What's the status of importing mesh objects?

I expect to be moving all my design work to Solidworks in the near
future. However, I suspect on of the hassles will be a large library
of AutoCAD 3D objects I which are not modeled as solids. Rather they
are mesh objects, and in some cases individual 3d Faces. I would also
like to utilize 3d objects which were originally created for animation
packages like 3D Studio or Lightwave.
I've searched the newsgroups and read recommendations to convert the
file to IGES or SAT files, but have some questions;
-Does 2004 have any new features regarding this?
-Is one prefered over the other? I.e. I have no idea about the data
structure in these files. Does one make larger files than the other?
-I have tried to convert some of my meshes to ACIS solids using the
proces of IGES export from AutoCAD, then Stitching the surfaces in
Mechanical Desktop, but it does not seem to work reliably.
I also have a need to export my work to another application, which
has very limited import abilities, and really can only accept meshes
and 3d faces. The application is used to design lighting for theater,
and is certainly going to be sensitive to the quantity of triangles,
so it would be great to be able to control the mesh density of what I
export from Solidworks.
-What can I expect to get out of Solidworks as far as 3d faces?
-Any other 3rd party application you would recommend for doing
Joe Dunfee
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VRML and STL are supported as standard mesh imports. You can import either as graphic objects (display list polygons), or as a faceted solid. SW doesn't have any of the display tweaks that 3DS has (smoothing for example). Objects are represented in their exact form. if you have a curvy mesh model, it will look pretty rough. Mesh objects also seem to bog SW down quit a bit. If you're going to use Photoworks you'll want to remodel your objects as exact soilds
If the files are being represented as meshes in the parent system, it doesn't really matter. Some systems, like Maya, can use NURBS. In this case you would want to use IGES, or some other true geometry format
-I have tried to convert some of my meshes to ACIS solids using the
IGES can be very different between systems. It's a very non-standard standard. I haven't tried importing IGES from MDT in years. SW IGES has always been pretty good (as solid modelers go). What you have to realize is that you can't translate an object into a more accurate form than it's being represented in the parent system. Both SW and IV deal with a level of mathematical precision many times greater than the systems you want to import data from.
Baren Boym
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writes a direct translator for 3DS. I seem to remember and OBJ translator as well. I just can't remember who just now.
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Mark Mossberg
Capvidia is developing a new add-in for SolidWorks to create parametric models from STL/Mesh or point clouds. We hope to release it this fall. In the meantime, we can do this as service work for SolidWorks.
Lyle Fischer Capvidia 507 794-5447
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Lyle Fischer

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