This project is intended to do a couple of things; namely, give something back to the wonderful OSS community that created the software I use daily, and to learn a bit about C programming and OpenGL.

Development started out on an SGI Indy R5K computer, then moved to Mandrake Linux, somewhere along the way.  The win32 and SGI IRIX ports are functional, but are not as current as the Linux version is.  Both however are pretty stable and are feature complete, as detailed below.

--UPDATE: Version 0.35 incorporates build 'n bug fixes in the Linux version only, for now.  Win32 and IRIX fixes and release files for all versions are to follow.  The current CVS includes the small 0.35 binary for Linux.  11/18/04  Please see the project page for downloads and more information.  Questions, comments, or whatever else should be e-mailed to me at:  doug_no spam_@open_no  <-- green email is the only way to go!     <|:-P

Screen Shot

The image below shows viewstl running on an SGI IRIX machine. The file being viewed actually came from a student in one of my classes. (I currently teach solid modeling techniques using SDRC's I-DEAS solid modeling software. )

Support This Project
Any reasonable donation, to this project, will be
matched and forwarded onto
OSS friendly groups in need. Logo

You can find the project page here:

Features of the Program

The Title Bar displays current statistics related to the instance of the program that is running. This information includes :

Program Version


Face Count


Graphics Frame Rate
The graphics display uses a couple of lights placed for optimal viewing of the model.
The display window may be resized.
The model can be displayed in a wireframe or shaded mode. (Shaded Shown)
Standard Orthographic or Perspective viewing is supported.
Interactive manupulation of the view using the three mouse buttons, or via movement of the mouse while holding function keys.
Relies on OpenGL, GLU and GLUT for display.
Tolerant file parsing.
Most ASCII STLfiles supported at this time.

Using the Program

The minimum required to display the file is to give the program a file name to display on the command line. This will pop up a 640x480 window with the file scaled to fit, and the perspective shaded view active. Other options are shown if no argument is given.

Interactive view manupulation is done with the mouse. Holding one of the buttons down, and moving the mouse changes the display. Left button = pan, Middle button = rotate, Right button = scale. You can also try holding down the F1-F3 keys in place of the buttons while moving the mouse. ( This method does not work as well as it depends on the key repeat function of your OS. IRIX seems to work OK, but I have gotten mixed results on Win32 so far... )  --UPDATE:  The speed improvements in 0.34 for Linux appears to have improved this to a very useable state.

You can change the display using F4-F6  (F4=Shaded Mode, F5=DarkShaded Mode with Edge outline, F6 outline only)

Exiting the program can be done with the ESC key, or using your window manager control, that's normally the little 'x'  to close.

Please check the project page for more information & files and such...  You can find out a bit more about me on my blog.