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When exporting my Gerbers to 3D STEP, I'm not sure which STEP Application Protocol to use. Can you help describe the differences?

The original intent of STEP was to publish one integrated data-model for all life cycle aspects. But due to the complexity, different groups of developers and different speed in the development processes, the splitting into several Application Protocols (APs) was needed.

Generally speaking, AP203 is a "general" STEP format. 

  • AP 203 defines the geometry, topology, and configuration management data of solid models for mechanical parts and assemblies. This file type does not manage Colors and Layers.
  • AP 214 has everything a AP203 file includes, but adds colors, layers, geometric dimensioning and tolerance, and design intent. AP214 is considered an extension of AP203.
  • AP 242 will formally replace AP 203, 214 and other mechanical design APs, however it's not fully implemented within all 3D modeling and simulation software tools.
  • AP 203e2 is primariliy used for Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing.

We recommend using AP 214 or AP 203 and you should be fine.

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