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Convert Your 3D Mesh/Model STP Files to STL

Our free and fast tool will convert most 3D STP model/CAD files to a standard STL (Standard Triangle Language) file that can then be edited further in most popular 3D editing packages, such as Blender or 3D printed without any further processing. Our conversion tool can also batch convert multiple STP files; up to 25 files at a time can be converted. If your STP file is compressed, you can use our STPZ to STL converter.

To convert your STP file, click the Upload button above and select the file to convert. Once selected, the file will be uploaded to our server and converted to an STL file ready for download shortly afterwards. For more information about the STP to STL conversion process, see the conversion information section below.

How to Convert your STP to STL Online?

Here are two simple steps to convert your STP to STL.

Upload a STP

Click the "Upload a STP File" button and select a STP to upload. The maximum file size is 50MB.

Download your STL

Click the download link once completed to receive your STL file.

A Comparison of STP and STL File Formats

Here we will take a look at both STP and STL formats and compare the two side by side, looking at major differences between them and when using one over the other is appropriate.

Structure

Firstly, how an STP file stores its 3D model data is very different from how an STL file stores it. Firstly, it may not be well known, but the STL format comes in two flavors: text and binary. While the majority of STL files out there will be binary, there are some 3D applications that export to the STL text format. Regardless of whether an STL file is binary or text, the capabilities are pretty much the same, in that they can only store triangular mesh data with no material or surface color data.

STP files, on the other hand, are text-based files that store their 3D model data in a scalable vector format, ensuring no loss in quality if the model is scaled up. STL files suffer from loss of fidelity when scaled up due to the data being stored in a mesh format as can be seen from the example below.

An STP File of a Toy Cloud

An STP File of a Toy Cloud

The Same Cloud File as an STL

The Same Cloud File as an STL

Mesh Triangles Visible in the STL Cloud File

Mesh Triangles Visible in the STL Cloud File

Supported Material

Neither STP nor STL formats support material and color capabilities, mainly due to the fact that the STL format was intended to be a simple container for triangular mesh data. There were some vendor-specific versions of STL created to add simple face color capabilities; however, these were limited in the number of colors that could be used, and most other software did not support them. The STP format does not support material colors, mainly because it is primarily intended to be used as a format for transferring shape data between different CAD applications.

Editing

Both STL and STP files have widespread support for use within 3D modeling and CAD applications. The STL format, due to its mesh format, is mainly used within 3D modeling applications. STP files were designed primarily as an interim CAD format, which means that most 3D CAD applications have support for importing and editing STP files. Some CAD applications allow the importing of STL files; however, with the triangular mesh-based nature of STL files, this may not be suitable for all 3D models.

File Size

STP files are efficient at storing 3D model data without the file size becoming too large; however, STL files can become very large, especially for models containing hundreds of thousands or millions of triangles. If you are looking to reduce the size of your STL file, we have an STL compression tool that will reduce the size as much as possible without any loss in quality. Both formats can be compressed in specialist compression formats, such as ZIP, with very good results.

Summary

The choice of whether to use an STL file or an STP file depends mostly on what you intend to use it for. If you are looking to 3D print a model or transfer 3D mesh geometry between different 3D modeling applications, then STL is the format for you. If, however, you are looking to exchange data between CAD applications, then STP is the preferred way to go.

File Format Information for STP to STL

ExtensionSTP
Full NameSTEP-File
Type3D Model
Mime Typeapplication/octet-stream
FormatBinary
ToolsSTP Converters, 3D Model Voxelizer, Create STP Animation, Text to STP, STP Viewer
Open WithCAD Assistant

Description

The STP file format, which can also be found with the extension STEP, is a 3D format defined in 1994 and used to store 3D objects for use in computer-aided design (CAD) applications. STP files are text-based, formatted files containing one instance per line.

Although STP files are widely supported by most CAD applications, the format does have its limitations, such as the necessity to read the complete file into memory in order to parse the contents, and due to the textual storage of information, the files can be quite large.

STP Notes

STL files, when imported, will be converted to 3D geometry comprising vertices and faces. If the STL file contains color information, this will be converted where possible.

Supported Features

  • Mesh geometry
  • Mesh colors
ExtensionSTL
Full NameStandard Triangle Language
Type3D Model
Mime Typeapplication/vnd.ms-pki.stl
FormatText & Binary
ToolsSTL Converters, 3D Model Voxelizer, Create STL Animation, Compress STL, Text to STL, STL Viewer
Open WithBlender, Daz Studio, MeshLab, CAD Assistant

Description

The STL file format has its roots in the 1980's and is the native file format for 3D Systems stereolithography CAD software. The format defines a triangulated mesh with vertices and faces and is a popular format for sharing 3D printable model files.

There were several formats that attempted to extend the STL format, namely SolidView and VisCAM, whose formats included limited 15-bit color information for each mesh face, which is often ignored by most modern 3D software. The STL format can be either text or binary; our tools will support both formats.

STL Notes

The standard STL file format does not support colored faces, vertices, or texture information. The STL file generated by the tool will contain only raw mesh/triangle data by default, which is perfect for 3D printing.

The tool also has the option to save the file to one of the non-standard formats that support colored faces, such as VisCAM and SolidView which is perfect if you want to further process the STL in software that supports these formats.

Supported Features

  • Mesh geometry
  • Face colors via the VisCAM and SolidView formats
  • Binary and text versions are supported

Comparing STP and STL Features

 

STP Features

  • Mesh Geometry (Vertices and Faces)
  • Vertex Normals
  • Face Normals
  • Vertex Colors
  • Face Materials (Excluding textures)
  • Textures
  • Point Cloud
  • Multiple Objects Per File
  • Object Transforms (Translation, Rotation, and Scale)
  • Bones/Joints
  • Animations
  • Suitable for 3D Printing

STL Features

  • Mesh Geometry (Vertices and Faces)
  • Vertex Normals
  • Face Normals
  • Vertex Colors
  • Face Materials (Excluding textures)
  • Textures
  • Point Cloud
  • Multiple Objects Per File
  • Object Transforms (Translation, Rotation, and Scale)
  • Bones/Joints
  • Animations
  • Suitable for 3D Printing

How does it work?

Converting from the STP file format to STL can be a complex process, and any tool used for this conversion process needs to be able to handle a variety of data conversion tasks as well as identify any defects within the 3D model and fix them. Here we will explain the conversion process used by our tool to accurately convert your STP file to a valid STL 3D model. Let's start with the conversion process, which involves the following steps:

Step 1: Read the Source STP File

In its simplest form, a STP file is a human readable text file file containing 3D data such as shapes, surfaces, curves and other geometric data. When combined, these make up the 3D model you see on your screen.

For more information regarding the STP file format, please see this great article that goes into a lot of detail explaining the STP format.

Step 2: Process File Data

With the STP file data read, our tool generates an internal representation of the full 3D model and will attempt to fix any geometry issues encountered. Along with repairing any issues with the 3D model, the tool will remove any duplicated vertices and prepare the model for exporting to the STL format.

Step 1: Read the Source STP File

Step 3: Saving to the STL Format

The STL format has been around for many years and has become not only a standard format for storing and transmitting 3D models but also a standard format for 3D printing, something we have talked about previously. STL files can be opened in most modern 3D editing applications without further processing.

To enable the saving of the model, our tool now needs to take the in-memory 3D model we have created in step 2 and convert this to the STL format. As the STL format supports only simple triangles with a single directional normal, if your STP contains vertex normals, these will be recalculated into a single-face normal. To ensure an efficient file size, our tool will always save any STL file in its binary format.

Converting Your STP File for 3D Printing

Software used to prepare a 3D model file for printing, which is also known as 3D slicer software, cannot usually open STP files. This is because slicer software authors will support the most common formats used for 3D printing, such as STL and 3MF and do not have the resources to implement 3D object parsers for all the possible 3D formats that are out there.

A small cog in the STP format

A small cog in the STP format

The cog in a Replicator 3D printer

The cog in a Replicator 3D printer

The completed 3D printed cog

The completed 3D printed cog

Slicer software can, however, handle files formatted to the STL specification. This is because STL, although predating the 3D printing revolution and lacking in some of the features of modern formats, has found almost universal adoption as the format of choice for distributing 3D printable models. Our STP to STL conversion tool can convert your STP file into an STL file suitable for loading into the 3D slicer software of your choice. As STL files do not support material colors or textures, our converter will not process these, resulting in a single STL file suitable for use with most 3D slicer software.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I convert my STP file to STL?

First click the "Upload..." button, select your STP file to upload. Select any configuration options. When the STP to STL conversion has completed, you can download your STL file straight away.

How long does it take to convert my STP to STL?

We aim to process all STP to STL conversions as quickly as possible, this usually takes around 5 seconds but can be more for larger more complex files so please be patient.

How accurate is the STP to STL conversion?

We aim to create the most accurate conversions with our tools. Our tools are under constant development with new features and improvements being added every week.

Is it safe to convert my STP to STL on ImageToStl.com?

Yes, of course! We do not store the STP file you submit to us. The resulting STL file, once created is deleted 15 minutes after upload and the download link will expire after this time.

Can I convert my STP to STL on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS or Mac OS?

Yes! Our STP to STL tool will run on any system with a modern web browser. No specialist software is needed to run any of our conversion tools.

What if I am using an Ad Blocker, will that affect things?

Yes. Although you can use an Ad Blocker, if you like our STP conversion tool please consider white-listing our site. When an Ad Blocker is enabled there are some conversion limits on some of our tools and processing/conversion times will be longer.

Can I get support with converting my STP to STL?

Yes. When you have converted your STP to STL, there is a "Feedback" option that you can use to let us know of any issues you encountered when converting your file.

If my STP file is compressed, can I still use it?

Yes. If your STP file is compressed, our tool will detect this automatically and load the 3D model from the STP file as normal.

What is an STL file?

The STL file format describes an unstructured triangulated surface of the triangles using a 3D Cartesian coordinate system. STL files do not contain any scale information, and the units are arbitrary. We have a more detailed description of an STL file here.

What STL formats can I convert to?

Our tool will save all STL files in binary format. Optionally, our tool will allow you to save to the non-standard color STL format.

I have several STP files; can I batch convert my STP to STL?

Yes! Our STP tool supports full batch conversions. You can upload up to 25 and STP files at a time. Our tool will convert them all as quickly as possible. Once completed, you can either download the STL files individually or download them all in a single ZIP file.

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