Design, CG Graphics & Inspiration

STL Viewer – A Handy Plugin for displaying 3D STL files on WordPress site

With the 3D printing trend taking the web world by a wave, it is interesting to know about all the plugins that can be used by 3D printer owners for sharing their exclusive 3D designs on their specific WordPress website. If you too own a WordPress powered blog/site and are interested in displaying 3D STL files on the same, STL Viewer is the plugin which will allow you to do the same using a simple shortcode for embedding WebGL viewer.

Continue to stay on this post for learning mor about the STL Viewer plugin which is a must-have for WordPress site/blog owners who want to make the most of 3D printing and its associated advantages.


What exactly are STL files?

A common client requirement during WordPress website development, STL files are displayed on a majority of WordPress websites available over the internet. An STL file is basically a standard file type which is being used by a majority of manufacturing systems. It is a triangulated representation of 3D CAD model wherein all the parameters used for outputting the STL will actually affect the amount of faceting that occurs for the 3D CAD model. Additionally, an STL file may also be considered as a file format that’s being used by Stereolithograohy software for generating information that’s required for producing 3D models on the Stereolithography machines.

Understanding the criticality of checking .stl files before 3D printing them


While a huge count of downloadable .stl files for 3D print rendered by different platforms have already been checked for 3D printing, it is not a bad idea to check the same for yourself before getting the 3D designs printed using your 3D printer. It is important for you to understand that every 3D printing technology like SLS, FDM etc. comes with its own set of pros and cons. For preparing your model for 3D printing, it is vital for you to know all the boundaries of your machine. If you aren’t able to do so, then it is recommended to follow the guidelines for selecting the universal maximum size that’s based on the beam diameter and volume of the selected 3D printer. Ensure that your model fits into 15x15x15 cm cube and doesn’t contain walls with the value for thickness less than 1mm.

Now, let’s dig deeper into STL Viewer plugin that’s custom-made for WordPress websites/blogs

If you own a WordPress blog/site and are interested in sharing 3D Designs with your audience, then the STL Viewer plugin is for you. Installation of STL Viewer plugin onto your WordPress blog/site will enable Thingiview- a javascript 3D model viewer and STl/OBJ parser which allows you to share 3D designs via your WordPress powered online portal. Once you’re done with installing this plugin onto your WordPress site, you’ll be able to use a simple shortcode which can be enabled and embedded into a WebGL viewer for displaying 3D STL files.

The WordPress shortcode that’s utilized for displaying an interactive 3D object model in your page is shown below:

[ stlview stlpath=”PATH” w=”px” h=”px” rmode=”smooth / flat / point / wireframe” ]

Dependent on HTML5/Javascript technologies, STL Viewer runs within your chosen browser and is extremely light on your system resources. Additionally, a range of sample STL object models has been included for demonstrating the usage of this plugin in utmost efficient format. Some of the most commendable features included within the STL Viewer plugin are:

  • Four instant rendering models viz: Wireframe, Points, Flat and Smooth
  • Zoom in/out facility
  • Lightweight Javascript based 3D engine
  • An easy WordPress shortcode
  • Support for binary and ASCII .STL files

A brief at using variables for position of lights

With the STL Viewer plugin, you receive a 4-dimensional vector called dimensions. You can use this vector as a container for holding four different values and placing lights in accordance to the 3D object’s dimensions. Here’s a look at how this vector can be used:

  • x provides you the length of 3D Object in x-axis. Same applied to dimensions.y and dimensions.z.
  • w provides the radius of sphere which contains the 3D object. Here, it is vital to remember that no part of the 3D object is out of this radius.

The variable can hence be utilized in the WordPress shortcode or the settings page.

That’s it!


If the idea of embedding 3D models in your WordPress website has been bothering you lately, then the above explained STL Viewer plugin can undoubtedly serve as your great help tool. You can download some free STL files on 3DExport marketplace as well.

  • Amy Brown,
  • March 14, 2016


Amy is WordPress developer by profession. She works for custom WordPress theme development company and has a strong inclination for a suite of creative endeavors. Blogging meanwhile is a new found hobby for Amy.

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