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In the world of 3D printing, STL stands for "stereolithography." It is the term applied to this type of printing from thirty-plus years ago, when 3D printing was first invented by Charles Hull. While it is typically just an interesting dinosaur in the long line of technology, there are times and places where certain objects printed during the early days need to be reborn for new use. The trouble is that STL files are such dinosaurs by comparison to today's technology that freeform reverse engineering encounters more than its fair share of problems. That is not to say that an engineer cannot reverse engineer these sorts of files. It is just complicated. Here are some of the complications associated with STL files, 3D printing, and reverse engineering and what it takes to finally print a 3D form using modern technology from older files.
Reversing and Converting the Language of the File
Pick literally any object that can be printed using melted and fused plastic. Under the STL files, it took days to print. Modern technology takes hours to print a similar object. An STL file used to print a cube, for example, has to be loaded into an engineer's computer. Then the engineer has to go back through the steps, correcting each one so that it can be written in a current engineering program language.
The entire time, the engineer has to keep the original copy of the original STL file for reference without destroying it. Every part of the old file has to be copied into a new file and then broken down into sections to be reworked backward. It helps to update the old STL file to the current coding language so that the 3D printer understands what it is expected to do. If something is not working or there is a section of the design language in the original file that has no equivalent to current design language, the engineer has to completely rewrite that section so that it works with the rewritten original file.
Testing the New File
Once the new file has been made, the engineer has to run it and use it to print the cube (or whatever object the file is supposed to print). If it is successful, the object will print and appear on the platform of the 3D printer. If there is anything that does not work or did not convert properly in CAD systems to the present engineering language, the object will be seriously flawed. Then the engineer has to go back to the section of printing code that caused the flaw and rework the reverse engineering or rewritten sections of the code until it prints the perfect object.
Learn more by reaching out to a company such as Ideas in 3D.Share
27 June 2019