Explore what a mesh file is and learn about the different file types.
- [Narrator] If we're going to be working with meshes in SOLIDWORKS we first have to start with a foundation of understanding what a mesh file is. So here in SOLIDWORKS right now you can see an example of a mesh file that we're going to be working with throughout the course. It doesn't look like our typical file and you'll notice that it has a number of edges, faces, facets and surfaces that make up this geometry. If we go to Wikipedia really quick we can see that a mesh is a collection of vertices, edges and faces that define a computer graphic for solid modeling.
When we go down to the file formats, we can see that there are many different kinds of file formats from different companies for different softwares, but at the end of the day they're all point cloud data, which means that they're a collection of x, y, z coordinate points that make up nodes and are then connected by edges, surfaces and faces. So here you can see the vertices. These are the points, the edges that connect them, the faces that make those edges, the polygons that are built out of those faces and then surfaces or b-rep surfaces that are created out of those polygons to make something more complex.
We can find some of these meshes on websites like GrabCAD or 3D ContentCentral where they're available. Typically we'll find them as an STL file type, but the main thing is that these files don't have any volume to them. You can't use Boolean geometry features on these various file types so what you need to do is convert them into solid geometry so you can manipulate them in SOLIDWORKS and use them for reference. So with that said, let's move forward into some of the tools that are available for bringing these parts in.
- Importing geometry
- Using the surface and face tools
- Working with Boolean geometry
- Converting scans to 3D with Mesh Edit, the Mesh Prep Wizard, and the Surface Wizard
- Working with mesh BREP bodies
- Exporting a mesh
- Preparing a mesh for 3D printing