Solidworks and STLs

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Proto
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Solidworks and STLs

Postby Proto » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:04 am

Hello all

I have been working with Solidworks, on and off, since 2000. And I have had the same issue since that time... Translations

It doesn't matter if it is .IGS .STL or even .DXF . At worst I have a bunch of disjointed surfaces that won't stitch together into a solid model. Or at best it translates into a solid unusable lump that I can't modify or get reliable dimensions off of. I am currently running Solidworks 2012, and I was hoping that the translator would of improved in 12 years. The last part I tried to translate (I downloaded it off of Thingiverse - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:303490 ) Solidworks said it was 2200 inches wide, Cura says the same dimension is more like 59mm.

What am I doing wrong? Is there a better solution to at least get dimensions off a STL part? preferably Free?
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby JFettig » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:17 am

Stl files are generally a crapsoot. I wish people would post igs or step files as well. When you open them hit options and change the units.

Right click on the import in the feature tree and try import diagnostics to see if you can fix it. I will try that model in sw2014 in a bit.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby Proto » Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:48 am

Thanks

the one I was testing the importation on was body.stl
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby JFettig » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:08 am

Have you tried pulling it in as a solid? http://grabcad.com/questions/how-do-i-c ... lid-model#

In those same options, change the units to millimeters.

It'll give you a solid and a surface for that file, its just the nature of a STL file, they are just surface triangles and are pretty poor.

For future reference, when you save a solidworks file into a STL, hit options and you can change the deviation number to something smaller so you have shorter line segments rather than long choppy segments.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby geneb » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:14 am

I've found that STL files are basically un-editable. If you need to change or dimension a part, try to get the native version of it. (IGES, STEP, etc.)

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby Polygonhell » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:03 pm

I've found STL files are virtually uneditable, I have successfully imported and modified exactly one of them in solidworks, and it was more work than just recreating the model would have been. I can usually pull reasonable dimensions off them but it's always a crapshoot, and involves trying to guess how the original author created the model to determine if 5.97 is actually intended to be 6.
I pulled all the dimensions off of a tantilus derivative and rebuilt a derivative in solidworks from those, but it was a lot of work, and involved some guess work as to what the actual dimension ought to be.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby bot » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:16 pm

I can import STLs into solidworks just fine... I just can't seem to do anything with them.

How do you even measure them? Sketch onto them??
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby heathenx » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:18 pm

Just yesterday I imported an stl into blender, modified it and re-exported as an stl for printing. Blender isn't perfect but works in a pinch...and it's free.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby Polygonhell » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:19 pm

I just use the measurement tool. The hard part is picking the right features for say getting the radius of a circle.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby heathenx » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:23 pm

If someone is struggling then send me the stl. I'll convert it to a solid for you.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby bot » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:25 pm

Maybe I just don't know how to use the measure tool... I click everywhere and nothing happens haha...
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby bubbasnow » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:30 am

i second blender for direct stl editing although it is horrible with dimensions.

all .stl files ive ever generated from solidworks have sliced just fine.

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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby travelphotog » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:27 am

I use Solidworks 2013 and pull in .STL files to modify them all the time. I do it for both 3D printing objects and also for cutting out on my CNC mill. It is a bit late tonight, but as I recall I import it as a solid object in the .STL import options tab. Then I do feature finding (pretty much automatic) and end up with a solid part in Solidworks that I then pretty much do with as I please. I have brought in .STLs from Thingiverse and then worked on them for the changes I wanted, then just saved as an STL again and printed them out just fine. I just did a google search on importing .STL files into Solidworks and it works good for me so far.
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby Proto » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:31 pm

Wow... I guess the way to get a lot of response to a post is to ignore it for a few days :o :lol:

On the scaling issue - I admit that I exclusively work in inch format. And I either plain-didn't-see-it, or assumed that it would convert to inch. (I vote the "didn't see it" option)

As far as the translation from STL (or anything else for that matter) I believe that the issues my be with the original file, being a bad translation or poor model. I am reminded of something. A Translation is only as good as the original... ie "Garbage in - Garbage out"


I have seen where some people were able to take parts off of Thingiverse and combine aspects of those parts for their own use. Now, are they cutting and pasting various parts of those STLs to make a new whole? or are they taking ideas from those parts and creating their own model? I'm not sure. It would be nice to be able to modify parts to your own needs.
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby eatoutmikey » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:34 pm

Proto wrote:Wow... I guess the way to get a lot of response to a post is to ignore it for a few days :o :lol:

On the scaling issue - I admit that I exclusively work in inch format. And I either plain-didn't-see-it, or assumed that it would convert to inch. (I vote the "didn't see it" option)

As far as the translation from STL (or anything else for that matter) I believe that the issues my be with the original file, being a bad translation or poor model. I am reminded of something. A Translation is only as good as the original... ie "Garbage in - Garbage out"


I have seen where some people were able to take parts off of Thingiverse and combine aspects of those parts for their own use. Now, are they cutting and pasting various parts of those STLs to make a new whole? or are they taking ideas from those parts and creating their own model? I'm not sure. It would be nice to be able to modify parts to your own needs.


I will usually import an stl with feature recognition(sw2014). Using that I can modify to my hearts content or incorporate a design or feature. Not sure how the copy and paste would work in parametric terms with different parts relating to multiple features, with some relations inevitably being missing when you paste. It might be one of those things where its just easier to re-draw it yourself instead of spending all day trying to fix all the horrible errors you would probably end up with. Just my $.02
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Re: Solidworks and STLs

Postby BTP » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:43 pm

Proto wrote:Wow... I guess the way to get a lot of response to a post is to ignore it for a few days :o :lol:

On the scaling issue - I admit that I exclusively work in inch format. And I either plain-didn't-see-it, or assumed that it would convert to inch. (I vote the "didn't see it" option)

As far as the translation from STL (or anything else for that matter) I believe that the issues my be with the original file, being a bad translation or poor model. I am reminded of something. A Translation is only as good as the original... ie "Garbage in - Garbage out"


I have seen where some people were able to take parts off of Thingiverse and combine aspects of those parts for their own use. Now, are they cutting and pasting various parts of those STLs to make a new whole? or are they taking ideas from those parts and creating their own model? I'm not sure. It would be nice to be able to modify parts to your own needs.


Importing STLs as solids into Solidworks is pretty simple. Check the screen captures. As far as modding whats there i.e. adding bodies to bodies, that is pretty simple too. Say you have three different files you'd like to combine into one part. Import all the STLs as solid bodies as separate parts. Then save each file individually as a solidpart file. Then open anyone of the three files and go Insert/Part and translate the parts to where you'd like them to be. Once you're satisfied with the position of everything you can then use the Combine feature and do exactly that, combine all three bodies into one solid body. From there, export as STL and you're ready to roll.

Capture1.JPG


Capture2.JPG


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