In the beginning of this year, we shook up the Community and explained why it was time to move away from STL file format for 3D printing; you lose resolution, you lose color, and most importantly, you lose time.
This month, we’re here to present a file type that will help you forget all about STLs: 3MF. This 3D manufacturing format (3MF) is a great option for 3D printing (especially for designers), and in this blog post, we’ll explain why and how you can use 3MF in GrabCAD Print!
What is 3MF?
To be super technical, 3MF is an XML-based data format. But what makes this format valuable is that it delivers a complete package of model information in a single archive. That’s right, this includes data on textures, materials, colors, and mesh.
Basically, it holds all the information you need about a model, making it extremely useful for when you’re working between a variety of 3D modeling software, or collaborating on multiple platforms. In addition, you won’t need to worry about 3MF data getting lost in translation between 3D printers.
Why 3MF Is Better Than STL File Format
As many of you know, STL files are pretty basic; it’s unstructured, triangulated surfaces that don’t contain color or material information. In fact, STL files only describe the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object.
So in comparison to 3MF files, which can package all the data you need to 3D print a model, STLs require more work.
3MF Integration with GrabCAD Print
Now for the exciting part: It is now possible to import 3MF files in GrabCAD Print! Our software simplifies the color 3D printing process by utilizing 3MF file import so your end part includes your full design intent.
As you probably noticed from watching the video, this new workflow is life-changing for color 3D printing. It also allows for design teams to save time on prototyping, enabling more prototyping iterations, and ensuring end products get to market faster.
Just look at Shuvom's complex color workflow from two years ago:
But now, with the enhanced workflow, you can see the simplified process:
Want to try it yourself? All you need to do is make sure you have GrabCAD Print 1.60 downloaded to your computer. Attached below you will find a tutorial to help get you started with the new simplified workflow: How to Import 3MF Files from SOLIDWORKS Into GrabCAD Print.
Want to try more GrabCAD Print features? Try our 3D Printing Lesson Plans for Stratasys Software.