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How to export an ANSYS model into STL format for 3D printing

  1. Nov 11, 2014 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2014 #2
    Sorry, I forgot to say that my ANSYS model is created in ANSYS Mechanical 14.5.
  4. Nov 12, 2014 #3
    I don't believe that is even possible. I have brought STL files into ANSYS but never the other way around. Why use ANSYS to create an STL? Why not use a CAD program such as, Inventor, Solidworks, or ProE?
  5. Nov 13, 2014 #4
    I'm trying to use ANSYS to create an STL because my model is generated with some APDL script. This latter creates a complicated grid of BEAM4 elements with defined sections (just rectangular). Would Inventor, Solidworks or ProE import ANSYS's APDL script files? If so, would you tell me how?

    Thanks a lot for your interest!
  6. Nov 13, 2014 #5
    No, those programs cannot read APDL. BEAM4 is a 3D elastic beam element that is nothing more than a line. You can issue the /ESHAPE command to plot the elements and see what the beam geometry looks like but that will only be available when the EPLOT command is issued. STL is a surface tessalation file and is just the surfaces of the object. I can't see any way that you could get the correct geometry from ANSYS APDL.

    Why don't you read thru the APDL script, look at the real constants for the BEAM elements and then recreate the geometry using a CAD program?
  7. Nov 13, 2014 #6
    In fact, that's what I typically do to check beam geometry (using /ESHAPE I mean). Ideally, I hoped that somebody had some APDL script to convert beams into STL surfaces using the section shape (real constants) of their elements. From what you say, now this seems quite infeasible...

    I don't want to recreate the geometry using a CAD program because the APDL script is a large list with thousands of elements and a few real constants that has been generated by some in-house Perl script.

    Since I'm not expert in CAD programs, I think it would be less difficult for me to modify the Perl script to generate input for some CAD program with better export features. Which CAD program and file format do you recommend me? In other words, which program/format would allow STL exportation from just lines geometry and cross-sections? Text format input would be highly preferred.
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