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The 3D Model File Types And Which To Use

There are many different 3D model file formats, and it can be confusing to know which one to use for your project. In this blog post, we will explain the differences between STL, STP, OBJ and IGS files, and tell you which format is best for your manufacturing process.


Open Scene Gragh Binary is the full name of OSGB, where Binary means binary. This type of data file is fragmented, large in number and has a large high-level pyramid file, making it difficult to form an efficient and standard web publishing solution and thus impossible to share data between different geographic areas and departments.


FBX is the format used by the FilmBoX suite of software, later renamed Motionbuilder, as Motionbuilder acts as a platform for motion production, the biggest use of FBX is for interfacing models, materials, motion and camera information between software such as 3dsMax, Maya, softimage etc. This allows This allows the advantages of max and maya to be exploited. The FBX solution is arguably the best solution for interfacing.


OBJ files are a standard 3D model file format developed by AliaslWavefront for its workstation-based 3D modelling and animation software AdvancedVisualizer’, which is suitable for inter-importation between 3D software models, and can also be read and written through Maya. For example, if a model generated in Smart3D needs to be retouched, it can be exported in OBJ format and then imported into 3dsMax for processing; or if you have built a model in 3dsMax and want to transfer it to Maya for rendering or animation, exporting an OBJ file is a good option.

OBJ files generally include three sub-files, .obj, .mtl, jpg, and in addition to the model file, a jpg texture file is also required.

Almost all well-known 3D software currently supports the reading and writing of OBJ files, although many of them require plug-ins to be implemented. In addition OBJ files are also text files that can be opened directly with a writing pad for viewing and editing changes. It is worth mentioning that the Wish3D website also supports uploading and loading of data in OBJ format, as shown above.

The OBJ can be either a conventional model or a tilted model.


The LAS format is intended as an exchange format for laser scanner point cloud data. It is maintained by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

The LAZ file format is a lossless, compressed version of LAS, which is binary for efficiency.

LAS is the most widely used point cloud data file format in the remote sensing industry. The maintenance of the ASPRS LAS specification has now been moved to GitHub.


3ds is a derivative file format of the 3dsmax modelling software, which can be exported to the 3ds format after the MAX scene file has been made and is compatible with other modelling software and can also be used for rendering.

The advantage is that you don’t have to be tied to the software version. For example, if a 3DMAX file is made using 3DMAX 2015, then this file cannot be opened in 3DMAX 2014 and lower. And if you want to open the file with a lower version, then you can only choose to save it as a 3DS file, so that even 3DMAX versions 08 and 09 are openable.`


The STL file format (abbreviation for Stereolithography) is an interface protocol developed by 3D SYSTEMS in 1988 as a 3D graphics file format for rapid prototyping techniques. The definition of each triangle slice includes the 3D coordinates of each fixed point of the triangle and the normal vector of the triangle slice.

The stl file is a file format used to represent triangle meshes in computer graphics applications. STL is the standard file type used by most rapid prototyping systems. stl is used to represent 3DCAD models with triangular meshes.

It is the most common file format supported by computer graphics for CG, digital geometry processing such as CAD, and digital geometry industrial applications such as 3D printers. stl can only be used to represent closed faces or bodies, and there are two types of st files: one is in ASCl explicit format and the other is in binary format .

The .stl file is a file format used to represent triangular meshes in computer graphics applications. It is a very simple file format and is widely used.

STL is the standard file type used by the most rapid prototyping systems. stl is used to represent 3D CAD models with triangular meshes.

It is the most common file format supported by computer graphics for CG, digital geometry processing such as CAD and digital geometry industrial applications such as 3D printers. stl can only describe the geometry of a 3D object and does not support information such as colour and material.

The triangulation of the surface causes the 3D model to take on a polyhedral shape. The choice of parameters for the output STL file affects the quality of the shape. So if the STL file is rough or polyhedral, you will see a realistic response in the model. In CAD packages, when exporting STL files, you may see names for parameters such as chord height, deviation, angletolerance, or some similar name. It is recommended to store a value of 0.01 or 0.02.


DAE is a 3D model format. 3Dmax and maya require the dae output plugin to be installed in order to output to a file with the .dae suffix. The Google Earth model is a DAE.


The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) is defined as a common ANSI standard for information exchange between computer systems based on Computer-Aided Design (CAD) & Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) systems.


DWF® (Web Graphics Format) is an open, secure file format developed by Autodesk that allows the efficient distribution of rich design data to anyone who needs to view, review or print it. dwf files are highly compressed and therefore smaller than design files and can be delivered more quickly without the additional overhead associated with normal CAD drawings (or managing external links and dependencies). Using DWF, publishers of design data can select specific design data and print styles as they want the recipient to see them, and can publish multi-page sets of drawings from multiple DWG source files into a single DWF file.

DWF files do not replace legacy CAD formats (such as DWG) – designers still need the original files to edit and update design data, but DWF enables designers, engineers, developers and their colleagues to communicate fully with anyone who needs to know the design information and design intent. DWF files can be viewed using the small, free Autodesk® Express Viewer*.

DWF is a non-editable and secure file format. Digital design data distributed and examined in DWF file format can be displayed as the designer intended. Using Volo View, reviewers can view, mark up and print DWF graphics, but cannot modify the original graphics.


DGN is the file format supported by Bentley Engineering Software Systems’ MicroStation and Intergraph’s Interactive Graphics Design System (IGDS) CAD programs. Prior to 2000, all DGN formats were based on the Intergraph Standard File Format (ISFF) definition, which was not released in the 1980s. This file format is often referred to as V7 DGN or Intergraph DGN.

In 2000, Bentley created an updated version of DGN. Although it differs in internal data structure from the V7 format based on the ISFF definition, it is generally a superset of the V7 version of DGN and is generally referred to as V8DGN.

Although DGN is not as widely used as Autodesk’s DWG file format, it has a more important mission in many large projects such as architecture, highways, bridges, factory design, ship building and many others.

Both DGN file formats are guaranteed in writing by their developers to ensure that DGN users will not have difficulty accessing their original design data for a considerable period of time due to changes in the file format.