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  1. #1
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    Importing STL (STereoLithography) into SC

    Hi,
    I did a search and couldn't find any threads on this subject.
    Has anyone imported .STL files into SC and then worked on them? Importing them is really not the question as that seems to work fine; however what can you do with them once imported? Unless I am doing something wrong you can only pick the mess and not any surfaces or edges.
    I reviewed the SC manual, but as most of you know that is a rather useless effort. The manual does say STL can be imported but nothing else that I can see. I looked in Youtube without success.

    So the request for help here either to confirm that you can't really work with STL's (as in machining them) or what do I need to do to be able to machine them.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    You can bring the "Mesh" into SC and use 2D geometry tab to create edges that you can then use to create tool paths. Very clumsy way of getting there tho. Especially trying to trace arcs and circles from the mesh file. You get more geometry to pick from if you just imported a .dfx rather than a .stl. solid mesh.

    If you can export iges files out of your cad or from your customers you would be better off.

    HTH
    Gerry
    Currently using SC7 Build 1.6 Rev. 64105

  3. #3
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    Thanks Gerry, kinda what I thought.
    The reason I was inquiring about this is because Alibre PE, I at least believe, will only export in STL.

    The work to add 2D geometry, as you suggested, is quite alot of work, especially the more complex surfaces. Not what I want to spend my time at.

    I currently do my work from IGES and that works; however this was a customer issue.

    Thanks for the feedback

  4. #4
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    Your welcome.
    I have to look at Tormach's web site again to be sure but I think their version of Alibre PE (Alibre Special Edition) does have the add on or whatever to export iges.
    Gerry
    Currently using SC7 Build 1.6 Rev. 64105

  5. #5
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    I don't think Tormach sells it anymore at least not in their shopping area. They talk about it but that seems to be all. They sell IronCad.

    If I am wrong and you know the link please let me know.

  6. #6
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    Looks like you are right. You can go to a page on Tormach's web site for Alibre but when you click on "Shop Now" you get a dead end. Too bad, Alibre PE with the iges export capabilities was a pretty good deal at Tormach. I almost bought it when I bought my mill but I was too used to SolidWorks and decided to stick with the old version I have of that.
    I wonder if you email Tormach or call they will have more info?
    Gerry
    Currently using SC7 Build 1.6 Rev. 64105

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRF View Post
    Thanks Gerry, kinda what I thought.
    The reason I was inquiring about this is because Alibre PE, I at least believe, will only export in STL.

    The work to add 2D geometry, as you suggested, is quite alot of work, especially the more complex surfaces. Not what I want to spend my time at.

    I currently do my work from IGES and that works; however this was a customer issue.

    Thanks for the feedback
    Alibre does sell a translate product that might generate IGES files for you.

    Also, the Pro and Expert versions of Alibre use STEP as their native file format. Maybe SC 8 will read your Alibre PE files with their Step import facility.

    Mike

  8. #8
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    Gerry,
    I will call Alibre tomorrow and find out my options as to a translator.
    As for the STEP idea I have a test part I made in the Alibre free trial. I saved it as a STEP and then imported it to SC which is did fine. I then changed the file extension on the Alibre file to STP and tried to import it directly into SC but that did not work, actually nothing at all happened good or bad. The file size for the Alibre made STEP was 21K while the Alibre native file is 291K. So there is a lot more in the native then just step format.

    If you have any other ideas I will try them.
    (By the way the trial version of Alibre is their full blown Expert version)

    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRF View Post
    Gerry,
    I will call Alibre tomorrow and find out my options as to a translator.
    As for the STEP idea I have a test part I made in the Alibre free trial. I saved it as a STEP and then imported it to SC which is did fine. I then changed the file extension on the Alibre file to STP and tried to import it directly into SC but that did not work, actually nothing at all happened good or bad. The file size for the Alibre made STEP was 21K while the Alibre native file is 291K. So there is a lot more in the native then just step format.

    If you have any other ideas I will try them.
    (By the way the trial version of Alibre is their full blown Expert version)

    Thanks
    I think that an exported STEP file is just a dumb solid with no feature history, whereas the native Alibre file will contain all of the feature details and probably some history as well, such as the last few saved version of the file.

    You might try naming the Alibre part file with a STEP (not STP) extension. I'm not sure it would work, but it is easy to try.

  10. #10
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    I emailed with Alibre today and they really don't have any options, either you buy their PRO or you are out, no IGES conerter for PE. Tormach quit selling their products because of business practices, most likely unsaviory to Tormach, but that is speculation.

    You could buy Alibre's PE and then use their conversion but you need 2 separate computers to do so, here is their explaination:
    We do have the Alibre Exchange translator software and it could potentially be used with the PE version. However once the files are converted into IGES or any other format they won’t be able to be brought back into PE. You would also have to keep the Exchange software on a separate computer as it acts like it is a full version of Alibre just with all options but translation removed. If you wanted to use that however the price would be $249.00+tax.
    Not very customer friendly.
    Alibre's price for PRO is $999 but when asked why their resellers were pricing the product at $799, they quickly said they could match their resellers. Again not a business practice I subscribe to. If you can sell something for a lower price then do it don't try to rip me off thinking I didn't check. Rememeber the mission was to sell the product to the customer. That doesn't happen when you are unsaviory. My response to Alibre was if you can quickly match your resellers then can't you do better. Haven't seen a response yet and probably won't. If I buy I would go with the reseller on principal since they offered the better cost first.
    One other thing Tormach confirmed that when they sold Alibre their version did do IGES, why Alibre can't offer this can only mean they want you to buy the more expensive package. I don't fault them for that however they made their choice and now I get to make mine.

    If anyone is selling a seat of Alibre with IGES capability please let me know by PM, maybe we can work out a deal.

    MichaelHenry, the STP or STEP does make any change, thnaks for the suggestion.

  11. #11
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    Thought I would update and also mention my good fortune.
    In my last post I asked if anyone wanted to sell their Alibre license and actually thought it was shot in the dark. Well not so dark as a member here graciously offered to sell me his as he no longer uses it. He has moved onto other software. I will not mention his name but what a real gentleman he is. He sold it to me at a most attractive cost and I want to thank him very much.

    THANK YOU!

    Lynn

  12. #12
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    Wish I read this thread before I wasted 200 dollars on Alibre PE. Or should I blame Sprutcam for not importing STL files properly? It renders the damn model fine, why can't it find the edges and actually machine the thing? Either way I've got a sour taste in the mouth.

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