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Troubleshooting Mechanical CAD Import

Barry Shiong

If you are having trouble importing a file from another CAD system, here are some steps that can be taken to help your chances of success.

1. Get as much information about the original file as possible.

What units were used? Can the original CAD application successfully read the exported file back into itself?

2. Determine if the original CAD application uses a common kernel  either Parasolids or ACIS.

If it does, use either of these file formats for the translation.*

3. Use the Import Diagnostics tools in SolidWorks.

This tool attempts to repair an invalid solid body. Problems include gaps between faces and invalid surface geometry.

4. Manually repair model in SolidWorks.

Locate the problem areas using Import Diagnostics and use the Delete Face command along with the surface tools to manually patch up the model.

      • If all errors do not heal locate them and try performing “Delete and Patch” on the troublesome face.
      • If faces are totally missing try to patch the face using the surfacing tools and then attempt to form a solid using the surface thicken tool.
      • If you need to import a drawing request, the file may be sent over as a .DXF or .DWG
      • When importing Inventor files the Inventor Viewer must be installed
      •  During import there are several options for controlling how the model is imported:
  1. Surface/Solid Entities: These tools will attempt to form solid and/or knit multi-surface models into a single surface automatically from an imported surface model. Additionally checking the B-Rep mapping will attempt to form a solid with a multi surface model by utilizing B-Rep technology and bypassing the SolidWorks Knit feature, this should be used if the model fails the first time to knit properly.
  2. Free point/curve entities: These tools will either import free floating points or curves within the existing model as a sketch/multiple sketches or as 3D curves.
  3. Import multiple bodies as parts: Checking this option will make a new part for every Solid or Surface Body located within the imported part.
  4. Perform Full Check and repair errors: *Recommended* Runs check on geometry during import and identifies any geometry errors.
  5. Automatically run Import Diagnostics (Healing): *Recommended* Checks and attempts to repair any gaps and bad model geometry that could have been generated by the native model program during export.

*For a list of import/export file format recommendations, see the article Recommended Mechanical CAD Import/Export File Types.

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