May 15, 2019

DWG to STL – How to Convert DWG Files to 3D Printable STLs

Have you ever found something you wanted to 3D print but the file was in the wrong format? Extend the usefulness of DWG files by learning how to convert DWG to STL.

Convert DWG to STL What Are DWG and STL Files?

A triangular tesselation pattern often seen on STL objects. Source: Widewalls

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.

Convert DWG to STL Method #1: Using Autodesk Products

Saving a DWG as a STL file is simple. Simply right click on the part and select "Save as STL". Source: Benjamin Goldschmidt / All3DP

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.

Convert DWG to STL Method #2: Using an Online Converter

Online options for CAD conversion can be convenient and fast if you don't want to download a complete program. Source: ConvertCADFiles

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.

Feature image source: Max von Übel / All3DP

License: The text of "DWG to STL – How to Convert DWG Files to 3D Printable STLs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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