.STL File Recovery

Have files been deleted due to a user’s error or software error? Have you formatted a disk by accident and need to know how to recover the files? Read our .STL file recovery guide for Windows, MacOS, Android and IOS in 2023.

STL File Recovery

What is a .STL file?

Design format used for stereolithography, a rapid prototyping technology used for producing three-dimensional parts; contains a 3D design used as a master model for creating numerous prototypes.

What Are Common Causes of ".STL" Files Lost or Failure?

There are several common causes of ".STL" file loss or failure:

  1. Accidental deletion: The most common cause is accidentally deleting the ".STL" file from the computer or storage device.
  2. File corruption: ".STL" files can get corrupted due to various reasons such as power outages, hardware failures, or software issues. This can lead to file loss or failure.
  3. Virus or malware: If a computer is infected with a virus or malware, it can corrupt or delete ".STL" files.
  4. File system errors: Errors in the file system can cause ".STL" files to become inaccessible or lost.
  5. Software or hardware issues: Problems with the software used to create or open ".STL" files, or issues with the hardware components of the computer, can result in file loss or failure.
  6. Improper file transfer: If ".STL" files are not transferred correctly or interrupted during the process, they can be lost or become unusable.
  7. Storage device failure: If the storage device containing the ".STL" files fails or becomes damaged, it can lead to file loss or failure.
  8. Human error: Mistakes made by users, such as accidental formatting of storage devices or improper handling of files, can result in ".STL" file loss.

It is always recommended to regularly back up ".STL" files and use reliable antivirus software to minimize the risk of file loss or failure.

How to recover lost ".STL" files?

Sometimes while working with a computer, laptop or other stationary or mobile devices, you may encounter various bugs, freezes, hardware or software failures, even in spite of regular updates and junk cleaning. As a result, an important ".STL" file may be deleted.

Go to view
🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

By no means should you think that the only way to recover a ".STL" file is always to create it once more.

Use programs for recovering ".STL" files if a file was lost after accidental or deliberate deleting, formatting the memory card or the internal storage, cleaning the storage device, after a virus attack or a system failure.

Programs to recover ".STL" files

Looking for a way to get files back? In cases when files were deleted and they cannot be restored by using standard operating system tools, use Hetman Partition Recovery.

The tool recovers data from any devices, regardless of the cause of data loss.

Follow the directions below:

  1. Download Hetman Partition Recovery, install and start the program.

  2. The program will automatically scan the computer and display all hard disks and removable drives connected to it, as well as physical and local disks.

    File Recovery Software
  3. Double-click on the disk from which you need to recover ".STL" files, and select analysis type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Analysis Type
  4. When the scanning is over, you will be shown the files for recovery.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Files that Can be Restored
  5. To find a file you need, use the program’s interface to open the folder it was deleted from, or go to the folder "Content-Aware Analysis" and select the required file type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Deep Scan
  6. Select the files you have been looking for and click "Recovery".

    File Recovery Software - Files List for Recovery
  7. Choose one of the methods for saving the files and recover them.

    Saving recovered files in Hetman Partition Recovery

How to open file with ".STL" extension?

Looking for how to open a stereo stereolithography File image file file?

Programs that open ".STL" files

Microsoft 3D Viewer Microsoft 3D Viewer
Microsoft Print 3D Microsoft Print 3D
GOM Inspect GOM Inspect
ideaMK STL Viewer ideaMK STL Viewer
Parametric Technology Creo Parametric Technology Creo
Dassault Systemes CATIA Dassault Systemes CATIA
MeshLab MeshLab
Microsoft 3D Builder Microsoft 3D Builder
CADSoftTools ABViewer CADSoftTools ABViewer
Autodesk Tinkercad Autodesk Tinkercad
Kubotek3D KeyCreator Kubotek3D KeyCreator
IMSI TurboCAD Deluxe IMSI TurboCAD Deluxe
Cheetah3D Cheetah3D
MeshLab MeshLab
GLC_Player GLC_Player
Parametric Technology Creo Parametric Technology Creo
Dassault Systemes CATIA Dassault Systemes CATIA
MeshLab MeshLab
GLC_Player GLC_Player

Additional Information

  • File type: Stereolithography File

  • File extension: .STL

  • Developer: N/A

  • Category: CAD Files

  • Format: N/A

  • Mime-type: application/octet-stream

  • HEX: 53 54 4C 42 20 41 53 4D 20


  • File types that use the extension .STL:

    • Stereolithography File

    • Certificate Trust List

    • SuperTux Level File

    • Spruce Technologies Subtitle File

    • Fireworks Style Library


We will be happy to answer your questions!

Comments (1)

  • Hetman Software: Data Recovery
    Hetman Software: Data Recovery 18.12.2019 12:36 #
    Leave a comment if you have any questions about Recovering lost .STL files after deleting, cleaning or formatting!
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Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: Oleg Afonin, Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.


Questions and answers

  • What are the common issues or errors that can occur in an .STL file that require repair?

    There are several common issues or errors that can occur in an .STL file that may require repair:

    1. Non-manifold geometry: This occurs when the model has gaps, holes, or overlapping surfaces. Non-manifold geometry can cause issues during 3D printing or other applications. Repairing this issue involves closing gaps, filling holes, or separating overlapping surfaces.
    2. Self-intersecting geometry: It happens when the model's surfaces intersect or overlap each other. Self-intersecting geometry can cause problems in slicing software or result in incorrect printing. Repairing this issue involves identifying and resolving the intersecting surfaces.
    3. Inverted normals: The normals of a model define its inside and outside surfaces. Inverted normals can cause shading or rendering issues and affect the accuracy of 3D printing. Repairing this issue involves ensuring that all normals are pointing outward consistently.
    4. Zero-thickness geometry: This occurs when the model has extremely thin or zero-thickness surfaces. Such geometry may not be printable or cause problems during slicing. Repairing this issue involves thickening or deleting the problematic surfaces.
    5. Non-uniform scale: If the model has been scaled unevenly in different dimensions, it can lead to distorted shapes or inaccurate prints. Repairing this issue involves scaling the model uniformly in all directions.
    6. Unconnected or floating geometry: This happens when parts of the model are not connected or are completely disconnected from the main structure. Unconnected or floating geometry can cause printing issues or result in incomplete models. Repairing this issue involves connecting or removing the unconnected parts.
    7. Poor triangle quality: If the triangles in the mesh are poorly formed, it can result in rough surfaces or inaccurate prints. Repairing this issue involves optimizing the triangle quality by reducing the number of triangles or improving their distribution.

    These are some of the common issues that may require repair in an .STL file to ensure optimal 3D printing or other applications.

  • What are some software tools or methods available for repairing .STL files?

    There are several software tools and methods available for repairing .STL files, including:

    1. MeshLab: It is a powerful open-source tool for processing and editing 3D triangular meshes. It offers various repair functions to fix common issues in .STL files.
    2. Netfabb: It is a professional software tool specifically designed for 3D printing. It provides advanced repair capabilities to fix issues like non-manifold geometry, self-intersections, and flipped normals.
    3. Autodesk MeshMixer: It is a free tool that allows you to edit and repair 3D models. It offers various repair functions like automatic repair, hole filling, and mesh simplification.
    4. Materialise Magics: It is a comprehensive software suite for preparing, editing, and repairing 3D models. It provides advanced repair functionalities and also supports batch processing.
    5. 3D Builder: It is a free software tool available in Windows 10 that allows you to view, edit, and repair 3D models. It offers basic repair functions like fixing holes, removing self-intersections, and aligning normals.
    6. Online repair services: There are several online platforms that offer automated .STL file repair services. These services analyze and repair the file using algorithms and provide you with a fixed version.
    7. CAD software: Some CAD software like SolidWorks, Fusion 360, and Rhino also have built-in repair functions to fix common issues in .STL files.

    It's important to note that the effectiveness of these tools may vary depending on the complexity of the issues in the .STL file.

  • How important is it to repair faulty .STL files before using them for 3D printing or other applications?

    It is highly important to repair faulty .STL files before using them for 3D printing or other applications. .STL (Standard Tessellation Language) files are widely used in 3D printing as they represent the geometry of the 3D model. However, these files can often have errors or issues that can cause problems during the printing process.

    Repairing faulty .STL files ensures that the 3D model is free from errors, such as non-manifold geometry, intersecting faces, or other issues that could lead to failed prints or unexpected results. By repairing these files, you can ensure that the model is structurally sound and suitable for 3D printing.

    Additionally, faulty .STL files can cause issues in other applications that rely on accurate 3D geometry, such as computer-aided design (CAD) software or simulation software. Repairing the files before using them in these applications helps avoid any potential errors or inaccuracies in the final output.

    There are various software tools available that can help in repairing .STL files, such as MeshLab, Netfabb, or Simplify3D. These tools can automatically detect and fix common issues, ensuring that the files are ready for use in 3D printing or other applications.

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