Skip to main content

4. Geometry Data Storage

Publication Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
Page Numbers
59 to 69
Publisher Name
Publisher Location
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

3D-printing begins with the design of an object using computer aided design (CAD) software. The geometry of the object must be exported and saved in a data file format that can be used in the slicing process to generate machine instructions for printing. The standard method of saving the data is to tessellate the object as a triangulated mesh stored as a .stl file. Due to the flat triangular faces used to store the data, this mesh is a low-resolution representation of the high-fidelity object designed in CAD. The STL has its limitations with respect to geometrical accuracy, material information, and instances of invalid mesh data, but can still be used for the 3D-printing process. New file variants, such as OBJ, AMF, and 3MF, are being developed to fix some of these issues and increase the capabilities of geometry data storage for 3D-printing.