What file format can be opened in Inventor, Catia, BobCAD, and AutoCAD? Can STL be opened in all of them? We need it in 3D.
Inventor, Catia and AutoCAD should all be able to save a model as .stl. I am unfamiliar with bobCAD, but .stl is so common in CAM that I imagine that any CAD software can use.
However, CAD packages typically do not open .stl files. I know that Inventor and Solidworks do not, although I can’t say for Catia or bobCAD. The .stl file is really only used as a format readable by a rapid prototyping machine, not as a means to transfer a model from computer to computer. It’s far from an ideal format for such things.
A much better option for interoperability between software would be .stp or IGES. These are formats that virtually any CAD software can save and open. They will generate solid 3d models that are typically very faithful to the original model.
.Step files are pretty much the generic 3d CAD file. Most programs can save and load them. Occasionally, a constraint might fail, but usually the transfer is seamless.
Actually SolidWorks will open an stl file but might have trouble converting to a solid depending on complexity. In any case stl files are heavily faceted faces generally only good for reference in a CAD program.
Alternatively an stl file can be opened and viewed in the free Hoops ACIS Viewer (search Google for download).
As far at what types Inventor will read
ACIS (*.sat) up to v7 (Hoops can convert down to v7)
also with the translator from http://labs.autodesk.com
Inventor can read SolidWorks, Pro/E and several other file formats.
Zip and attach your STL file here and I’ll see what SolidWorks will do with it as far as getting it to an Inventor solid. If you can get STEP instead of STL request that instead (or ACIS or DWG or SolidWorks or Pro/E or last resort IGES).