Does anyone use Bobcad to create STL files

While I am waiting to get a part for my mill so I can finally make something, I decided it would be handy in the shop to have a 3d printer. Well like all things there is more to it than that. The Idea was to create prototype parts quickly to prove up ideas. So thinking that perhaps I could use Bob cad as the Cad program to draw the parts was a natural flow.
Has anyone had any success doing a drawing in BobCad and exporting it in STL?

Yes, I’ve produced many .stl files for my 3D printer.



That’s good news. Thank you for getting back on this. It makes sense for sure to use the same cad program for everything and after all I already own it so why not.
Best regards,

Yes you can export as a .stl format file as long as it is a 3-D part. I create .stl files after simulation of an op-1, and use it as my stock for op-2. I also create an stl to use as as a “Rest Material” stock model on certain 3-D parts.

So if I understand you on this you make your model as a 3d part and then simply export it as a STL file.
Thanks Steve

2 ways. If you just want to model a part, then save as STL it needs to be a 3d model. Stl doesnt save lines and curves or “2d geometry

You can also simulate your toolpath operations and save the simulated cut as an STL

So if you just had a bunch of 2d operations like pockets and profiles and holes, you can simulate that and save the sim result of the cut stock as an STL.

Previous poster discussing simulating a cut, saving as stl, then reload saved stl as part to perform further operations on.

I guess I am doing something wrong. I modeled up a part in Bobcad using the 3d functions only. I saved the part as a Bcad file and then did a save as stl with the same name. When I imported the file to Cura for slicing there was nothing in the file. The name of the file was there but no lines or previews. When I went back to Bobcad the file was also empty and would not load it. It was like the save an STL file option wiped out the bcad file. So with out creating a cut file aparantly I do not have the way to sim a file. Thanks for responding must be a simple way around this.

Try make a simple sphere and save the STL and reload it. What happens now?

Burr, Problem Solved, I Create in inch mode in BobCad. because that is what I know best. In order to see the file in Curra I had to run the last entry in the Cad tree as a Scale and use 25.4 to convert it to MM that Curra wants to use. Then the file showed up as normal on the stage and printed OK. Special thanks to Eric as he was the one who found this for me and showed me how to do it. You could actually see a very tiny representation right on the center of the Curra stage that was so small you could not hardly see it. Thanks for your input, this truly opens another door for me. Steve

Hello Steve,

I just wanted to give you a bit more info about using STL files in BobCAD and the workflow for 3D printing.

Also note, in V35, BobArt can now create watertight solid models (Before it was just a surface). So, you can now create a 3d model using BobArt and “Save Whole Emboss As Component/STL” to load into your slicing software.

Worklfow for 3d Printing:
BobCAD-CAM can be used for 3d printing. Here is a standard workflow.

  1. Create your 3d model inside of BobCAD.
    Important Note: For 3d printing, it is vital that the model you create is a “watertight” solid model. If not, you run the risk of having issues with printing it in your slicing software. Common issues in BobCAD-CAM could be if you try to use the “Stitch” function to try to add models together. The stitch functions are used if you only have surfaces and you want to “stitch” those surfaces together to make one solid. Otherwise, if you are trying to add two solids together, please use Boolean Add / Subtract instead. Please ensure that the model has no surfaces inside the solid and that there are no holes in the outer surfaces of the solid
  2. Once you have a watertight solid, you can now simply save out as a STL file.
    Note: most slicing software works in metric. So, if working in inches, please convert to mm (at the bottom right of BobCAD) before you save out the file.
  3. Open a slicing software like Cura and import the stl
    Note: Make sure you setup your slicing software with your specific 3d printer first before importing. Similar to CNC machines, each 3d printer has there own g-code output.
  4. Adjust print settings and save the program to a flachdrive to send to your 3d printer.
  5. Setup and Run on the 3d printer

While on the subject of STLs, I wanted to also bring up how to handle STL models when using the CAM inside of BobCAD for CNC machines. Please read below:

If you are looking to import STL models in BobCAD, you can use a STL to load into BobCAD-CAM and even create toolpath for it. However, STL files are notoriously harder to work with. You can only Scale, Translate or Mirror them and it is hard to get usable wireframe to extract off of them in case you needed it for a boundary selection or some other use. You also can not select individual surfaces on a STL model in BobCAD-CAM. This is because a STL model is made up of triangle meshes and there are typically no good edges to extract or surfaces to select. However, in BobCAD V35, there is now a new tool called, “Silhouette” that was created for these types of files to be able to extract a wireframe off of the outer profile of the part.

So, with that being said, yes, you still can use a STL file in BobCAD, but it comes with its limits just because of the nature of the file. There may be some other software tool you can use to convert the STL to an IGES or STEP file. However, most of these still just show the triangle mesh pattern in the STEP or IGES files. So, it still might be harder to extract edges off of it or select separate surfaces.

A powerful solution to doing this type of work would be to use the BobCAM plugin inside of Rhino3D ( This software is very good at handling STL or Mesh files and they have a whole suite of tools to help you modify, extract wireframe, select surfaces, convert from Mesh to Nurbs or Nurbs to Mesh models, etc… created just for Mesh Models. One example where this is beneficial is if you have a hole in your part, it can be difficult to grab edges to select for your geometry selection when setting up the drill feature in BobCAD. However, in Rhino, there is a command called, “ExtractMeshEdges”. You can extract and “Join” these edges together to give you a selectable hole geometry.

This is why I typically recommend to everyone getting into 3d Scanning or importing Mesh Models to get Rhino3D for your CAD needs and the BobCAM for Rhino plug-in to create the CAM jobs directly in Rhino.

Hopefully this gives you a good idea about how STL models work inside of BobCAD and some other powerful options if you want to get deeper into these types of jobs.

I hope all this info is useful to you guys!

TheWeave, Thanks for all the detail and time you spent in replying.
I will keep this post for future needs. Best regards Steve