Y and Z directions are wrong and super confusing

Hello, I hope someone can help me with this. This model started out in SolidWorks (SolidWorks uses Y up and Z back). I opened it in KeyShot and exported it as an FBX.

Once I have imported that into Blender it is very clearly showing the wrong axis (the z axis should be the smallest dimension of the three), and if I change scale in Z axis to 2 it does in fact scale it on Y axis. This must be a major glitch, is there any easy fix?

Have you tried applying transforms with Ctrl + A? This should reset your scalar axises :slight_smile:

I assume the object got imported rotated so as to match Blender’s coordinate system. @joseph’s suggestion should work, but if you don’t have to go through that for every imported object, maybe you can improve on the exporter or importer settings ?

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I tried SolidWorks>Rhino>OBJ and it then did the same thing too. But this does fix it.

I still find this really strange, and I understand the position, scale, and rotation settings but in that panel there is nothing to tell me that the X Y Z are not the same as the World! If you CTR+A then there is no ‘fix axis’ either.

Thanks for the help, and yes it is very hard and frustrating to use Blender for CAD but I hope it gets easier over time. I want to use it for image and video rendering and get rid of KeyShot entirely.

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It is admittedly kind of a silly problem, and it’s not Blender specific either. Importing between 3D programs is always a mess. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one universal standard for axis order in 3D programs?


Honestly, it annoys me no end. I cannot fathom why, when the 6 axis are agreed in VR terms that this has not been adopted in every single digital geometry program in existence. Z must be up!! Y must be back!

There has been quite a lengthy convo on devtalk a while ago that got into the details of why axes and handedness diverge between programs and what is possible to do in order to “fix” it.
See : https://devtalk.blender.org/t/where-blenders-axes-are-defined/11130/


I always make a custom coordinate system in Solidworks with Z-axis pointing upward. Choose the custom coordinate system when exporting your model and it should align correctly after imported to Blender.

It’s easier to apply transformations when in Blender.

That said, when you import SolidWorks to Rhino it asks if you want to map Z to Y and I pressed yes, yet when I exported as OBJ they were still wrong. The CAD world is so messed up!