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How to export to STL

Message 1 of 36
65203 Views, 35 Replies

How to export to STL

Is it possible to export a body or component to STL?

Message 21 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

Save as STL will take the entire content of a component and export as an STL.  If you have multiple components you want in a single STL file they need to be grouped into a master component.  Many times that would be the root component but you may need to create a component to "hold" just the ones you want to export.


The other workflow people often want is to create separate STL for each body in a component.  This way they can take all the parts of a project and have separate STL files for each body. To support this there is an option in the command under "Structure" that will allow you to select one file per body.


Its important we are using the terms component and body accurately here.  A component can be considered a holder for all the things needed to create a discrete part, sketches, bodies, construction objects.  A body is a subset of a component and although it may be a discrete complete entity in itself the component is used as an organizing capability which can hold multiple bodies.




Message 22 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

I'm still trying to figure out a way to reliably exprt to STL and have the object land the way I want in either Print Studio or exporting to Makerbot software.

I have parts designed for FDM printing, and it is important those components are exported with a certain face down. Many of the parts in my drawing are not created on a straightforward XYorZ orientation. The most elegant solution would be the ability to pick a plane on the component that would be the XY reference for export. Since the design may have many parts being exported, it would be nice to be able to set a different reference for each component, or at the very least pick the plane you desired at the time of export.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 7.14.00 PM.png

Message 23 of 36
in reply to: dthomasson

Hello y’all, 


I am just starting out with fusion360 and running into mad walls.
I am attempting save my project as an .stl by right clicking the top tiered component and choosing that option.

This worked a few times before... but now no files are showing up on my computer. 


I assumed it might be a problem with my graphics card, but tried again on an iMac and am having the same exact problem.. so it must be in my account settings?

I can build but not export any files to print. HELP! 
(Also the export option does not feature the .stl option) 

Message 24 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

Are you browsing to a directory like Documents when saving the STL file? Check out the below forum post. It sound very similar to the issue you are describing.





Nathan Chandler
Principal Specialist
Message 25 of 36
in reply to: big_red_frog

There must be a new build out there as I do not see the option to export an stl file type.


Should I do another download to get the latest fusion version?

Message 26 of 36
in reply to: tdc.glennm

How are you trying to access the command? If you right click on a solid body or the root component in the browser, the Save As STL command should be there.


Save As STL.png



In Help menu > About, I note I'm using version 2.0.1980. However, this feature has not changed in a long time!

build number.png


I hope this helps! Thanks,


Nathan Chandler
Principal Specialist
Message 27 of 36
in reply to: dthomasson

On current version, click "3D print" button, then untick "send to printing utility". It creates an STL file.

Message 28 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

Hi all!


I just wanted to comment and update this post as it is starting to get old and is still getting frequent viewers. 


To summarize a few things: 


  • You can export an STL file from Fusion 360
  • You can either export the entire model, or individual components
  • You can only select one component at a time - therefore sub-assemblies will need to be created in order to capture multiple components within one STL file
  • You have the option within the "Save as STL" dialog box labeled "Structure". In here you can either save one STL file with all the bodies, or make an individual STL file for each body.

As you can see in my screencast below, I demonstrate that you can right-click a component from the Browser Tree and select "Save as STL". I start by selecting the Top-Level Component of the model (which would result in a mesh that encapsulates my entire model). The dialog box that pops up allows me to make changes to the mesh refinement as well as push the STL file to a printing utility. I then show that you can toggle the selection within this dialog box by just manually clicking the component. Howeveryou can only select one component at a time. I show that once I select my bridge pins at the component level, I can only select one at a time. If I want to select all of them, including the guitar body, I need to select the Sub-Assembly Component Guitar Body (which is where the bridge pins are nested). 


Quick Tip: Whenever you right-click any component and select Save as STL, it just defaults to selecting that component (and any nested components within it). If you made an incorrect selection, that is fine! All you have to do is click "Selection" from the Dialog Box that pops up and you can manually change your selection. This can also be done from the 3D Print option in the Make menu, although this menu does not have the Structure feature mentioned above.


James Youmatz
Product Insights Specialist for Fusion 360, Simulation, Generative Design
Message 29 of 36
in reply to: dthomasson

as you have completed your design, and want to convert the file into .stl.

  • go to make
  • go to 3D print
  • deselect "send to 3D print utility" in output
  • select the object that you want to convert to stl
  • select proper refinement
  • select OK
  • your .stl file is ready
Message 30 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

Message 31 of 36
in reply to: Anonymous

Thanks for posting! I was going crazy looking for the option, and googling took me nowhere.

Message 32 of 36
in reply to: deyop

Is it possible to export in ASCII format rather than binary?

Message 33 of 36

@FGMBL-Portchester wrote:

Is it possible to export in ASCII format rather than binary?



Right click on a body in the browser, then "Save as STL". Select "ASCII" in the "Format" entry.

Message 34 of 36
in reply to: dthomasson

I have some students using the online version of Fusion 360. For these students, there's no option for File > Save as Mesh...  (including when they right click on the object in the browser tree)

Can that option be added for the online version?

Are there simple workarounds that will allow students to export STL files easily?

(I had students look in the File > Export... menu, but STL doesn't appear there either).

Message 35 of 36
in reply to: dthomasson

I loaded a STEP file, moved components, export as mesh, and then import to Blender. Blender files show mesh in original position.  Transforms were not applied on export.


Windows 10 with F360 v2.0.10806, 2021-12-16:


A shows Fusion360 after transforms.

B shows Blender loading STL files exported from Fusion360.  Note lack of transforms.


STEP file from

Message 36 of 36

I assume you did a single export for each component. In this case the selected component defines in which coordinate system the data is exported, that means in your example if you move base:1 and have its origin visible you'll see that it is also moving, which means the position of the bodies inside the component's coordinate system did not change.

But you can use the visibility of the components to achieve what you want, because only visible bodies are exported. Select the root component arm v2->SaveAsMesh and set all components invisible except the one you want to export, for example base:1. Then you will end up with the transformations you are expecting.

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