ProtoCAM: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping.

Additive Manufacturing Quote Process File Type Question and Answer

November 21, 2013

This is the first in a series of FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions – that ProtoCAM hears from customers who call or email. The topic – File Types!

A critical part of any interaction with ProtoCAM is the file that is sent to us containing the representation of the part or prototype to be produced. Getting this handshake – the exchange of the 3D CAD file – accomplished smoothly is a good first step that allows us to review the part quickly and process your request for quote or questions in the shortest time possible.

Here are some typical questions we hear, and our best responses:

What File Formats do we prefer?

ProtoCAM easily accepts any of the following file formats:

  • STL files – STL is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems. File extension: *.stl
  • Native Pro/E files – from Pro/ENGINEER. File extensions: *.prt, *.prt.*, *.xpr
  • Native SolidWorks files – SolidWorks is a 3D mechanical CAD (computer-aided design) program from Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. File extensions: *.sldprt, *.sldasm, *.slddrw
  • Parasolid files – Parasolid is a geometric modeling software from Siemens PLM Software used in many CAD/CAM packages. File extensions: *.x_t, *.x_b
  • STEP files – ISO 10303 is an ISO standard for the computer-interpretable representation and exchange of product manufacturing information. It is known informally as “STEP”, which stands for “Standard for the Exchange of Product model data”. File extensions: *.stp, *.step
  • IGES files – an Initial Graphics Exchange Specification is a file format which defines a vendor neutral data format that allows the digital exchange of information among CAD systems. File extensions: *.iges

Other file types may be acceptable – contact ProtoCAM and our engineers will verify.

What Settings Should I use when exporting an STL file?

ProtoCAM’s preference would be that you to export a binary file using the highest resolution setting your CAD package will allow. If this results in an abnormally large file size or if you cannot get the desired resolution, you can submit one of the other preferred file formats for ProtoCAM to translate.

What is the best way for me to send you my files?

Use the file upload feature in ProtoCAM’s Request a Quote form or Instant Quoting Platform. If the file is unusually large or there are other extenuating circumstances, check our alternative file transfer instructions or contact ProtoCAM to make other file transfer arrangements.