What is the X3D file format? How can I use it?

X3D is a XML based format for representing and communicating 3D information.  It is an improved version of the VRML (or WRL) format and shares many similarities.  X3D is used for 2D and 3D graphics, 3D viewers, animation, computer assisted design, navigation and much more.  X3D is used on the 3D Print Exchange as an effictive way to preview models before you download them.  We use an embedded viewer called X3DOM that allows models to be visualized in a web browser.  You can download X3D files of the models on the exchange from the download menu, and then import them into 3D software such as Blender or Meshlab.  An advantage of X3D is that, unlike STL, it encodes color information, so downloading the X3D file is essential if you are going to print your model on a color 3D printer.  You can also use downloaded X3D files for displaying 3D models elsewhere, such as your own site, by embedding them into an X3D viewer.