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Acceptable CAD Formats


ProtoCAM can accept several types of files as input data. We accept files from any CAD package, provided the geometry is exported into an STL (stereolithography) file format. The STL file format is standard for the Rapid Prototyping industry.  This format approximates the surface of a parametric solid model with a mesh of triangles.  For detailed instructions, please consult our instructions for exporting STL files from various CAD packages.

In addition to STL files, we also accept these file formats:

  • Pro/ENGINEER (*.PRT.*)
  • SolidWorks (*.SLDPRT)
  • Rhino 3D (*.3DM)
  • STEP (*.STEP/*.STP)
  • IGES (*.IGES/*.IGS)
  • Parasolid (*.X_T)
  • ACIS (*.SAT)
  • Neutral (*.NEU)

Please visit the Instructions page for information on transferring files for quotation (or visit our Online Request for Quotation).

Exporting STL Files

AutoCAD Autodesk Inventor CADKEY I-DEAS
IronCAD Mechanical Desktop ProE/Creo Solid Designer
SolidEdge SolidWorks Unigraphics


Your design must be a three-dimensional solid object to output an STL file.
Type these commands in AutoCAD's command line:

  1. Set DISPSILH to 1
  2. Set ISOLINES to 0
  3. Set FACETRES to 10
  4. Relocate the object to the positive X-Y-Z octant
  5. Use the STLOUT command to export an STL file. (AMSTLOUT for AutoCAD Desktop files)

Autodesk Inventor

The detail settings for STL Output are stored in the registry.  Information on changing the detail level can be found at Autodesk's website, under the title "Set accuracy for exporting STL files from Autodesk Inventor software" and ID TS64378.

  1. Go to the File menu, then select the Save Copy As... choice
  2. Select STL from the Types drop-down
  3. Click the Options button, and choose the High detail level
  4. Click the Save Button.


  1. Go to the File menu, then Export, then STL
  2. Type in a filename and select OK
  3. A new window will appear with options for the export
  4. Change Format to Binary
  5. Change Facet Tolerance if a higher resolution STL file is desired

Additional export tolerance options are in the Solids99 Configuration window accessed from the Tolerance section of Configuration.


  1. Select File then Export, next choose Rapid Prototype File then OK.
  2. Select the Part to be prototyped
  3. Select Prototype Device then, SLA500.dat then OK
  4. Set absolute facet deviation to 0.000395
  5. Select Binary, then OK


  1. Select Part Properties then Rendering
  2. Set Facet Surface Smoothing to 150
  3. Select File then Export
  4. Select .STL

Mechanical Desktop

  1. Use the AMSTLOUT command to export the STL file.

Pro/ENGINEER or Creo

We are able to accept native Pro/E and Creo files, so please consider sending us the .PRT file instead of an STL.

  1. Select File, then Save As
  2. Pick .STL from the Save As Type dropdown menu
  3. Input 0 for the chord height
  4. Leave Angle Control at default
  5. Select OK


  1. Select the File menu, then External, then Save STL
  2. Select Binary mode
  3. Select Part
  4. Type in your Filename
  5. Enter 0.01 mm for the Max Deviation Distance
  6. Select OK


  1. Select File, then Save As
  2. Set Save As Type to STL
  3. Select Options
  4. Set Conversion Tolerance to 0.001 in or 0.0254 mm.
  5. Set Surface Plane Angle to 45.00°
  6. Select Save


We are able to accept native SolidWorks files, so instead of creating a STL, please consider sending us the SLDPRT (and any appropriate drawings or assemblies)

  1. Select File, then Save As...
  2. Select STL (*.STL)"
  3. Select Options
  4. Set Resolution to Fine
  5. Select OK
  6. Select Save


  1. Select File, then Export, then Rapid Prototyping
  2. Set Output Type to Binary
  3. Set Triangle Tolerance to 0.0025
  4. Set Adjacency Tolerance to 0.12
  5. Set Auto Normal Gen to On
  6. Set Normal Display to Off
  7. Set Triangle Display to On

Contact ProtoCAM

Contact Us to inquire about how ProtoCAM can help you or to request a quotation.