5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 30, 2013 11:41 AM by Jonathan Blohm

    Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies

    Jonathan Blohm

      I'm working with SolidWorks 2012 and wish to export an assembly so that a colleague abroad using CreoElements and/or Inventor (AutoCAD) can view and edit it. I can easily make a STEP file that he can see, but all the components are loaded for him as surfaces, instead of solid bodies, thus "forgetting" the links that tie them together and making it much harder to edit and move small pieces within the assembly. The ProEngineer part worked well but the assembly analogue failed to open. Other formats were similar to STEP and did not create solid bodies. My colleague suggested that something called "part resolution" may be at fault, since he had people save STEP files in AutoCAD and was able to open those just fine. Does anybody know about how to increase this part resolution, or if the issue can be solved in another way?

        • Re: Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies
          Deepak Gupta

          Welcome to SolidWorks forums Jonathan.

           

          Save your files as parasolid as this works much better.

           

          Please note that CreoElements and/or Inventor (AutoCAD) can't open the SolidWorks files directly (not sure bout it). And whatever other format you make (other than native SolidWorks formats), the mates relation and other information will be gone.

           

          You might also find this post helpful for your future reference.

            • Re: Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies
              Jonathan Blohm

              Thanks for the swift reply. We have tried the parasolid format but it did not prove to be useful. The best was the ProE format, but this for some reason only worked with parts and had an error when opening the assembly version.

               

              So, essentially, is there no way that someone using Inventor, for example, could open and easily edit a file I have created in SolidWorks? This seems very strange that there is no good way to communicate between software. As we have found as well, a STEP file created in Inventor could be opened with full details by CreoElements, but the STEP file created by SolidWorks was limited. Surely there is some way to make these equivalent?

              • Re: Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies
                J. Mather

                Deepak Gupta wrote:

                 

                Save your files as parasolid as this works much better.

                 

                Please note that CreoElements and/or Inventor (AutoCAD) can't open the SolidWorks files directly (not sure bout it...

                To clarify - AutoCAD is not Autodesk Inventor.

                Autodesk AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor (2013 or 2014) will read *.sldasm & *.sldprt files directly but they must be from a prior release since SolidWorks releases are after the Autodesk releases.  For example. Inventor 2014 will read SolidWorks 2013 files, but not SolidWorks 2014 files.

                 

                When Autodesk Inventor opens proprietary or neutral format (like STEP) file it opens them in a lightweight Composite (surface bodies) by default.

                To open the files in Inventor as solids click on the Options button before opening and set the correct options. Sounds like the Inventor user needs training in how to use Inventor.

                As noted - translation between MCAD programs does not preserve native feature histories or assembly constraints.

                 

                STEP tends to work better for me than IGES.

                As far as importing surfaces vs solids, that is a function of knowing how to use the importing software.

                  • Re: Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies
                    Jonathan Blohm

                    Thanks for the reply. To clarify, my colleague is actually using CreoElements not Inventor, but it is one of his colleagues that uses Inventor. Both were unable to get the desired result from my STEP file, hence mentioning both, and as I said, a STEP file created in Inventor worked fine in CreoElements. Hence I strongly doubt that the CreoElements user is importing in an incorrect way, unless there is better automatic recognition between CreoElements and Inventor-generated files than there is with SolidWorks. Nevertheless, I will double check with him to check he is doing everything possible in terms of import options.

                     

                    Furthermore, in case of confusion, I am not looking for mates and such to be preserved, I know this does not work without using .sldasm etc. When I speak of the links tying surfaces together, I mean simply that the software should recognise "these surfaces form a solid body, and those surfaces form another solid body", whereas it seems to just create everything as a large number of hollow surfaces.

                • Re: Exporting to other CAD software - maintaining solid bodies
                  Roland Schwarz

                  IGES tends to work better than STEP for me.

                   

                  As far as importing as surface or solid, that's usually a function of the importing software.  Not much you can do about it.  One thing is to make sure you are only exporting a single solid body and not any extra surface bodies.  Use "Delete bodies" to eliminate extra surfaces as the final feature at the end of your model tree.