6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 23, 2014 9:47 PM by Jerry Steiger

    Import 3D Wireframe .dwg File of Machine Assembly with Parts on Different Layers

    John Mullett

      I have a .dwg file supplied by customer of a machine they want me to make some modifications to.  Thie file was created by a now defunct machine builder so it is all I have to work with.  The .dwg file contains an entire machine assembly in 3D wire frame with each individual part or small sub-assembly on different layers, about 400 of them.  There are many, many thousands of entities in the file, and  I can open it up in Draftsight or Autocad and view the individual parts by turning the other layers off.  I'd like to import this wirframe into a Solidworks part or assembly as with seperate 3D sketchs for each layer so I can easily hide them individually while I construct some solid models of the relevant machine parts for modification.


      Does anyone know of a simple way to do this without importing the data one layer at a time and creating seperate part files and re assembling?  It appears there is some layer functionality for 2D wireframe geometry, but not for 3D.  Importing the all of the wireframe to one part file becomes unuseable as I cannot easily hide the numerous imported curves.  In fact. Solidworks suprisingly has a very difficult time even processing the selection of more than a few thousand imported curves at a time from the tree.


      I tried exporting to .iges and importing freepoints and curves as 3D sketches, but it requires me to hit OK for each part and it breaks up every feature and bolt hole as an individual part file.  My click finger would be worn to the bone and how would I ever get them assembled together.

        • Re: Import 3D Wireframe .dwg File of Machine Assembly with Parts on Different Layers
          Jerry Steiger



          I don't think there is any good way to work with a 3D dwg file in SolidWorks. I think, and it is only a guess on my part, that your best choice would be to use AutoCAD or some product that can use the 3D dwg file to build the solid models.


          Jerry S.

            • Re: Import 3D Wireframe .dwg File of Machine Assembly with Parts on Different Layers
              John Mullett

              Funny, I would think it should be a fairly common and straightforward thing to do.  It seems the best way to do it is to create a new part in Solidworks then use insert > DXF/DWG chose to import as 3D curves click NEXT and select the desired layer or layers.  This Solidworks layer selection dialog is a pain to work with because you cannot use shift+click to select multiple layers you have to tick each checkmark individually. Not fun when you are working with 400+layers.


              What I have found is to go into Draftsight and blank all the unwanted layers by selecting  Format>Layer. Draftsight's Layer Manager has the ability to select multiple layeers to blank them.  Then re-save the .dwg file and when you import into Solidworks only the visible layers will be pre-selected  in the DXF/DWG import dialog.  Then what has to be done is to create an assembly for all the parts your create and align the Front, Top, and Right Planes to get all of the wire frame reoriented.  It is just kind of a pain to do when you are dealing with a few hundred parts each requiring 3 planar mates to orient into the assembly.


              I'm open to suggestions to a faster way.


              Solidworks seems painfully slow to do anything with imported curves, even just selecting then hiding or showing them.  For example, one of my parts has approx 2000 imported curves.  I select 500 of them using shift+click in the Tree.  The selection process takes about 2 full seconds and probably 4 seconds just to get the right click menu to show up and the hide operation takes 25 seconds to complete. No spinny wheel cursor either just a pointer that is not able to do anything but move around the screen.  Though I think clicks are buffered.

            • Re: Import 3D Wireframe .dwg File of Machine Assembly with Parts on Different Layers
              Rene Kiil


              I have similar problem. I have a 3d wireframe in dwg format of a small aircraft fuselage.

              When I import it to solidworks, it comes as imprted curves, which I can't edit. I would like to create a tubeframe out of it, but I don't get the option. So my question is if there is a way to convert those imported curves to a normal 3d scetch?

              Since I am quite new to solidworks, I don't think I am able to recreate that construction from scratch.