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Tech Tip: Using Visualize to prepare an OBJ file for import to SolidWorks

Question asked by Toft Bill on Jan 26, 2019

I am working on a design for a roof rack, and I needed a car model to show fit. I found one on TurboSquid. It was in OBJ file format.

Using SW2019 SP1, and when I imported the OBJ (as surfaces), the car was on its nose:

Also, notice that the surface body names are Surface-ImportXXX.

I could use direct editing to rotate those 248 surface bodies, but I thought I would see what I could do with Visualize.

I set up a new project and imported the OBJ. I made sure I set the Vertical (Y) and Depth (Z) axes to match SW.

The car was also on its nose.

First I did Rotate X+90 three times to get it horizontal.

Then I did Snap to Floor to move it down.

Finally I did Center to be sure it was centered.

Note the Model Items List (stay tuned!)

I saved the VIZ model as OBJ.

Here are the SolidWorks settings I used to import the OBJ as Surfaces.

FINALLY here is the VIZ OBJ after importing to SW.

Items to note:

1. ADVANTAGE: The car is now orientated correctly, which saves the need to figure out the correct direct editing settings in SW.

2. BIG ADVANTAGE: The Surface Body names are now more descriptive! They match what we saw in VIZ. This makes finding the surface body you want a lot easier.

3. CURIOSITY: If I change the VIZ import settings for Axes (to get the initial import orientation correct), when I save the OBJ and import it to SW, the car is still on its nose! Thus the need to do the initial VIZ import to ensure the orientation matches the SW orientation. Then do the rotates in VIZ before saving.

4. All those orange (warning) surface names will go black after I do something, like adding a sketch.