InStep Studio


Simple File Import Simple Interface: Import

Time to read: ~2 min

The Import button represents the starting point for loading facetted polygon data files. The most common of these is likely the STL file format ("STereo -Lithography)"). Both Binary and Ascii (plain text) files are supported with the application automatically distinguishing between the two formats.
Additionally, OBJ files are also supported though this file format comes in more flavors and thus it is possible that certain aspects that were stored in the file cannot be correctly imported into the InStep Studio application. In those cases, it is recommended that any options in the original application for exporting to 'triangles' or 'facets' or similar be considered. Similarly, textures and some color options are not supported as there is no equivalent output option in the STEP format and thus, even if the data were imported, the output to the most important format (for this application anyway) would not result in anything beyond the geometric entities.

More Formats...

File formats for 3D/CAD files come in a vast number of flavors. Some are aimed at 'Mesh' or 'Polygon' style usage (3D printing, Animation, Visualization, etc.) with STL and OBJ likely being at the very forefront based on the number of supported applications. Others fall into the (Mechanical) CAD use with almost every major CAD application using its own, proprietary format in addition to application-neutral formats such as IGES, Parasolid or STEP.
What is important is that the InStep application will not import the CAD neutral formats, only mesh data. Conversion between different Mesh/Polygon file formats can often be accomplished by free applications (Blender, Wings3D, MeshLab, etc.) and therefore not a great amount of effort has been spent in re-creating those capabilities. Almost all applications will be able to export to STL (or OBJ) and therefore we feel that if we support one or the other, we've done a good job... unless you disagree and just absolutely need a file format supported that you have no other way of using. In that case, please Contact Us and let us know. If you can provide a spec of the format as well as some examples and are prepared to contribute some time to testing, we may just be able to add the option to the application.


It is easy to get carried away by posted capabilities of an application and InStep should not be considered any different. The main purpose of the application is to provide tools to convert Mesh based data to Boundary Representations in the STEP file format. If the source of data (i.e. the Polygon file) is from an application that is pushing the limits of what the file format can do or uses the file format in a way that is not immediately apparent, then there is a reasonable chance that there will be errors in how the file contents are processed, leading to complications. Keeping things as simple as possible is usually the most prudent approach and should be considered even for cases where it is ultimately required to use highly complicated data in the same process: in these cases, a simpler test case should first be used to gain familiarity in what the application does and possible issues. Gradually increasing the level of complexity will often lead to insights that even an email to the support team could not otherwise provide.