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StL Data File Viewer

, 5 Mar 2003 GPL3
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A simple StereoLithography data file viewer.

Sample Image - StLViewer.jpg

Introduction

StereoLithography(StL) is something that is widely used in CAD/CAM, RapidPrototyping etc. The concept is that any surface or solid is exported to StL format by data exchange packages after they are modeled in commercial CAD packages. This data consists of triangulated facets that approximate the surface of the solid. No topological or geometric information is exported. The surface is subdivided into small triangles. The approximation uses chordal deflection for curved surfaces to smoothen the surface. More the smoothening required, more number of smaller triangles are generated by subdivision resulting in larger size of data file. Now, along with triangles, their facet normals are also generated. The data is written both in ASCII and binary formats. The data in ASCII is written like this:

facet normal  0.000000e+000 -1.000000e+000  0.000000e+000
   outer loop
     vertex -1.499999e+002 -1.000000e+002  0.000000e+000
     vertex -1.500000e+002 -1.000000e+002  0.000000e+000
     vertex -1.500000e+002 -1.000000e+002 -5.000000e+001
   endloop
 endfacet

The facet normal tells the three components of the facet normal followed by three vertices of one triangle, enclosed by the statements.

facet normal  0.000000e+000 -1.000000e+000  0.000000e+000

and

endfacet

Thus all the triangles are written one after the other. This data can be then used as input for generating Rapid Prototype models as well as for NC toolpath generation. The Normal data helps to compute tool offsets etc.

Here, for displaying the data in the OpenGL viewer, I have written the code for reading the data and displaying each triangle using glBegin(GL_TRIANGLES) and the normals for lighting. The viewer and geometry coding is same as my earlier project CadSurf. You can read as many StL (ASCII only) files into the viewer zoom, pan, rotate the views, select the objects, change attributes like color and material. The viewer provides object oriented context menus. I.e., when you click the right mouse button in the view with no active selection, you get a context menu for setting the viewer attributes, whereas with StL object selected, you get menu for the object attributes. Some sample StL data is also provided in the Data folder of the project.

Please let me know your comments. Thank you.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)

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About the Author

Sharjith
Engineer Tata Technologies Ltd
India India
Sharjith is a Mechanical Engineer with strong passion for Automobiles, Aircrafts and Software development.

Comments and Discussions

 
Questionhelp Pin
sıcak bulut, 25-Jun-14 10:38
membersıcak bulut25-Jun-14 10:38 
AnswerRe: help Pin
Sharjith, 1-Jul-14 19:49
professionalSharjith1-Jul-14 19:49 
GeneralRe: help Pin
Chidiebere, 14-Jul-14 17:05
memberChidiebere14-Jul-14 17:05 
GeneralRe: help Pin
Sharjith, 17-Jul-14 7:21
professionalSharjith17-Jul-14 7:21 
Questionplease help me your project in another such as c# Pin
maryamjafaryjebeli, 3-Jan-14 22:55
membermaryamjafaryjebeli3-Jan-14 22:55 
AnswerRe: please help me your project in another such as c# Pin
Sharjith, 1-Jul-14 19:48
professionalSharjith1-Jul-14 19:48 
QuestionVS 2010 build fails for me with missing iostream.h Pin
codegrunt, 2-Jun-12 18:37
membercodegrunt2-Jun-12 18:37 
AnswerRe: VS 2010 build fails for me with missing iostream.h Pin
Sharjith, 3-Jun-12 4:51
memberSharjith3-Jun-12 4:51 
GeneralRe: VS 2010 build fails for me with missing iostream.h Pin
Member 3908902, 2-Oct-12 7:58
memberMember 39089022-Oct-12 7:58 
QuestionUnable to view the viewer after running the application Pin
sidhu_ind, 23-May-12 22:47
membersidhu_ind23-May-12 22:47 
AnswerRe: Unable to view the viewer after running the application Pin
Sharjith, 24-May-12 1:37
memberSharjith24-May-12 1:37 
GeneralRe: Unable to view the viewer after running the application Pin
Member 10509674, 8-Jan-14 7:22
memberMember 105096748-Jan-14 7:22 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Volynsky Alex, 23-May-12 4:42
memberVolynsky Alex23-May-12 4:42 
QuestionSlicing Pin
ederson.nivel1, 24-Apr-12 10:34
memberederson.nivel124-Apr-12 10:34 
QuestionSelection window on window 7 machine got distorted. Pin
singh963, 23-Apr-12 6:00
membersingh96323-Apr-12 6:00 
Questionflash screen appear while resizing window Pin
singh963, 23-Apr-12 5:54
membersingh96323-Apr-12 5:54 
QuestionRun-Time Check Failure #2 - Stack around the variable 'str' was corrupted. Pin
waterharbin, 1-Mar-12 3:33
memberwaterharbin1-Mar-12 3:33 
AnswerRe: Run-Time Check Failure #2 - Stack around the variable 'str' was corrupted. Pin
Sharjith, 1-Mar-12 12:59
memberSharjith1-Mar-12 12:59 
GeneralSTL Viewer Pin
cjellwood, 13-Feb-11 5:02
membercjellwood13-Feb-11 5:02 
GeneralRe: STL Viewer Pin
Sharjith, 13-Feb-11 6:54
memberSharjith13-Feb-11 6:54 
GeneralError [modified] Pin
sangar2020, 23-Sep-10 19:21
membersangar202023-Sep-10 19:21 
GeneralRe: Error Pin
Sharjith, 24-Sep-10 8:28
memberSharjith24-Sep-10 8:28 
GeneralTell the path Pin
sangar2020, 23-Sep-10 1:54
membersangar202023-Sep-10 1:54 
GeneralRe: Tell the path Pin
Sharjith, 23-Sep-10 5:42
memberSharjith23-Sep-10 5:42 
GeneralFatel error Pin
sangar2020, 23-Sep-10 0:48
membersangar202023-Sep-10 0:48 
Questionfollowing message display in .net 2008? Pin
sangar2020, 22-Sep-10 19:12
membersangar202022-Sep-10 19:12 
AnswerRe: following message display in .net 2008? Pin
Sharjith, 22-Sep-10 19:38
memberSharjith22-Sep-10 19:38 
GeneralDuplicated points removal Pin
M.Siyamalan, 3-May-10 19:56
memberM.Siyamalan3-May-10 19:56 
GeneralRe: Duplicated points removal Pin
Sharjith, 3-May-10 20:40
memberSharjith3-May-10 20:40 
QuestionHow to calculate angle between triangles Pin
nsivabalan2020, 31-Mar-10 21:50
membernsivabalan202031-Mar-10 21:50 
AnswerRe: How to calculate angle between triangles Pin
Sharjith, 1-Apr-10 8:17
memberSharjith1-Apr-10 8:17 
GeneralUnable to open other stl file Pin
Member 4603754, 14-Feb-10 21:12
memberMember 460375414-Feb-10 21:12 
GeneralStereolithography file (STL) edit Pin
nsivabalan2020, 30-Nov-09 20:25
membernsivabalan202030-Nov-09 20:25 
GeneralWat knowledge should i must have to handle this task Pin
DevelopmentNoob, 21-Apr-09 18:58
memberDevelopmentNoob21-Apr-09 18:58 
GeneralIs there component out there that can recognize the demension of stl and iges files Pin
Member 1402013, 9-Apr-09 6:56
memberMember 14020139-Apr-09 6:56 
AnswerRe: Is there component out there that can recognize the demension of stl and iges files Pin
Sharjith, 9-Apr-09 8:21
memberSharjith9-Apr-09 8:21 
Questionhow to convert CL data file to G codes/machine language Pin
dixitava, 9-Feb-09 0:37
memberdixitava9-Feb-09 0:37 
AnswerRe: how to convert CL data file to G codes/machine language Pin
Sharjith, 9-Feb-09 3:29
memberSharjith9-Feb-09 3:29 
GeneralRe: how to convert CL data file to G codes/machine language Pin
dixitava, 9-Feb-09 20:06
memberdixitava9-Feb-09 20:06 
GeneralRe: how to convert CL data file to G codes/machine language Pin
dixitava, 11-Feb-09 19:07
memberdixitava11-Feb-09 19:07 
GeneralRe: for which controller Pin
dixitava, 11-Feb-09 19:09
memberdixitava11-Feb-09 19:09 
QuestionHow can I contact you? Pin
jemmyell, 12-Dec-08 8:13
memberjemmyell12-Dec-08 8:13 
AnswerRe: How can I contact you? Pin
Sharjith, 15-Dec-08 5:47
memberSharjith15-Dec-08 5:47 
General[Message Deleted] Pin
avajja, 17-Oct-08 20:02
memberavajja17-Oct-08 20:02 
GeneralRe: How to View STL file in BINARY format Pin
Sharjith, 23-Oct-08 7:34
memberSharjith23-Oct-08 7:34 
Questionthanks in advance Pin
garyzhg, 19-Jul-08 0:44
membergaryzhg19-Jul-08 0:44 
QuestionGenport I/O initialitazion failure Pin
Vinod_code, 25-Sep-07 1:03
memberVinod_code25-Sep-07 1:03 
Generaldimension of stl Pin
saisp, 22-Jul-07 22:42
membersaisp22-Jul-07 22:42 
QuestionRe: dimension of stl Pin
Sharjith, 23-Jul-07 7:51
memberSharjith23-Jul-07 7:51 
AnswerRe: dimension of stl [modified]-pls i need ur help Pin
saisp, 24-Jul-07 18:28
membersaisp24-Jul-07 18:28 

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