Import SolidWorks CAD file into Blender 2.x

  • 12/03/2022
  • Tools

Before the beginning, we have to define the difference between CAD files and Mesh files.

Mesh

A mesh is a 3D model that is made up entirely of triangles that often number in the thousands or millions to create a complete model. These triangles are made by connecting data points that have been rendered on Cartesian coordinates (X, Y, and Z planes). The points serve as vertices, and once they have all been connected to their immediate neighbor, a full model is formed.

CAD (Computer-Aided Design)

CAD is a solid body model that is capable of distinguishing features, such as surfaces and holes. As opposed to a mesh that has triangles that make it difficult to achieve perfect curves and other similar features, CAD is smooth, noise-free, and easily editable.

Problem of CAD Importing

Solidworks store file as CAD and Blender can not directly import CAD files. We have to export CAD files as Mesh based file. There are many types of Mesh files. Most popular is Autodesk FBX and STL. Solidworks export CAD file as STL easily, but when we export assembly file, we lose hierarchy and just give us one object. There are some third party FBX export plugins for Solidworks. But We will not use any of them, solve problem by using native export systems.

VRML Files (*.wrl)

VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language, pronounced vermal or by its initials, originally — before 1995 — known as the Virtual Reality Markup Language) is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind.

Solidworks 2014 Supports VRML File Format

After Solidworks 2014, we can export CAD files as VRML using an inbuilt VRML translator. The VRML translator exports SOLIDWORKS part or assembly documents as VRML files. When you export as a VRML file, the SOLIDWORKS software takes the View > Display > Section View option into account.

If Section View is on, only the visible geometry is exported to the VRML file. This is different from the way the software behaves when you save documents as IGES, STEP, Parasolid, or ACIS files. When you export SOLIDWORKS documents as VRML files, you can choose the version to export, VRML 1.0 or VRML 2.0 (VRML 97). You have to choose VRML 2.0.

Blender Import X3D/VRML

Blender can easily import *.vrml files. Just do it on bellow image.

File>Import>X3D Extensible 3d (X3D/wrl)

Wow, you imported the CAD file in Blender using embedded solutions.

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