8 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2009 10:42 AM by Kevin De Smet

    3ds Max IGES to SW



      I’m running some tests to see if NURBS objects created in 3ds Max and exported as IGES files, are useful in SolidWorks.



      I created the attached model with NURBS tools in 3ds Max. I can import it into SolidWorks, but it gives errors regarding gaps in the model. I'm not an experienced SolidWorks user, so I don't know how serious this "gaps problem" is. Would a SW user consider this model useful, or would the gaps need to be fixed, either in SW or before import? Are there any other problems with this model that would make a SW user think it's not useful?


      Thanks for your help.






        • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW
          Kieran Choy

          Useful for what? I assume you mean for manufacturing. What manufacturing process are you looking at? CNC Milling, rapid prototyping, creating drawings for guys in a workshop?


          I haven't looked at the file but I imagine it's come in as a series of surface bodies. Working with surfaces is all well and good in SW, but when you're ready to go to manufacture, you want a water-tight solid model. This is why SW is referred to as a solid modeller, whereas max, maya, modo, rhino, alias studio,etc. are not. They all create surface models.


          The difference is that in a solid model, there are no gaps between surfaces, the surfaces have been joined or "knitted" together, and that SW has topologically defined the "inside" of the model so it knows that it is solid. If you have large gaps, or holes in your surface model, SW will not know which part of your model is the inside, and which is the outside, so make sure any large holes are patched.


          From the picture this looks like a fairly straight forward model. Assuming you have all of the faces intact, you should be able to select the surfaces and use the knit command to join them together. Knit will accomodate small gaps in surfaces and pull them together to create a smooth join. Once knitted you can Thicken your model - check the "create solid from enclosed volume" box and your model should be solid. You can verify this by using a section view and running it through your model - if it is solid the inside should be blue.

            • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW
              Kieran Choy

              Here's 2 ways of solidifying your model.


              The top part of your tube came in as a solid body. The bottom came in as two seperate surface bodies, which I was unable to knit (even in 2010 with gap control). Luckily the bottom surface is easily recreated as a planar surface.


              In the first part, I simply capped both ends of the bottom of the tube with planar surfaces, knitted and solidified, then combined both solid bodies. However if you take a look at the section view, you will see a small gap between both bodies at some points, despite the fact that they are "joined" (they are joined in some areas, and not others). There is also a small but noticable flat face or collar where the top body joins the bottom body.


              In the second part, I capped the bottom of the tube. Then deleted the inside face from the solid body, to turn it back into a surface body. Then I extended the edges of the top section, and the top edge of the bottom section of tube. Mutual trim to get them joined nicely (this also knits the surfaces), then knit and thicken. A much cleaner model.


              Also, I thickened the models to solids with the thicken command. You can also do it as part of the knit command, although I'm not sure what the difference is.


              Finally, you may want to check the scale of your models in 3ds max. Not sure how units are handled on that end, but you'll find that the model in SW is HUGE - not sure if that was your intention or not.

              • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW

                Thanks for your reply. The model would not be for manufacture. At TurboSquid, we get a lot of requests for IGES models to be used for visualization or reference only. An example would be when a designer is working on a car engine, and he wants to show the car that the engine will go into, for reference only. The car will not be manufactured or machined. For this reason, an IGES file from another program will work fine.


                Mainly I wanted to know if a SW user would find the model acceptable under these circumstances. It sounds like it's easy to fix it up within SolidWorks to be useful for such a purpose. Am I correct in assuming that that's what you were saying?



              • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW
                Matt Lombard
                I brought this into SW2010 sp0, and it gave 1 solid bodies and 2 surface bodies. It is perfectly functional for visualization, but it's not a single solid. There are no gap errors in 2010. It appears "good enough".
                  • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW

                    Thanks Matt, that's essentially the info I was looking for. Kieran, I appreciate the input as well.


                    TurboSquid has had many requests lately for SolidWorks files that can be used to aid in visualization or reference (cars and airplanes, mostly) but since these are time-consuming to create in SolidWorks, I am going to ask our Rhino and 3ds Max users to create them as NURBS files and export them to IGES. Hopefully they'll fill the bill for most users looking for these types of files.



                      • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW
                        Kevin De Smet

                        I wouldn't want to work with NURBS when I'm in Max, but that might just be me!


                        You can import .STL files which is a triangle mesh format, that should work fine imported into Solidworks as a "graphics body".


                        That way there is also no confusion that it is a visualisation object, and not for manufacture.


                        If you have ScanTo3D you can also import .OBJ I believe, but that's only in Solidworks Premium. I wish all versions of Solidworks would get .OBJ import support, it's such a standard in mesh/visualisation data.

                          • Re: 3ds Max IGES to SW



                            Thanks, the STL info is much appreciated. I'll give that a whirl and see what I can do.


                            Yes, modeling in NURBS with 3ds Max is no picnic. But we have a huge pool of 3ds Max artists looking for new opportunities, and a growing number of SolidWorks customers looking for importable viz files. You can imagine the frustration of a SW designer who comes to TurboSquid looking for a viz model and finds six or seven cars or airplanes that look perfect, but he/she can't use any of them because they're all polygon-based. At the same time, I can't really ask our 3ds Max artists to go out and buy new software (SW, Rhino) and learn it just for this market. They already have 3ds Max, and they know the general UI inside and out. Learning the NURBS tools in 3ds Max is a much shorter road to get this particular job done.


                            Just trying to match up the peanut butter with the chocolate, so to speak. Any insights on this would be welcome.