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Viewing STL files in the SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM Preview Tab

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Navigating through your hard drive, you click on an STL… only, there’s no thumbnail preview. What gives?

I’ve experienced this a few times. It’s always hard for me to remember what a part looks like just by the file name. Sometimes file names are obscure, or specific to a part number – things like P32324.STL – and I have a terrible time remembering what the file looks like. Windows Explorer isn’t much help – it just gives me the stock .stl thumbnail on every single STL file.

So I did a little research on a way to get a preview of my STL files before opening them. I asked some of the engineers around the office for their opinion, too. A co-worker suggested using SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM (EPDM) and the built-in eDrawings preview. This almost worked, but the STL files were not associated with eDrawings. I didn’t get discouraged – I knew that there had to be a way. After working a little magic in the registry, I was able to fix the issue.


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