4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 28, 2012 4:57 PM by John Morehead

    Change an stl's Relative Position to the Coordinate System

    Giannis Gennarakis

      Hi Everybody!


      I'm using a simulation program called "SIMION" where you can import or design electrodes and run particles through them. This program can import many stl files (which were exported from a big dwg in a CAD program) and be recompiled again in SIMION to make the whole electrode system. When the program imports them, it gives them a relative position in reference to a coordinate system. So what I'm guessing is that each stl file has some information in its triange vectors that tells them to "sit" in this position. My question is, how can I change the relative position of each stl file in respect to the coordinate system? (for example, I may want to move one electrode of the whole system to another position) Is there some function in Solidworks?


          Thanks in Advance,



        • Re: Change an stl's Relative Position
          Lars Christensen

          Hi Giannis,

          I hope you are doing well.

          In SolidWorks go Insert->Reference geometry->Coordinate system. Place your new coordinate system using vertexs and linear edge to ajust it to the right location and axis direction.

          Go File->Save As...Set "Save as type" to STL...Select the Option button, and down in the bottom of the pop-up menu, you can select your new coordinate system from the "Output coordinate system" drop down.


          Hope this helps.


          Best regards,


            • Re: Change an stl's Relative Position
              Giannis Gennarakis

                     Hi Lars,


              Thanks a lot for your fast reply! I was playing around these days with the different coordinate positions. What I've understood from Solidworks is that you can change the orientation of the coordinate system of the cylinder by clicking a point on the cylinder after you 've selected one of the axes in the coordinate system panel. Also you can change the position of the coordinate system (origin) by clicking the first box in the coordinate system panel and then selecting a point in the cylinder.


              As you can see from my file (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/56949132/Solidworks%20E1.jpg) my coordinate system is far away from the cylinder. What I actually want to do is move this cylinder a few millimeters in the Y direction so when I recompile it in my simulation program, it moves a little bit in respect to the rest parts. I want to do that numerically for more precision... How can I do that?


                  Thanks in Advance


              P.S. Also there are no points in the rest space (away from the cylinder) to move the coordinate system some millimeters away to another point.

                • Re: Change an stl's Relative Position
                  Jerry Steiger



                  There are a couple of methods you might try.


                  You can make a coordinate system that is located the proper distance away from your existing coordinate system. I would probably use a 3D sketch to do that.


                  You can try the Move/Copy Body command to move the body by the few millimeters.


                  In either case, once you move the body, export it, and import into the other program, you can check to see how far off you are and then modify your coordinate system or your move command to get it in the correct position and then go through the export/import cycle again.


                  Jerry Steiger

              • Re: Change an stl's Relative Position to the Coordinate System
                John Morehead


                This thread helped me resolve this issue, albeit indirectly. We were having a prototype printed in two materials. Each component was a separate solid object generated in autocad 2013 and exported to stl files. The ucs was the same for both parts as they were generated in the same drawing as 3dsolids and individually exported from that drawing. Or so it seemed...the 3d printers came back requesting that the individual components be put to the same coordinate system. It appears that their software did not recognise the autocad co-ords. I then reconstructed them in autocad fusion, using the insert component command. Each dwg for each element was imported to a positive z location and then grounded once they were brought together using the assembly command. I then saved the combined model, resaved as component A and deleted component B and exported A as a STL file. Did the same to generate component B. The coordinates and origins were maintained and the 3d printers were able to print the dual component file. Have not used solidworks for a while as an architect but hope the logic of this might work in your software!