Converting STL to PDF

Converting STL to PDF

3D CAD users and STL users can now easily convert and enhance STL files into 3D PDFs at the click of a button using PDF3D ReportGen.

Why Would You Need to Convert STL into PDF?

STL is the format generated for 3D printing and is used by many who work within engineering, design, dentistry and additive manufacturing – as well as a growing number of people who use 3D printers at home.

Whilst STL works perfectly within the domestic environment, those working with the file in a professional setting where workflow efficiency, fast communications, quick decision making and high security requirements are critical, can find that STL falls short.

In most cases, multiple users and teams within larger organisations are involved during the design, preview and approval processes where communication and sharing of virtual electronic document versions of the 3D model is required.  Unfortunately, not everyone involved is able to open and view an STL file which can delay or halt communications.  There’s also the issue of leaking valuable 3D design data when the STL file is shared, which can be especially risky when STL’s are emailed.

Using ReportGen to Enhance STL

STL/PDF conversion has been possible for a while but all is not equal when it comes to the tools used to do it.

PDF3D ReportGen has many features that not only remove the issues users have with STL in the workplace, it also has the ability to enhance STL files by creating a much richer viewing experience for the user.

  • ReportGen uses advanced PRC in 3D PDF, which allows the creator to annotate the 3D image or model with details that provide added explanation, for example, with accompanying design description, part names, labels, dimensions, versions and project data.
  • ReportGen strengthens security of the file to protect valuable or sensitive deigns in transit. Once the 3D model is inside the PDF – unlike the STL – encryption, password protection and digital signing can be easily added.
  • With ReportGen, 3D geometric detail is retained even when reducing the file size to a 20th of its original size, making it easier to share and email without sacrificing data in the process.
  • With ReportGen, you can create a Progressive Animation showing the individual parts or stages of the 3D image and how it builds to create the whole, which is a great feature for showing cause and effect within a moving time sequence.
  • Viewing controls are superior with ReportGen, as it allows the recipient to isolate views of specific parts, with responsive zoom and rotate within an interactive file.

A Step by Step Guide to Converting STL to PDF

After starting up PDF3D ReportGen, all of the following steps can be done with menu mouse clicks. No need for programming, scripting or editing any files.

  1. Load one or more STL files into the input file list
  2. Go to the visual effects tab on the left side button list
  3. Click on Interface selector and set STL interface for each file
  4. Use pull down to select a single STL one at a time
  5. With each one selected in turn enable tick boxes for diffuse, specular color options.
  6. Use color selector to pick some unique color for each part
  7. Click convert to generate the new 3D PDF

Further Reading

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