STL and VRML viewers

We recommend the following freeware (for non-commercial use only) software to view the VRML and STL files of our 3D surface mesh models.

An STL or STereoLithography file describes a raw unstructured triangulated surface by the unit normal and vertices (ordered by the right-hand rule) of the triangles using a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system.

VRML stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language or Markup Language, and is a standard file format to display 3D models on the web. It are text files in which vertices and edges for 3D polygons can be specified along with a surface color, mapped textures, shininess and transparency.


Software Type Windows Linux Macos X Vrml Stl
Cosmo Player P X     X  
Cortona 3D Viewer P X   X X  
EPL 3D Viewer only S X     X X
Myriad 3D Reader P,S X     X X
Octaga Player P,S X X X X  
PreView S X X X X  
Postview S X X X   X
MeshLab S X X X   X

P: Plugin, S: Standalone program

 Finite Element Modeling

To actually perform Finite Element Modeling or FEM, you do not need surface mesh models but volume meshes.
To generate these volumes yourself, we recommend the following software:

TrueGrid is a general purpose mesh generation program with sophisticated relaxation and parameterization capabilities. (not free)


TetGen generates the Delaunay tetrahedralization, Voronoi diagram, constrained Delaunay tetrahedralizations and quality tetrahedral meshes. (free for research and non-commercial use)

PreView is a Finite Element (FE) preprocessor that has been designed specifically to set up FE problems for FEBio. It has a tet-mesh generator (based on the TetGen software).

FEBio is a software tool that uses the finite element method for solving nonlinear large deformation problems in solid biomechanics. (free for research and non-commercial use)