Select to view content in your preferred language

Convert Raster (DEM) to .STL for 3d Printing

10-30-2016 05:15 PM
New Contributor

I'm not sure if this is a geoprocessing question or a data management question, but I need to convert a basic raster (DEM of state resampled/clipped down to the exact state borders) to an STL file type for 3d printing.  I have zero experience with 3d printing, but after trying all sorts of workarounds online last week -- including installing QGIS which claims to have a DEM to STL that added lots of extra space around my border -- I am just about to give up.  Surely there is some arctoolbox function or script that I can use to work from DEM --> STL that preserves my non-rectangular state border from the DEM?  The TIN function looks horrific, by the way, so that one is out.   This may be the most basic question, but again, I have no experience at all with STL 3d print files.  Also, I have all possible extensions & the advanced ArcInfo license so if ArcGIS has it, surely I can access it.  Thanks in advance~

Tags (3)
3 Replies
MVP Emeritus

An overview of the From Raster toolset—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop  has no conversion tools

you can look at some of the suggestions in this poll  

But I can't find STL as a supported export format on arcmap or Pro's

0 Kudos
Esri Contributor

Hello Patrick,


First I would convert the area you want to a tin and then use the process linked here:  

TIN to STL format 

Here's the process as I understand it:

Basically, you turn your raster to a Tin:

Raster To TIN—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop 

Then the Tin to VRML:

Exporting a 3D VRML model in ArcScene—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop 

Then use the script below from this website to convert to python. 

I have not done this process, but I'm interested to hear if you succeed. 




Arthur Crawford - Esri

New Contributor III

Hello Arthur,

I just searched for the Menu File in that Link Exporting a 3D VRML model in ArcScene—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop ...i haven't found it. I've got ArcGIS Pro 2.8.3


Thanks in advance!



0 Kudos