Many manufacturers and 3d printers will request a STP, STEP or IGS, IGES or STL file product design drawings for designing molds or for pricing manufactured parts for production of your invention or product or to build a 3d print prototype.
IGES or IGS Files (design file format used in the manufacturing production process) stands for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification and is a file format which defines a vendor neutral data format that allows the digital exchange of information among Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems. An IGS file is composed of 80-character ASCII records, a record length derived from the original punched card era. It can be used by many CAD programs as a standard ASCII text-based format for saving and exporting vector data, and can store wireframe models, surface or solid object representations, circuit diagrams, and other objects. The IGS format has become the default standard file format for transferring 3D model files between the different CAD software packages. Once a user has created a model file in one specific software to send it to another user who does not have that same program without any concern whether or not the recipient will have the ability to open or view the file.
STEP or STP Files (design file format used in the manufacturing production process) is a file extension for a 3-D graphic file used by CAD software. STP stands for STandard for the Exchange of Product model data. STP files are used to store 3D image data in an ASCII format, following the standards defined in ISO 10303-21 : Clear Text Encoding of the Exchange Structure.
STL Files / Stereolithography – Standard Tessellation Language (design file format used in 3d printing product parts and prototypes) is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems. STL is also known as Standard Tessellation Language. This file format is supported by many other software packages; it is widely used for rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing (additive manufacturing or 3D printing). 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.
Please keep in mind that the product design file formats stated above are usually the most popular and will work for almost all product design requirements but there are exceptions. Always check with a product design professional in regards to your specific product design project.
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