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Importing very large stl files into solidworks

Question asked by Eric Demillard on Mar 1, 2016
Latest reply on Mar 7, 2016 by Eric Demillard

I have a model that was created in matlab that is a cosine fourier series in two dimensions where the amplitude and phase are random such that the surface is similar to a rough surface (like sandpaper). The surface is 8 in. X 8 in. (213.2 mm X 213.2 mm) with roughness elements that are 2 mm in amplitude with 2 mm wavelength. In other words, in order to adequately capture all features, the stl file that is outputted from matlab is 2,000,000 facets. I have been trying to figure out if there is a way to import this file into solidworks and convert it to a surface so that I can edit it and turn it into a plate with the surface on top of it. The plate will then be printed and placed in a wind tunnel so that it can be tested. Anyway, the native solidworks stl importer fails in this case because of the size. I have seen that there is a work around for this by first converting the stl to dxf with meshlab and then importing but I also believe that the size is too great to use this as well as my computer would keep crashing (others agree in How to import large STL files (or any mesh) ) The next thing I tried was Scanto3D where I outputted the x,y,z coordinates in matlab and imported them as a pointcloud into solidworks. Using the surface wizard there is two options, a guided creation and an automatic creation. The automatic creation crashes every time. I even tried with 32 GB of memory but I had no luck. The status bar at the bottom does not move. I tried the guided creation with B-Spline surface extraction but the surface extraction only allows between 4-20 lines in each direction, far below what I need. Does anyone know how I may be able to turn this mesh into a surface in solidworks? The problem will become even worse when I go to create the other two surfaces with roughness amplitudes of 1 mm and 0.5 mm where I can expect the number of facets to quadruple in each case to 8 million and 32 million. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The file is too large to upload but I have attached some images.