What Are DWG and STL Files?
Both DWG and STL are file formats that can be used to create 3D objects. STL, known originally as “stereolithography”, is a file format for 3D objects. These objects are mathematically tessellated. Tessellation means the object is built from many triangular shapes patterned on the surface of the object.
DWG, or “drawing”, is a proprietary file format for 3D objects from Autodesk. Unlike STL files, DWG files are not based upon tessellated patterns to form the object. These files can define shapes other than triangles and can more exactly describe a 3D object.
Considering Autodesk has many popular programs for designing and modeling, you may find many of your files are saved as DWG. This can become problematic if you go to load this file to your 3D printer. STL is the standard format read by slicers and 3D printers.
But don’t worry, there are two really simple ways to get your DWG to STL for all your 3D printing needs.
Method #1: Using Autodesk Products
Even though it might seem difficult, converting from DWG to STL is a straightforward process using Autodesk products. In Autodesk Fusion 360, you can right-click on the listed part and select “Save as STL”.
The only potential difficulty is to choose whether to save in binary format or ASCII format. Binary formatting creates a smaller file size and is the ideal choice. However, ASCII formatting can be easier to edit the code line by line if needed for more advanced users. You might do this to control the speed of prints during a portion of the print to achieve optimum results.
As for similar Autodesk products, such as AutoCAD, DWG files can be converted to STL using the following method. Go to Export in the file menu and select “Other formats”. This will allow you to select STL in the drop-down menu.
Method #2: Using an Online Converter
Converting from DWG to STL using online converters is fairly straightforward. ConvertCADFiles offers free conversion up to 100 KB. You simply upload the file, choose the output format, enter your email, and wait for your newly converted file to arrive in your inbox.
For larger files, up to 1 MB, you can purchase a conversion for 1 € ($1.13). If more conversions are needed, larger packages can be purchased to convert up to 50 files for 40€ (20% discount).
ConvertCADFiles is great because it can convert several different types of CAD file formats. The available inputs are too many to list, but the output options include STL, PDF, OBJ, and 3DS.
Overall, converting from DWG to STL is a simple process that is only a few clicks away.