6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 21, 2010 10:11 PM by Christopher Thompson

    Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?

    Christopher Thompson

      What is the best file export format to transfer a Cinema 4D file into a SW2009 part file as a surface or solid? So far, I can only view the STL and no import options appear to exist to convert the STL to a nurbed surface even with the ScanTo3D add-in activated.


      The other file types I received (*.wrl, *.3ds, and *.obj)  from Cinema 4D are not importing despite the SW ScanTo3D literature stating SW could import the following files types:


      • Mesh Files (*.NZIP;*.NXM;*.SCN;*.3DS;*.OBJ;*.STL;*.WRL;*.PLY;*.PLY2)

      • PointCloud Files (*.XYZ;*.TXT;*.ASC;*.VDA;*.IGS;*.IBL)


      The ScanTo3D add-in is actived, so that should not be an issue, and it does not seem to create a mesh prep for STL files. So far, I have not received a solution for SW technical support except to confirm the STL file could be imported into SW. Without a surface, solid, or even a prepared mesh, it is of little benefit.


      This link suggests an import option exists to import an STL file as a graphics body, surface body, or solid body is available, but the option does not appear to be available in SW2009 (x64).

        • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
          Charles Culp



          Does this get it to open? Check your import options?


          To open scan data:

          1. Click Open and select one of the following types of scan data files   in Files of type:

          • Mesh   Files (*.nxm; *.scn; *.3ds; *.obj; *.stl; *.wrl; *.ply; *.ply2)

          • PointCloud   Files (*.xyz; *.txt; *.asc; *.vda; *.igs; *.ibl)

          ScanTo3D automatically imports   textures from 3D Studio .3ds,   .obj, and .wrl files provided the textures are clearly linked to the mesh file. Otherwise,   the mesh imports with no textures. You can specify the location of texture   files in the Import   Options dialog box..

          1. Browse to a file   for File name.

          2. Click Options,   set the import   options, then click OK.

          3. Click Open.

          Mesh or Point Cloud appears in the FeatureManager design tree.

          • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
            Christopher Thompson



            Thanks for the information and link. SW VAR Tech support provided the following solution:


            "With the ScanTo3D on, you need to set the filter (in the File > Open) to the ScanTo3D rather than *.stl.  Then you will see the options for opening.  The file filter just needs to be set appropriately."


            A mesh feature now appear in the model tree in place of the STL feature. Now I can modify the model as needed.


            I noticed something interesting, however, is that the 3DS, WRL, & OBJ files types start to come in as separate meshes during the import process, then automatically combined into one disjoined mesh. This is a shame as it would be nice to be able to import the assigned appearances (JPEGs) for these file types.


            I wonder why the STL imported more cleanly? The STL file does not seem to have the option to import an appearance.

              • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
                Christopher Thompson

                I tried using ScanTo3D on some of the mesh file formats to convert into a useable surface, but I would really prefer a Parasolid, STEP, IGES, or ACIS (*.sat) format without spending time on the mesh conversion to surface process.


                I found several links containing advice on importing SolidWorks files into Cinema 4D:




                I am actually looking for the reverse, and so far, I do not see any recommendations on best file format  / settings to export from Cinema 4D into SolidWorks. It seems that Rhinocerous 3D is used by some Industrial Designers as an intermediary when converting from Cinema 4D to SW, so I would assume the reverse is also possible. Has anyone tried importing a C4D file into Rhino and creating a suitable export format for importation into SolidWorks? If so, what are the steps involved to accomplish this?


                CADzette: 3DS to SolidWorks ...the Hard Way (November 2, 2007  Volume V Issue 24): http://www.mossdesigns.com/cadzette-v5i24.htm

                  • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
                    Charles Culp

                    I'm not quite sure what you are asking for? It is impossible to automatically convert from mesh to NURBS based data (Solidworks). You will always have to do some manual recreation to get from one to the other.


                    Scanto3D is one option for that, and so is Rhino. Both will require to manually create surfaces estimating from the mesh data.

                      • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
                        Kevin Quigley

                        You'll have real problems getting from Cinema to SolidWorks. The range of output from Cinema is less than stellar and in any case will all be polygon meshes which, as Charles said, cannot be directly converted to smooth NURBS surfaces in SolidWorks. You will need to reconstruct the surface to get a best fit. This is the stuff of dreams, and currently there is only one low cost app that handles this, alongside a few high end (and VERY expensive) apps for reverse engineering.


                        The low(ish) cost route is to buy Rhino with T Splines, import the Cinema file as a VRML, or .obj (with the Cinema plug in as it doesn't provide that natively) into Rhino and convert it to a T Splines object and hey presto! Not as simple as that but the best solution for under $2000. The big question you should really be asking yourself though is why? I've used Cinema for years and there is nothing I can model in that that I cannot do just as quickly and easily in SolidWorks (apart from maybe characters or really organic objects). To be honest if you are doing lots of freeform organic stuff then a better combo is Rhino and T Splines. At least then you will get direct export via IGES into SolidWorks - as nurbs surfaces.

                          • Re: Importing Cinema 4D to SolidWorks?
                            Christopher Thompson



                            Thanks for the response as I had forgotten about this post. Actually, I do not use Cinema 4D myself, but was looking for an easy way to convert the model into a NURB surface inside SolidWorks for another client. I suggested to this client that he learn to use NURB surfaces in Rhino, then I will be able to work with his models after importing into SolidWorks. ScanTo3D was not able to handle the model due to its large size and complexity.


                            I will pass your advice onto this client. So, as long as the work is done in Rhino, SolidWorks should be able to import as a STEP, IGES, or Parasolids without issues, is this correct?