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You can either make your stl part of a SDF (Gazebo) model or of a URDF model. The first method is fully independent of ROS and described here on gazebosim.org.

An example for spawning a stl via a URDF model is here. The urdf folder contains the model (which is referencing a stl file in the Media folder) and the launch folder contains launch files for spawning the model into a Gazebo scene.