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What Type of Model is 3D - Surface or Solid?

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I was asked by our machinist which type of 3D model we use when exporting IGES files to them.

They asked me if the model we were creating was a surfaced model or a solid model. Does anyone know?

They stated that surface models would explain the need for trimmed surfaces, which was the only format that they were able to import.

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I have come across this problem with STL files and 3D printing and it seems that they are surface models.

I had to import the VW files into 'Inventor' before converting to STL as some of the lofted surfaces I created would not print until they were solids as opposed to surfaces.

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