Need just a little startup help or Know-How for my bachelor-graduation

Actually I am a student at Aalen University (Germany). For my final exam (bachelor-thesis) I’m working on a softwareevaluation of 3D-Programms for use in technical documentation purposes (repair-animations…). In that evaluation blender also takes part of a comparison model. But I’ve got a problem with the import. The files I get from the constructors are in the STEP-format, so blender can’t import them naturally. I tried to convert them with available programs to .obj (wavefront ) or .vrml data. Blender can import those formats, but the imported data is not useable for my animation, because parts are split up in billions of pieces or stick together as just one mesh. Is there a possibility to import the CAD-data, so that all parts are still separated?

My deadline for the evaluation is end of august and a budget is just not given, but there is no work for you to be done, except helping me with the import.

I’ve got some usecases on which I have to test blender, it would be really awesome if a professionell blender-user could pm me for some further questions. But first things first.

Thanks for your time/help!
Greetings from Germany, Fenopy.

Is there any way to get the STEP as an STL? You can enable .stl import in user preferences. I have used this feature and it works just fine. I’ve never tested it, but there is also a DXF import module you can turn on, which should be able to import autocad files.

Both of these are in File>User Prefrences. Under the Addons tab. Filter for import-export and the DXF module should be near the top of the list. STL is a little farther down. Be sure to hit Save User Settings after clicking the checkbox next to the module of your choosing. then try it out!

Be warned though, what you described, that the files you tried to import were split into a billion pieces or merged, is a common issue when importing completed objects from other packages. You may have to go in and manually cut up and reconstruct the sub-objects yourself. if you get the object in question imported as all one object/mesh. Try hovering your cursor over a part that should be separate, and hit the L key to select linked vertices, you might get lucky and find that its not welded together but just separate objects clipped into one another.

You can convert STEP to STL using Freecad, but it will have the same problem you described. However, it does let you keep parts of the model separate.

Basically if you want good topology, you will need to retopo the models yourself. I am not aware of free tools that create good mesh topology from STEP or any other CSG sources - I’ve had to do this for my job and it’s a bit of a pain. See if you can deal with the ugly geometry, it’s easier that way…

i use blender for product visualisation and my CAD program is PRO/Engineer Wildfire4.

Pro/E has an .obj export option.

When you export an assemby all part are exported as separate meshes and the color was exported as separate .mat file.

If your university has Pro/E, import Step files and export .obj files.

Wenn nicht, kann ich ev. aushelfen die Step Daten zu konvertieren.