STL (STereoLithography) is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software. This file format is supported by many other software packages; it is widely used for rapid prototyping, 3D printing and computer-aided manufacturing. STL files describe only the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without any representation of color, texture or other common CAD model attributes. The STL format specifies both ASCII and binary representations. Binary files are more common, since they are more compact.
VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) was originally known before 1995 as the Virtual Reality Markup Language. It is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind.
VRML is a text file format where, e.g., vertices and edges for a 3D polygon can be specified along with the surface color, UV mapped textures, shininess, transparency, and so on. URLs can be associated with graphical components so that a web browser might fetch a webpage or a new VRML file from the Internet when the user clicks on the specific graphical component. Animations, sounds, lighting, and other aspects of the virtual world can interact with the user or may be triggered by external events such as timers. A special Script Node allows the addition of program code (e.g., written in Java or ECMAScript) to a VRML file.
VRML files are commonly called "worlds" and have the *.wrl extension (for example island.wrl). VRML files are in plain text and generally compress well using gzip, useful for transferring over the internet more quickly (some gzip compressed files use the *.wrz extension). Many 3D modeling programs can save objects and scenes in VRML format.
A CAD file is an output of a CAD software, containing key information about the designed object: its geometry and topology representation, 3D model hierarchy, metadata, and visual attributes depending on the format of the file.Read more
In the sixth part of the series, we cover the ubiquitous mesh format tying 3D and reality through 3D printing applicationsRead more
CAD Exchanger imports and tesselates FBX, glTF, OBJ, PLY, and STL files, making them ready for further optimization by RapidCompact.Read more