CAD Data Exchange Formats

From: Mike Pratt - MIDT (
Date: Fri Dec 12 1997 - 17:03:07 EET

Roald, Einar,

These are file formats for CAD model exchange:

SAT - a proprietary but published format for the storage and
      transmission of models created by the solid modeler ACIS from
      Spatial Technology. ACIS is the kernel modeler in quite a
      number of CAD systems.

DXF - a proprietary format for the transmission of AutoCAD data, but
      widely used by other PC-based systems, I believe.

VDA-FS - a German standard for the transmission of CAD surface data,
      mainly for free-form surfaces used in the automotive industry

IGES - a general CAD data transfer format covering a range of model
      types from wireframe up to boundary representation solid models.
      This is a US standard, and in wide use by industry. IGES
      development will shortly terminate, and users will be encouraged
      to migrate to STEP
STEP - an international standard (ISO 10303) for product data exchange,
      under active development. It currently includes all of IGES'
      capability in the mechanical engineering area, also that of
      VDA-FS, and will eventually cover a wide range of product types
      and product life-cycle stages. There is at present no specific
      RP capability, athough there is a format corresponding to STL for
      pure shape models. You can find more at
      It is likely that work will begin soon on RP-related data including
      slice formats, materials data and so on.

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