STL (.stl)

Background & Context

    • MIME type: application/sla
    • STL computer-aided design and manufacturing format.
    • 3D geometry format.
    • Commonly used for representing solid models in rapid prototyping systems.
    • Native format of the 3D Systems stereolithography CAD software.
    • Developed in 1989 by 3D Systems, Inc.
    • STL is an acronym derived from stereolithography.
    • ASCII or binary format.
    • Stores a 3D object, including solid, as a surface formed by a collection of adjacent triangles.

Import & Export

Import Elements

  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements" list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"list of rules for all available elements
    "Summary"summary of the file
    "CoordinateTransform"transformation function from DAE format
  • Data format representation elements:
  • "BinaryFormat"whether the file is a binary or ASCII STL
    "VertexData"list of vertex coordinates
    "PolygonData"list of polygon elements in indexed form
    "PolygonCount"number of polygons
  • Geometry representation elements:
  • "BoundaryMeshRegion"boundary mesh representation of a solid
    "MeshRegion"mesh representation of a surface
    "Region"region representation of a surface
  • Graphics representation elements:
  • "Graphics3D"STL file represented as a Graphics3D object
    "GraphicsComplex"STL file as a GraphicsComplex object
    "PolygonObjects"list of polygon primitives in absolute coordinates
  • Import and Export use the "MeshRegion" element by default for STL files.


  • Export options:
  • "BinaryFormat"Truewhether to write a binary or ASCII file


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Basic Examples  (2)

Import a 3D model from STL as a MeshRegion object:

Summary properties of the solid model:

Export a 3D model to an ASCII STL file:

Print the raw textual contents of the file:

Scope  (13)

Import  (7)

Import works on an ASCII STL file:

Binary STL file:

Any accessible URL:


Import automatically detects STL files:

Import provides access to elements in the STL file:

Import works on large files:

Export  (6)

Export works on 3D graphics:

Special regions:

Formula regions:

Mesh regions:

Export to a binary STL file:


Import Elements  (12)

"BinaryFormat"  (1)

Test whether this file is a binary or ASCII STL:

"BoundaryMeshRegion"  (1)

Give a boundary mesh region:

"Comments"  (1)

Give the comments in the STL file:

"CoordinateTransform"  (1)

The coordinate system used by the STL format is identical to the Wolfram Language:

"Graphics3D"  (1)

Give the Graphics3D object:

"GraphicsComplex"  (1)

Give the GraphicsComplex object:

"MeshRegion"  (1)

Give a mesh region:

"PolygonData"  (1)

Give the polygon elements in indexed form:

"PolygonObjects"  (1)

Give the list of Triangle primitives given in absolute coordinates:

"PolygonCount"  (1)

Give the number of triangles:

"Summary"  (1)

Give the summary of properties:

File size:

"VertexData"  (1)

Give the vertex coordinates:

Export Options  (2)

By default, a binary file is generated when exporting:

Print the raw textual contents of the file:

Use "BinaryFormat" False to generate an ASCII file:

Print the raw textual contents of the file: