Applying different materials to regions of a single mesh.

Hi all,

I have imported a large SolidWorks assembly as an .stl. It opens in Blender as a very big, complex mesh. I can add a material to the mesh and it renders just fine. In the actual assembly, there many parts with different materials, for example, gloss white painted steel tubing, gold anodized aluminum, and stainless steel.

Is is possible to add a material only to the parts of the mesh that represent, for instance, stainless steel? I think I once saw a tutorial by Blender Guru in which he was adding material to just parts of a large mesh model similar to mine.

I imagine that the above is one approach.

Ideally, it would be great to import the assembly as a batch of .stl’s of all the different components of the assembly. Then, I could add material to each different mesh. There is an old Blender Wiki showing how to import a full assembly as a batch of .vrml files.

Alas, Blender no longer seems to support vrml. I tried it in an old version which did support vrml, using a batch loader which the author of the tutorial supplied. It didn’t work.

So, my next question: Is there such a batch loader or add-on that would enable me to bring in all .stl’s of an assembly at one time, so I could simply add material to each component’s own mesh?

I am very new to Blender, so you must assume almost total ignorance on my part! :confused: THANKS A LOT FOR ANY HELP!!! :smiley:

I’ve attached images of the SolidWorks model and the total stl mesh in Blender. What is it? It’s a design proposal for an outdoor mobile sculpture, which I need to render for my Kickstarter pitch.




After reorienting and applying, I typically enter edit mode on the imported mesh select points on similar stuff, hit ctrl+k/l (?, select connected or something) and p to separate to separate mesh. This tends to work okay for assemblies, but on multibody object parts (like weldments) edges will often be “shared” and you’ll select more bodies than you want. Once separated I start cleaning up the mess using select all in edit mode, then alt+j and limited dissolve. In some cases I will remake it in Blender using the imported parts as guides/retopo. In other cases I will use the import as a guide to place finished Blender assets (like chairs in an office).

The parts I separate out I will hide as I do it, and also work in local object mode.

Note that I do this to “get a render”, not to get a good Blender file with perfect topology and such. That is generally way too time consuming.

Thanks, CarlG! I’m gonna try it!