Inventor General

New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-04-2012
Message 1 of 9 (355 Views)

z450 Printer Prototyping

355 Views, 8 Replies
01-16-2013 03:02 PM

Does anyone have a z450 3D printer that they are able to print out full color Invertor files on?


I am trying to 3D print student files created on Inventor to our new z450 printer, but have not had much luck.  I am able to save Inventor files in VRML format, but when going to print, the colors and inserted images (.jpg, .gif, .img) do not show up.  Only the default material type is displayed.

*Expert Elite*
Posts: 26,141
Registered: ‎04-20-2006
Message 2 of 9 (340 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

01-16-2013 05:38 PM in reply to: scott.thorne

We have one, but I don't recall the exact proceedure to attach the image (color) to the stl file.

As I recall it is done in the zCorp software - not from Inventor.

Please mark this response as "Accept as Solution" if it answers your question.
Autodesk Inventor 2014 Certified Professional
Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Certified Professional
Certified SolidWorks Professional
Inventor Professional 2015 64-bit
*Expert Elite*
Posts: 592
Registered: ‎11-05-2003
Message 3 of 9 (326 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

01-17-2013 12:35 AM in reply to: scott.thorne

We don't have one but I have had to prepare files for use on one.  Can either use STL or VMRL - STL cannot save any colours and VMRL isn't much better (apparently it's meant to be able to store colours, but I had little success - guess it's all down to which 3rd party plugin you're using as it's not a native export option).


For colours/images I've always had to produce images/renderings plus the texture images for the bureaux to specify on the model via the ZCorp software (ZEdit, I think).

Please mark this response as "Accept as Solution" if it answers your question...
but please understand that the solution may not be the answer you're wanting to hear...

If you have found any post to be helpful, even if it's not a direct solution, then please provide that author kudos - spread that love :smileyvery-happy:

Lithium - helping nntp users with mania, depression and headaches
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
Message 4 of 9 (271 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 07:26 AM in reply to: sam_m

I have the same z450 printer and have had no success.  There are a number of other programs that will convert inventor files to VRLM files but none that I have tried retain the colors.  I have tried the add-on that Autodesk put out, but that didn’t work either.  Someone told me to put the materials folder in the same folder as the saved part so that the zedit software can find what the materials (appearances) are but I am unable to locate the file to move onto the flash drive.


Is there someone working at Autodesk that would know of a fix for this issue?

Valued Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎03-08-2007
Message 5 of 9 (261 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 09:56 AM in reply to: scott.thorne

The procedure you must use is as follows:


  1. Save the file in .STL format. This is done through the print selection in the application pull down
  2. Open the STL file in Zedit Pro or Zedit, this is the software that allows you to add colors, images, text etc. You should own this software, it comes with the printer. If for some reason you don't have a copy, you can open the STL in the Zprint software, but you will only be able to change the basic white color to something else and have no ability to paint individual faces, add images and such.
  3. If you use Zedit Pro, save the file and then open it in Zprint, then your on your way.

I know that VRML is supposed to retain colors but it's never worked for me, plus Zedit Pro works really well. I never bother changing colors in Inventor when planning to 3D print, and do it all in Zedit Pro. We have a 450, and sell them as well.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎03-08-2007
Message 6 of 9 (257 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 10:02 AM in reply to: scott.thorne

BTW you can buy a copy of Zedit Pro here or get a 30 day trial version



Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
Message 7 of 9 (255 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 10:05 AM in reply to: Ahatz

I was wondering if there was a way to retain the colors and appearances that were put on the object in Inventor. I have done the coloring in zedit and zedit Pro. I find that it is harder to color and to do some of the formatting in zedit. Also, I have multiple students turning in assignments and it would take too long to color all of them.  .VRML files are supposed to retain this information, so why aren’t they?

Valued Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎03-08-2007
Message 8 of 9 (248 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 10:20 AM in reply to: jryan

Short answer IDK, but here is what you can try, this is from the 3D systems website, and I have not tried any of this, so this is the best I can do for now:



VRML Format

To save an Inventor® file to the VRML file format, you can use one of the following options:

1. Inventor does not have a native VRML exporter.

A plug-in called VMRL Translator for Inventor (supports vertex color only) is available at

This plug-in will allow for VRML export from Inventor (vertex color only) – it does not support texture maps (a known limitation).

This plug-in is available for trial and purchase (~US$99).

If you have access to 3DS Max or Maya (for example via Autodesk University program) you do not need the above VRML Translator plug-in.  3DS Max & Maya allow for the importing of Inventor .IPT (individual part files) or .IAM (master assembly files) and allow for the exporting of VRML, 3DS & FBX (file formats supported by ZPrint 7.11+).

If you only have access to Inventor, and wish to export a model with texture maps, you can try options 2 & 3 below - otherwise, use of other Autodesk products is required.

2. Save your file to the SAT file format, and then open the file in the latest release of Mechanical Desktop.  You will then be able to export to the VRML file format.

3. "Save Copy As" XGL or ZGL

* Use Okino's Polytrans to convert XGL/ZGL to VRML, 3DS or FBX file format

* Use AccuTrans 3D to convert XGL/ZGL to VRML, 3DS or FBX file format

* Use Realitywave's VizStream to export to desired file format

Valued Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎03-08-2007
Message 9 of 9 (241 Views)

Re: z450 Printer Prototyping

03-08-2013 10:57 AM in reply to: jryan

So I tried the 3D studio method with mixed results. I imported a IPT into studio, and it brought in the colors, but some were swaped, and it wasn't exactly as it was in Inventor ( I know very little about 3DS)...I then exported as VRML, then brought it into ZPrint...NO COLORS!


I then exported as an FBX from 3DS, and it did retain the colors, but as I mentioned they were not identical to the


I HIGHLY recommend using Zedit Pro, once you get good at it, it really is pretty easy IMO...but I understand your situation with the kids and all.


Hope this helpss


Good luck

You are not logged in.

Log into access your profile, ask and answer questions, share ideas and more. Haven't signed up yet? Register

Are you familiar with the Autodesk Expert Elites? The Expert Elite program is made up of customers that help other customers by sharing knowledge and exemplifying an engaging style of collaboration. To learn more, please visit our Expert Elite website.

Need installation help?

Start with some of our most frequented solutions to get help installing your software.

Ask the Community

Inventor Exchange Apps

Created by the community for the community, Autodesk Exchange Apps for Autodesk Inventor helps you achieve greater speed, accuracy, and automation from concept to manufacturing.

Connect with Inventor