printer. This is why we are giving this for free: we are 3D printing enthusiasts, and we believe that Shapr will be one of the easiest and most affordable tools for hobbyists.

High quality STL:
Format is the same, quality is higher. If you want to use Shapr with CNC machines, or have a more expensive SLA printer, for example a Form2, you should go for Shapr3D PRO, and use the high quality STL export. This export format will create an ultra high quality, super precise STL from your model.

We are quite often asked what do these precision categories actually mean in millimeters. The answer is that precision is defined by maximal deflections.
For medium quality STL angular deflection is 0.45, and deflection is 0.1, for high quality STL angular deflection is 0.05 and deflection is 0.0025. In case if someone would need it, we could offer even higher quality STLs, but we think the current high quality STL is balanced very well between performance/file size/precision. Or we could even offer a user interface, where you could set these values to arbitrary values.

PRO file formats:

STEP is the ultimate data format for CAD data exchange. It is an awesome standard, that is meant to become the number 1 data exchange format between different CAD systems - and it actually does a great job at this. If you want to use Shapr with any other CAD, you should go with STEP export, since this file format is compatible with ALL the major 3D modeling systems (SolidWorks, CATIA, Rhino, Onshape, PRO/E, Creo, AutoCAD, you name it. Everything.) Based on user feedback, Shapr’s STEP export is very robust, and does a really great job, just look at this Mars ROVR (pun intended) that I made in and exported from Shapr and imported to Rhino.

There are many really complex features in this model, complex fillets, lofts, nurbs surfaces, revolved bodies, extrusions, etc. and Rhino imported it like a charm. Wow.

The awesome GrabCAD guys wrote a great article about IGES, so I will just quote the most important sentence from that article:

But a word of caution: while STEP and IGES are often grouped together in the same breath, they are certainly not equivalent. In fact, if formats were horses, it’s probably time to send the IGES pony to the glue factory.

Why do we support IGES then?

  1. Because we can
  2. In some very rare cases it can be useful. But you should always go with STEP if you can.

Shapr can handle STEP and IGES imports, and you can use the imported models just like if you created them in the app. It can handle really complex models, and with an upcoming update (2 weeks), you will get our brand new, and super polished rendering engine, so even for really complex imported models you won’t notice any lag. Yes, the iPad Pro is really that powerful.

Why don’t you guys support STL imports? I really want that!

Shapr3D is a so called solid modeler. This means that the underlying representation in Shapr are parametric surfaces and parametric curves. However, STL contains just a set of triangles. Thus importing STL would mean that we would have to convert a set of (maybe poorly connected) triangles to well connected surfaces. Do you know how to do that? No? Neither do we! Okay, just kidding, actually we do have some ideas how to do that, but that would be really, really hard to do, BUT we do have plans for doing this, maybe next year. But actually STL was never meant to be an input format for CAD, so if you want to import models, you may want to take a look at GrabCAD, where you can find lots of high quality models in STEP and IGES formats.

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How do I export the contents of one group when I have many other groups in a work space.

Currently you can’t do that, but actually that would be a good feature.

Can I duplicate a work space. I use this program to render engagement rings. I create template “tools” basically subtract with.

I create template tools to subtract with in the creation of my rings. Do have to recreate the tools in each new work space? It would be great if there where away store them and simply repeat or copy a work space.

You can’t do that currrently, but as a workaround you can export your workspace to .shapr format, and import it to any of your workspaces.

Hi there - have had a bit of a break from Shapr recently and have been doing some modelling using Zbrush. You may be interested to hear that I constantly found myself thinking how much easier it would be to create a particular shape in Shapr rather than using the zmodeller brush in Zbrush! Anyway, I decided to see how easy it would be to incorporate Shapr into my Zbrush workflow. Someone else had already posted a message saying that they transferred an STL file from Shapr to Zbrush. I decided to have a go using a Shapr model I made a few weeks ago - meccano steam engine. I exported this from Shapr using high quality STL - about 120MB. I sent this to Dropbox. I then downloaded this into Zbrush using the 3D print plugin. All detail has been retained - see pictures below. I then did some re-grouping and divided the model into different sub tools - all done with a few clicks. I then sent this across to Keyshot (using Zbrushbridge) and drag and dropped materials onto the model - adding the meccano logo. Anyway, it all worked well and I am going to continue to use Shapr as part of my workflow for Zbrush. Best wishes to you all. Andy


Amazing as always. Actually with the nrxt release the rendering will be fixed sonyou can finish your tank :wink:

Sounds good to me :slight_smile:

I had asked about possibility of import from export to Sketchup. You mentioned that it as a non solids modeler would not work for many of the reasons you shared here. One other option is a 3d program called form Z. It is a solids modeler may use shared formats with shapr 3d or no ?

Yes, Form-Z supports the undustry standard STP file format, thus it is compatible with Shapr.

Disclaimer: we have not tried it, however we never had any issues with STP based data exchange with other CAD.

Thanks Istvan,
Richard Stanley

I recall your earlier note that Shar would not work with Sketchup because the latter did not use or export .stl files by design.
Well that condition may change :
I was looking for a plug in for sketchup this evening when I came across this: An .stl conversion script for sketchup:
(see screen shot of the lowermost entry in this Extension warehouse ( a script and forum access point for Sketchup)
: Its apparently for communicating with 3d [riter but is it sufficient for use with to from Shapr ?
What do you think ?

Richard Stanley

You can’t import STL to Shapr.

Does this method of creating and saving/exporting a shapr model and then pulling it into another model introduce any odd artifacts? The reason I ask is that I was doing a lot of experiments trying to determine exactly how a part would turn out on a router when using an angled (dovetail) router bit. This had me repeating the whole process of drawing the router bit then subtracting it from different parts of my model.

To simplify, I tried creating a shapr file that just had the router bit and then importing it into a file. Unfortunately, when I did this, shapr failed to make the subtraction. What I’m wondering was whether this was because I drew my router bit wrong, or if it’s because of a fundamental problem of my workflow.

Any clarity would be appreciated.

Not your fault. We are currently wokring on a HUGE project, that will vastly improve the robustness and reliability of Shapr. I can’t tell too much about it, but if we succeed, it will be a huge step forward not only for Shapr, but for iOS as a platform :slight_smile: stay tuned :wink:

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