Best way to import CAD files into Blender while preserving hierarchy

Hello everyone,

I am working on a project that requires me to take models from Fusion 360, render them, and composite them onto a 2D image with matched perspective and shadows. I have done this in the past successfully using Blender and its internal compositor, however, that time the model I imported was an .obj file and all hundreds of parts were separate and had generic names. This required me to spend an hour reorganizing them and setting up parent relationships to be able to apply materials to large sections at once easily.

This time, however, I need to work with many models and I need to be getting results fast, so the above-mentioned workflow will not be suitable. Does anybody know of an efficient way to import CAD files into Blender in a file format the preserves original naming and hierarchy?

I can export models from Fusion 360 in the following formats:

  • IGES
  • SAT
  • SMT
  • STEP
  • DWG
  • DXF
  • STL
  • FBX
  • SketchUp
  • OBJ

I have tried OBJ (doesn’t seem to support hierarchy and naming), FBX (retains relationships between parts, but the origins are all over the place and the tree structure is many levels deep) and STL (also doesn’t seem to support grouping/naming/relationships).

I have successfully rendered as needed using a STEP model in a Keyshot trial, but at almost $2K it is out of my budget. I am also looking into Simlab and VRED but so far haven’t figured them out.

Do any of you know of a renderer that supports STEP files like Keyshot but more affordable? Or of a way to get CAD files efficiently into Blender? Considering the many amazing automotive comps we see, it should be possible, right?

Thanks a bunch.

You can try SketchUp-Format.

The Importer:

The Thread:

FBX (retains relationships between parts, but the origins are all over the place and the tree structure is many levels deep)

Yeah, I had the same problem…have you find a solution?

Aripug,

I found a suitable workaround for my needs. I basically simplified my model inside of Fusion 360 as much as I could. This gave me a model with under 10 separate parts (much more manageable). I then exported these parts using the “Save as STL” option inside of Fusion with the “One file per body” option checked. The STL files open without any problems in Blender. Important thing to note: the resulting STL mesh is very clean, however, it is triangular which is probably bad for uv maps and texturing…

From what I saw on Instagram accounts of different 3D artists who use F360, most of them hashtag #keyshot in their posts, which indicates that most use Keyshot as the go-to rendering solution for STEP files. The same is true in the new Learn Squared course on Fusion 360 where they list Keyshot as their rendering software.