can i / how can i open solidworks SLDPRT & SIDDRW files with blender?
is there an intermmediate program needed?
open with x save it to something blender understands?

Does Solidworks allow DXF export? If it does, then you can directly open the DXF file in Blender.

You will need to clean it up a lot though. Blender does not like DXF files that much.


SW2004 does support VRML, so you could try that…

Anon125 -

Faily NooB with Blender (2-3 months or so), but I do know SolidWorks (8 years). You can export as an STL format. It works, but with Blender v2.34 you had issues with subsurfs, in that if you did a catmull-clark, you could get some pretty wild stuff in your geometry at the edges. I’m just impatient enough that I was kind of turned off to using SW (2004) to generate stuff. Blender is now doing some extrusions that are looking pretty darned close to extrusions (lofts) with guide curves, so it’s modelling capabilities are getting pretty decent. Just takes a while to get used to keyboard input - like in my autocad/3d studio days.

SolidWorks will do a DXF but usually only in the context of a 2D drawing format, not a 3D model. VRML is ok, but I wasn’t thrilled. My bias, sorry.

Now with Blender v2.35, you have the ability to subdivide certain faces and perhaps by a combination of that and simple subsurf you can get some nice results. I have not played around with that in great detail.

So much to do, so little time! So, I’m less than entirely patient with some things.

Try an STL and see what you think. Just be careful in the Export Options to go lightly on the deviation and angle settings or you may end up with a far larger STL file than you want. Nice because you can save a whole assembly that way, as an STL file. Make sure to export it as an ASCII STL file, not binary.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you.


I’ve used both STL and VRML output from SW’05 with reasonable success. The complexity of your VRML output is controlled by SW’s “Performance” and “Image Quality” settings. However, I’ve found I get a cleaner mesh if I add an intermediate AutoCAD step (I guess ignore this if you don’t have AutoCAD) by exporting ACIS (v 2.1) out of SW and use the ACISIN command in ACAD2k to get the solid imported. Then I export from ACAD2k to 3DS format (3DSOUT command - use your FACETRES setting to control mesh complexity) Then I use Bob Holcomb’s 3DS import script (see here for options) to get it into Blender. You’ll have to remove doubles and recalc the norms once its in.

I know… its jumping thru hoops, and it doesn’t always work on complex stuff, but it does seem to get a cleaner mesh sometimes. Depends on what you’re doing, I guess…

critter’s right, tho… I too am learning how to use blender to model meshes and have come to appreciate the fundamental and significant differences from CAD modeling. Its much more manual/procedural and free-form (no dimesions or constraints to help/hinder you :-? - depending on how you look at it…) I’m interested in working more with nurbs geometry, too, and understand that Blender will be adding to/improving its capability in this area with the inclusion of Nurbana’s code. I don’t know much about this, and I wanna learn! :slight_smile:

Tho I may come under fire here, I recommend trying out some other free options out there like Wings3D or Jpatch. Tho somewhat different (POV-ray specific) Moray is an interesting tool, as well. (Google these for more info…) Hey the more you know, the better, right?

You know, muzungu, you hit it on the head - no restraints. If I could have anything at all in Blender, it would be the equivalent of “mates” in SolidWorks. Engineering has taught me to be anal-retentive to the extreme and desire concrete relations between joined parts, and not having mating relationships just grates against my spine sometimes.

Oh well, no one promised me that every package would have them when I came into this world so I guess I can’t complain too much (well, I might complain a little, even if no one listens). :slight_smile:

I guess it would be difficult since the two packages rely on totally different approaches. SW uses features of known sizes and proportions (user defined) and as such you have predictable surfaces - with a few notable exceptions. Blender on the other hand gets right in your face with edges, vertices, etc. Very grittily realistic.

I will look at some of your suggested hoop-jumping. I always try to minimize the number of translations because that is where errors pop up, but what the hey. There may be a case where the geometry is so fast to do in SW but so slow in Blender that it just makes sense. Perhaps from an optics standpoint in modeling lenses that would be true (I am a mech-optics engineer).

Cheers -


critter, yeah, I miss all the usual CAD features when doing a mesh in blender, too. (There’s been some talk of doing this in blender, tho not much has come of it.) Offset, array (radial and rectangular), snaps… and then there’s the relationships in SolidWorks: tangency, colinear/coincident, parallel, etc, etc… <sigh> such things come in so handy when making “man-made” objects. They’re just less useful with “organics”. Its tough sometimes to step out of the “Engineering… anal-retentive to the extreme” way of thinking and into the freeform “artist” realm. (I’m like you - I want order and symmetry in the universe! :wink: )

When it comes to modeling these “man-made” things, tho, I’ll stick with the familiar CAD methods whenever possible.

I do plan to explore SW’s newer surface capabilities in the near future, but that’s a discussion for a different forum… :slight_smile:

Oh, BTW, anon125, be sure to watch your file name after importing STL or VRML into your blend. On mine it reset the current file name to match the name of the imported mesh, after which I went merrily on saving as I went, but just in the wrong file. Needless to say, this cause quite a fright when I later accidently overwrote my work (by importing the same STL into another file and saving over the previous work…) Just keep an eye out…