Learn about the process of importing an IGES file.
- [Voiceover] Typically, when dealing with Legacy or older data in SolidWorks, you'll come across an IGES file. This is a universal or non-native format that can be used for sending 3D data. A lot of times you'll find this file used because it's a smaller file with less information in it, but this can have it's limitations. You'll run into situations where you'll open up an IGES file and lose things like surfaces or maybe lines that you know should be in that file. Let's go ahead and import an IGES file into SolidWorks and see what kind of results we get.
I'm going to start with a simple file that I downloaded off of McMaster-Carr for a screw. Going up to my open dialogue box. Now I'm going to navigate to the location of this IGES file. So you'll see here that the IGES file is IGS, which can sometimes be confusing because the name of the file is IGES. So don't let that confuse you. An IGS file is an IGES file. Now you'll notice that when we open it up we have no options here available for Mode, Display States, Configurations or References.
This is while the drop down menu is still set to All Files. I'm going to go ahead and click on this and change it to IGES Files. So you'll see here IGS, IGES. Both files are the same. Once I do that you'll see that all the other file types have gone away, leaving me just the IGES file. But now I have some options available to me. Let's click on that option and see what comes up. So here from our Systems Options, we can see all of the general file format options for IGES.
This is going to help us control what is done to the geometry when it's brought into SolidWorks. Typically when we bring imported geometry in, we're trying to create surfaces, where in a best case scenario a solid body. So you can see from my setup I've got it to converted to a surface or a solid body and try forming a solid. You can advance this even more by using B-Rep mapping. I'm not going to go into the specifics of B-Rep mapping here, but this is just another way for the file to be computated to turn it into a solid.
You can also try Knit surfaces if that option doesn't work, which will instead try to use the Knit surfaces feature to go throughout the part, and merge everything together. Now the last option that I have selected here is Merge Entities. This will take all of the solid bodies and merge them into one imported body. There maybe situations where you know you're opening up an IGES assembly, and you'll want to have that on selected. I'm going to leave the rest of the options as they are, and hit OK. Alright, I'm going to select my IGES part file and click open, and let the software do the work.
Now immediately when this software opens it asks us if we want to run Import Diagnostics on this part. Typically the first time that I open a part I select no. So we're going to do that and run the Import Diagnostics after the fact. It is now asking us for the FeatureWorks add-in. If we want to proceed with feature recognition. This gives us the ability to scan the SolidWorks file in front of us and let it rebuild the Feature Tree to the best that it can. I'm going to select no right now because I haven't corrected my imported body yet using the Import Diagnostics tool.
So I'm going to select no. So here we have a solid body that came from an IGES part. And it looks pretty good like we can go to work on this. We can select edges. We can select faces. We've got some good 3D geometry. But you can see that the imported body too has some errors. So what I'm going to go do is go over, right click on that, and go up to Import Diagnostics. This is going to give us the ability to diagnose the problem that happened on import. Clicking on that, we see that several of the faces have become faulty.
So this means that these faces have a failure in them, which makes it so that the software can't figure out how to make it a true solid body. Now in some situations such as this one where we're talking about threads it might not be important. Typically when we're designing people will take threads out of a design because of the overhead that's involved. Let's see what happens if we try to repair this. Down at the bottom of the Property Manager you see you have a few options here. Now if there we're also gap errors we would have some gaps listed here as well, but because we just have face errors, only faces are listed.
So I'm going to go down here and select Attempt to Heal All Faces, which is an automatic process SolidWorks is going to do. Now in some situations this might take just a few seconds, but in large assemblies it can take a very long time. So be prepared to sit and wait if you've got a very complex assembly or part that you just imported. Now in this case we can see that we've got the green check mark, meaning that it's repaired the face and everything's all good. So I'm going to go back up to the top. Hit my green check mark to accept, and now I've got a good solid body.
You'll notice that it still has the error here because it found errors in those faces before, but as far as we're concerned this geometry is ready to work. Now if we had saved this as another file type instead of an IGES and opened up, we might not have these errors. This is due to the nature of an IGES file being such an old file type and being unsupported. As software becomes newer and newer the ability to handle an older IGES file type becomes poorer and poorer.
- Opening files from different versions of SOLIDWORKS
- Importing models from online sources
- Importing 3D files
- Importing 2D files
- Exporting 2D and 3D files