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 Shapr3D 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, Shapr3D’s STEP export is very robust, and does a really great job, just look at this Mars ROVR (pun intended) that we made in Shapr3D (download file: Mars-Rover.step) and imported to Rhino.
Step 1: Mars Rover created in Shapr3D.
Shapr3D STEP file format export
Step 2: Export to STEP file format.
Step 3: Import STEP into 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. You can download the Mars Rovr exported from Shapr3D in .STP fromat here (11MB, uploaded to Google Drive). Import it to your CAD of choice!
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?
- Because we can
- In some very rare cases it can be useful. But you should always go with STEP if you can.
Shapr3D can handle
And you can use the imported models just like if you created them in the app.
Why don’t you guys support STL imports?
Shapr3D is a so called solid modeler. This means that the underlying representation in Shapr3D 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.