My Projects

Papa’s Best STL Thumbnails – adds preview thumbnails for STL files to Windows Explorer

Papa’s Best STL Viewer – a bloat-free viewer for 3D print files

Papa’s Best STL-to-PNG converter (stltopng) – a command-line utility to generate pictures from STL files

Papa’s Best ILBM Thumbnails – adds preview thumbnails for Amiga pictures to Windows Explorer

Papa’s Best TIM Thumbnails – adds preview thumbnails for PlayStation textures to Windows Explorer

Papa’s Best Optimizer – shrinks your files losslessly

Papa’s Best CFBF Optimizer – optimizes compound files

About …

I’m Chris – father (Papa in German) and enthusiastic software developer. This is where I upload my best tools, hence the name – Papa’s best!

My page doesn’t use cookies and is free of ads. Because that’s how it should be. Have fun!

News RSS

Optimizer updated

This update focuses on JPEG optimization, which is now a lot faster and more stable! A whole class of semi-random errors has been fixed.

You can download the update here and check out the full changelog here!

Optimizer updated

This update brings compression improvements – most importantly, JPG/PNG now become even smaller! It also fixes problems with JPG files in CMYK color space and with legacy Office files.

You can download the update here and check out the full changelog here!

stltopng – Automatically generate pictures from STL files

I just uploaded a new program – stltopng. This little command-line utility is built on my STL Thumbnails. It takes pictures from STL files and stores them as PNG images.

If you ever wanted to take pictures from STL files in an automated way – e.g. for a gallery on your website – it can now be done fast and easy! I also upladed the C++ source code in case you’d like to have a closer look at the interface.

The program is not fully finished yet, and setting the colors and viewing angle is still pretty cumbersome. Nonetheless, I’d be happy to hear your feedback!

Download here, quick start here, and manual here.

STL Viewer updated

STL Viewer updates have been rare last year – I’m still working on big new features. However, there’s also been lots of small improvements, and there’s no reason to keep them back!

The current update brings performance updates, better ASCII STL loading, vastly improved coordinate space detection (especially with Fusion 360), and more. Download it here!

Now also in Microsoft Store: Due to popular demand, you can also buy Papa’s Best STL Viewer from the Microsoft Store. I can’t give it away for free because Microsoft charges me for it, but it costs just a small one-time fee that’ll support development. The Store version is identical to the free version, but being a Store App adds some features:

Decide for yourself. You can visit the Store site here, directly open the Microsoft Store here, or just keep using the free version 🙂

Optimizer updated

Small hotfix: If a JPG couldn’t be rotated in lossless mode, Optimizer deleted its rotation setting from the EXIF data anyway – even if metadata was to be kept. This affected, for example, photos from Huawei phones.

Go ahead and download the update here!

Optimizer updated

I released a hotfix for my Optimizer destroying TIFF files in some rare cases. I always tried to repair slightly damaged files before optimizing them, but under some circumstances this would not work and leave an invalid file behind. The feature is now disabled until I find a better way to implement it; Best Optimizer will fail on damaged TIFF files.

An earlier update – in case you missed it – introduced a GUI button to correctly handle the temp path functionality, and it fixed a few problems loading/saving settings.

You can download the update here and check out the full changelog here!

Optimizer updated

Papa’s Best Optimizer now optimizes embedded thumbnails in JPEG images.

Furthermore, I added an option to delete APP14 Adobe metadata. The option comes with a warning, though, because some images require the data to display correctly. The great Phil Harvey provides an example here.

There’s a bunch of other improvements as well.

You can download the update here and check out the changelog here!

STL benchmarks updated

The performance benchmarks on my STL Viewer page were almost three years old, so I repeated them. I used slightly different hardware, updated versions of the programs, and – for the fastest ones – video capturing to measure them accurate to fractions of a second.

Many 3D printing programs became faster over the last years, which is fantastic news. I’m also happy that new 3D viewers – notably Blaze3D and F3D – were developed specifically with performance in mind!

You can see the complete results here.

Colors in STL Thumbnails

You can now customize the the thumbnail colors. Just pick your favorite object/background colors in my STL Viewer and the setting will propagate to the thumbnails! I’ve written a manual that covers all the details.

You can customize the viewing angle as well, but this currently requires editing the registry. I’ll add a user interface for it with a future STL Viewer update.

Get the new version here!

STL Viewer & STL Thumbnails updated

STL files with invalid normal vectors now render correctly. I always relied on the exporting program to write correct normals, but so many programs do it wrong that my programs now recompute the normals from scratch.

As a side effect, display performance is now a lot faster. Furthermore, ASCII STL loading speed has improved again.

As always, you can download the thumbnail update here and the viewer update here!

Optimizer now supporting EPUB and SVG

Papa’s Best Optimizer now supports optimization of EPUB ebooks. It not only recompresses the book container but also the images inside, leading to a 10% gain on average.

SVG graphics are another addition to the list of supported formats.

The UI remembers its settings now – no need to re-apply them every time you start the program. Compression of PNG has slightly improved as well.

Download the update or see the full changelog here!

Updates for CFBF Optimizer, Optimizer, STL Viewer, and STL Thumbnails

My CFBF Optimizer got a little more compact due to updated compiler settings.

My STL Viewer and my STL Thumbnail generator now properly handle binary STL files exported from 3D Slash, HiCAD, Polygonica, Vectary, and from French CATIA versions. They benefit from the updated compiler settings as well.

And the tabs in my Optimizer now enable/disable properly and display without flickering on old Windows themes.

Optimizer updated

Papa’s Best Optimizer got a huge UI update! You can now use Drag-and-Drop to optimize files and folders. Office optimization was improved. I cleaned up the options and fixed countless small problems, e.g. some deadlocks on Windows 10.

Head over to the download page and see the full changelog here!

Optimizer added

I’ve uploaded my tool for lossless file optimization – Papa’s Best Optimizer. For the past years, it saved me lots of disk space and quite some bandwidth costs. (All images and files on this site have been optimized by it.) Finally I’ve found the time to make it available to the public.

If you also care about optimizing things down to the last bit, head over to the download!

STL Viewer & STL Thumbnails updated

The latest update fixes a missing registry entry for the MIME type of STL files. Windows can now integrate the viewer and the thumbnail handler much better.

If you ever had problems with the thumbnails not showing up, or with Windows not using the viewer to open STL files, I recommend you download the thumbnail update here and the viewer update here!

STL Viewer updated

This update integrates the viewer into the Windows Open with dialog. Previously, if you wanted to manually make the viewer your default program for STL files, you had to search the drive. Now it should be suggested right away. Small problems have been fixed as well.

You can download the update here!

STL Viewer & STL Thumbnails updated

Today’s update contains a fix for graphics artifacts with multiple STL files in the same view (FileAdd Part …). The title icon and the date stamps of installed files have been fixed as well.

I tried adding support for Windows 10’s Dark Mode, but Microsoft limits it to Windows Store apps and keeps the interfaces secret. So unfortunately no Dark Mode yet :(

Get the update for Papa’s Best STL Viewer here and the update for the thumbnails here!

STL Viewer & STL Thumbnails updated

This update fixes the orientation of STL files exported from recent Solid Edge versions.

Programs disagree on whether Y or Z should be the up axis, which is a major source of annoyance for me. My tools implement a set of algorithms to decide on a case-by-case basis which axis is most likely up. While this is a solid win for usability, it needs periodic adjustments when new program versions are released. If you encounter STL files that are not rotated correctly, please send me a sample!

The thumbnail handler was extended to show in the bottom-right corner the icon of your default STL program.

You can download the new version of Papa’s Best STL Viewer here and the updated thumbnails here.

STL Viewer updated

This update makes use of my CFBF Optimizer to make the setup even smaller. The size of programs and setups is, in my opinion, a very important quality factor:

Furthermore, Microsoft fixed a few problems in their tools, allowing me to remove old workarounds. You can download the new version of Papa’s Best STL Viewer here.

CFBF Optimizer added

You may have noticed that the setup of my STL Viewer has become smaller recently. This is mainly due to optimizations to the container format, Microsoft’s Compound File Binary Format (CFBF). I decided to share those optimizations with you, so I added CFBF Optimizer to my site (including source code). If you’re a programmer or just into data compression, check it out!

STL Viewer updated

The latest version fixes problems with the background color as well as spaces in file paths. Apart from that, detection of measurement units has improved. So if you ever had problems opening files that should otherwise be fine, or if the Viewer ignored your background color settings, be sure to head over to the download section!

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