Learn about the process of importing a STEP file.
- [Instructor] When importing geometry into SolidWorks, without a doubt you'll run across the step file format. This is one of the most common universal or vendor-neutral file formats that's available today, and it's commonly used by vendors, customers, and all other types of fabricators and manufacturers to share complex 3D data in a universal format that can be shared easily. Now, the difference between this and its predecessor, the iges file, is that the step file is still fully supported and is updated regularly.
So this means that the files that you import will have better geometry and maintain more of the original geometry as you send it between different file formats. Let's go ahead and open up an example now and see what I'm talking about. So first we start by going to the open dialog box and navigating to our step file. You can see here I have my step file located in the folder, and below there's not really too much I can do. I don't have any options here to select from. I'm going to go over to the All Files dialog drop-down and switch this over to step and see what that does for me.
So immediately you see it'll filter out all of the file types but the step file. So if you're working in a large directory with multiple files, this could be very handy. It also brings up the options menu so that we can change how the step file is imported. So I'm going to go ahead and click on options, and here we see all of our import options and systems options. Going down from the top, we can see that we have the surface solid entities checked. This means that I want to try to form a solid or surfaces when importing this geometry.
Some geometry types will be 3D point cloud data and other forms that don't necessarily have the surfaces and solids that we're used to in SolidWorks. Ideally we always want to push imported geometry to a solid body so that we can get the most out of it for copying and utilizing that geometry and not have to redo a lot of work. So here there are a few different options when doing this import, so again, we're going to try forming solids. You can also knit the surfaces together if you just want a collection of surfaces, or do nothing.
I also have here the option Merge Entities selected so that I can try to create one solid imported body out of these features. If you're doing something like a large assembly, though, that's in a step file format, you might want to uncheck this so you can have separate imported bodies that you can then save out to different SolidWorks parts. As far as the other options, I'm going to just leave these in their default for now, and generally you're not going to have to mess with these. So go ahead and click okay, select the step file that I want to open, and let's do some work.
Now, once SolidWorks is done translating the file, we get a representation on our screen of the 3D file. Now, every time you import a file, it's going to ask you if you want to run import diagnostics on this part. As a rule, I typically select no and do that after the fact if it's necessary. This is going to physically change the geometry in front of you to repair it if there's any issues. So we're going to click no. And then the next option that usually comes on if you have the add-on activated is the FeatureWorks option. So this is actually going to go through this part, and if it was made in SolidWorks, for example, before it was converted to a step file, it'll go through and rebuild the entire feature tree, giving you more options to edit this file going down the road.
But again, I'm going to select no and just leave it in its native format so I can see all the geometry that I was originally sent. So here I've got two bodies. One's the main body of the part and one is the safety for the valve to slide down. It looks like I have very good geometry with no errors. Now, if we were to open this as an iges file, as shown in some previous videos, we would've had errors in the threads and other areas. But because we opened it as a step file, we have almost optimal 3D geometry in front of us to leverage moving forward in our design.
- Opening files from different versions of SOLIDWORKS
- Importing models from online sources
- Importing 3D files
- Importing 2D files
- Exporting 2D and 3D files