STL Viewers

From: Kevin Robertson (
Date: Sat Jan 31 1998 - 05:19:02 EET

As promised, below is a summary of the responses regarding software for
viewing STL and IGES files. It appears there are only 5 or so software
packages out there and the usage doesn't seem extensive due to the limited
responses. If anyone cares to comment on this aspect in general it would be
interesting to hear. Thanks for those that took time to participate.


Kevin Robertson
ARRK-San Diego, CA USA

Here at the Boeing Co. in Seattle we have SolidView2 on a PC in the
office. For basic file manipulation (orientation and splitting stl's)
its very easy to use and fast. Much easier than either CATIA or 3d's
Maestro View on the SGI. However, there are a few problems. Our latest
version has a glitch which won't let you change the build envelope. (A
fix is available, we just haven't got it yet) Also, occasionally when
we split a part it will corrupt the stl pieces. Its not consistant and
the results seem to vary with different machines. That is a part will
scan corrupted on the dtm until we do a 3d verify on Maestro which will
fix it. But I also built a part on an SLA500 that turned out bad after
a 3dverify but built fine unverified. I'm mystified.
Michael W Miller (
The Boeing Company MS 17-PE B-XT62
Propulsion Experimental Hardware 206-655-3289
Rapid Prototyping 655-4366 Lab 655-4365

We are currently using Solid View/RP Master 2.10 and are very pleased with
the performance and options it has available- supports, support slice, build
time estimator, and layout for various RP processes preprogramed (there's
more, but I'd end up typing all day). Bottom line - I'm very pleased with
it. The RP Master version gets a bit pricey - $6400 after licensing (
ballpark pricing ) but that depends on what toys you require.

Best Regards,
Jody Hudrick

I am a fan of Kandu software's CADMOVER. CADMOVER excels at difficult
translations including DWG,DXF, IGES, DDES, STL, HPGL. It has basic view,
zoom, and rotation cammands as well. Apparently more utility is the way to
operate on only portions of the file etc. Robust and with good tech
support. about $500. for win AND Mac!

Charles Overy

I used Magics & Solidview for 8 months. Magics was much better. File
repairs & checking just a breeze w/Magics. Get a demo of both! See what
fits your needs.

Brian Coyne

I've ever used several STL viewers, Magics RP4.2, SolidView2.1, STLView7.0,
3DView and etc. Some of them are more powerful(magicsRP) but more expensive
($3,500) as well, some of them(3DView) are free(not shareware). Most of them
have the same features, such as viewing, slicing, support generation and
etc. We have a software list at web site: Here you can find most
of the RP software on the market.


Wei Feng -- Research Scholar
205 Fluor Daniel EIB
Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Mech. Eng. Dept.
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, U.S.A
Phone :864-656-5642(o) or 864-624-9746(H)
Fax :864-656-4435

In my experience the best STL/IGES visualizer is from Actify
( It is inexpensive, has good performance and a
lot of nifty features that go beyond ordinary visualization.

-Rakesh Raju

Squishy Fx
Software  Assisted  Uncertain  Art

I looked at a number of viewers for STL and IGES and decided to go with Actify's 3D View. When you taken into account the rice/performance/features it was an easy decision for me. For $75 I get both STL and IGES (others charge $500 for each). It uses Open GL which provides me two things: a a very nice rendered image and increased performance because it takes advantage of my open gl accelerator card. Other things I like: intutive to use, nice cross sectioning and allows loading multiple models in the same window.

One short coming is that it does not support IGES "wireframes" (they claim it will in the next release)

I was also happy with the quick response (support) Actify provided for several questions I had.

hope it helps.

regards, Madhav

I am using Actify's 3D View and I am very happy with it. It reads both STL and IGES plus several others. Graphics is great, includes dynamic cross sectioning and it also has some measurement and markup capabilities. For the money it has the best value. I found the graphics particularly good and also the ability to import various file formats together is useful. You can even load an STL file along with NC toolpaths to see how they match. On the downside this is a generic viewer and does not have any RP oriented feature. If you care about STL correctness check or stuff like that you won't find it in this product. Check out their page:

Hope this helps,

Binh Email: HT Medical Inc. Phone: (301)984-3706 6001 Montrose Road, Suite 902 Fax:(301)984-2104 Rockville, MD 20852-4874 USA

i purhase 3D View a couple of months ago. i find it easy to use and cheap, $70. i mainly use it for STL and VDA viewing. sometimes i also use IGES. I didn't look at many but the price was right. I am not sure why others charge more. overall i am happy with.

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