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Mesh to Vectors

How to Convert STL to DWG (AutoCAD)

Picture of Genaro Ponce
by Genaro Ponce
Aug 31, 2019

Want to convert an STL file to DWG? Check out this straightforward guide to learn how to easily convert STL to DWG, the common AutoCAD file format.

How to Convert STL to DWG

What are STL and DWG files?

A mesh dolphin composed of triangles.
A mesh dolphin composed of triangles. (Source: support.lpfrg.com)

First, we need to know what STL and DWG files are. STL is the standard format used for 3D printing. Geometric information is stored in the form of triangles that make up a mesh. The file is created in any other 3D modeling software and it can be visualized in other 3D printing slicers like Simplify 3D or Cura.

On the other hand, we have DWG files which are basically the native file format of AutoCAD. It stores 2D and 3D vector image data and it’s highly compatible with other CAD software out there, which is why it’s one of the most commonly-used file formats in many industries. Check out our dedicated article if you want to learn more about this ubiquitous file type.

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How to Convert STL to DWG

Convert Using Blender

Exporting an STL file as DXF in Blender.
Exporting an STL file as DXF in Blender. (Source: Genaro Ponce / All3DP)

There are several ways to convert an STL to a DWG file, but one of the easiest ways to do it is using Blender. The software allows you to open STL files and export them to DXF, which is a file format compatible with all versions of AutoCAD. And after opening the DXF file in AutoCAD, you’ll be able to save it as a DWG file. The steps are simple:

  1. Open your STL file in Blender.
  2. Go to the File menu and select the Export option, a list of file formats will be displayed. Select the AutoCAD (.dxf) option and save it.
  3. If the DXF option is disabled, you only need to go to the User Preferences (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + U), type “DXF” in the search bar, and activate the Import-Export option.
  4. Once you’ve saved your file, open it in AutoCAD and save it as a DWG.

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How to Convert STL to DWG

Online Converter

CAD Forum's online converter.
CAD Forum's online converter. (Source: www.cadforum.cz)

If you don’t have Blender installed in your computer, don’t worry. There are online converters that allow you to upload STL files and transform them into DWG files with just one click. The website CAD Forum offers a free web application that converts STL files to DWG files. You can upload files of up to 20 MB with these simple steps:

  1. First, choose the file you need to convert from your computer and wait until the upload is complete.
  2. Select the target format as DXF and press the Convert button.
  3. Finally, download the converted file and open it in AutoCAD.
  4. Once it’s opened, save it as a DWG file.

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How to Convert STL to DWG

Closing Thoughts

An STL model in Blender.
An STL model in Blender. (Source: Genaro Ponce / All3DP)

As you can see, converting STL files to DWG isn’t that hard. We recommend using the open-source software Blender because it will allow you to manipulate your mesh. Hopefully, this guide has answered your conversion question.

Feature image source: cameron.nicholson96 / Autodesk Forums

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License: The text of "How to Convert STL to DWG (AutoCAD)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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