The student edition of SolidWorks does not support exporting designs as .stl files directly. Here’s a (free) work-around:

  • A 3D viewing program called SolidWorks eDrawings installs alongside SolidWorks. Open your part in eDrawings; Save As an .stl.
  • There is a bug in eDrawings, which incorrectly scales the part from inches to meters but fails to change the unit metadata, resulting in an extremely small part. You need to scale the part back up by a factor of 39.37 (inches/meter).
  • This can be done with your preferred .stl editor. I recommend Netfabb Studio Basic.
    • In Netfabb Studio Basic, select the “Part” menu, click the “scale” command and enter 39.37.
    • Save your fixed .stl
  • Done!

Hope this proves useful.

Note: this same scaling factor appears to hold true regardless of which unit system is used in the original file.

9 Comments on Saving an .stl from Solidworks Student Edition

  1. Thank you! We are a student organization that is preparing to teach a series of 3d printing workshops at North Carolina State University; this information will definitely be useful. Open3dp is a wonderful reference and inspiration. Kudos to WOOF as well for the inspiration they provide.

  2. I’ve been using the 2012 Student Development Kit 64bit edition and I found the scaling (staying all in metric) to be off by a factor of 1000.
    Thanks for this great bit of information. I hope the developers over at Solidworks work to fix many of these bugs for us students and not further lock out these features. Learning how to design a part doesn’t end with simply drawing a part, as a student we also need to prototype these parts and learn how the design impacts production.

  3. Kid with a dream says:

    I haven’t tried Solidworks Student yet and not being able to see a project finished with a physical model would dampen the excitement of creating something so I greatly appreciate you figuring out the work around. My question is, does the watermark impact the STL file at all? From what you posted it doesn’t sound like it does but I wanted to make sure. Thanks so much!

  4. ganter says:

    Joseph, it appears that the watermark does not impact the STL file. Good luck.

  5. Kid with a dream says:

    Hello again, you say “There is a bug in eDrawings, which incorrectly scales the part from inches to meters but fails to change the unit metadata, resulting in an extremely small part” … Does it matter if I create my part in millimeters? Will eDrawings change it to inches/meters like you stated?
    Thanks again!

  6. ganter says:

    Yes as far as we understand. Also, we hear rumors that support for this export process may be going away.

  7. Kid with a dream says:

    Do you mean they will be blocking us from being able to do it?

  8. ganter says:

    We don’t know. We just observe that the student version has issues.

  9. Greg says:

    I’m a student in the UK with the same export problems and at least in the version i am using 2013 – 2014 this workaround doesn’t work. Any other Ideas? Thanks.

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