10 Replies Latest reply on Sep 7, 2008 1:33 AM by Todd Engle

    Editing of Stl File?

      We have surface file of human jaw in STL format. We want to convert this surface to solid by using ' thicken' command. We are unable to edit STL file in either way. Is that any way to edit or modify STL file regards
        • Editing of Stl File?
          Kevin Quigley
          Not in SolidWorks no. STL is a polygonal format so you could edit it in any polygonal modeller (I'm looking at Modo right now - excellent tool) and then export from there perhaps to a solid modelling format (for example in FormZ you can import STL and export ACIS (.sat) solids). Alternatively if you have the full SolidWorks Premium package and Scan to 3D there are tools available in that to manipulate mesh data.

          Really though for this kind of organic human modelling SolidWorks is going to struggle and you are into the realms of either polygonal modelling tools like Modo or specialist MCAD modelling tools that handle scan data well. VX has tools that lets you drape a surface over a point cloud but there is no guarantee that even if you can do this you will be able to thicken it.
          • Editing of Stl File?
            Kelvin Lamport
            Actually you can open an STL file in SW, and use the Options to choose whether to create a Graphics Body, Solid Body or Surface Body.
            • Editing of Stl File?
              Kevin Quigley
              True Kelvin, but you cannot really do much with it though. Those commands are mainly (well as I see them anyway) for viewing STL files and possibly analysing them. Far more efficient - if you do this kind of stuff regularly - would be to buy into software that is specifically designed for handling stl type files. Another option would be Materialise Magics - most RP bureau use that so maybe if you asked a bureau to edit the file that would be a better option?

              OT - personally I would like to see SolidWorks handle point cloud and mesh data far better than it does without having to resort to buying the premium package which is frankly priced out of range for most small users outside the USA. That we we would not feel the need to have to resort to other systems so frequently.
              • Editing of Stl File?
                Matt Lombard
                This needs to be a FAQ because it seems to get asked weekly, and nobody really has a good answer to it.

                One of the levels of SolidWorks contains the ScanTo3D add-in, which allows you to read STL as a point cloud and rebuild it with NURBS surfaces. You cannot simply "convert" from a mesh/point cloud/polygon/tessellated model to a smooth NURBS model. The difference between them is bigger than just a format. Mesh models don't really have anything inbetween the points, anything that seems to be between the points is added by display algorithms in the software. NURBS models have mathematically exact smooth surface data covering the entire part. In order to get NURBS from mesh, you have to build the NURBS.

                ScanTo3D does have an automatic surface creator, but it is weak. Other tools that can make NURBS from mesh include Rapidform and Geomagic. This isn't a simple push-button task. It usually requires some experience in surfacing.

                SolidWorks adds a portion of functionality without educating users about how it works, and then they wind up with a bunch of people who can't use the tools, and just get frustrated. Thorough documentation solves a world of problems.
                • Editing of Stl File?

                  If you have SW Premium then you can used our ScanTo3D addin to open the STL and convert it to a surface/solid body using it's auto surfacing option. The method that Kelvin suggests will work but will probably not be what you're after because it will simply convert every polygonal triangle face to a surface and then knit to solid.

                  If you want to post the file, I can give it a try for you.