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Tag Archives: solidworks

I needed to animate an industrial product that only existed as Solidworks. I didn’t have a direct line of communication with the CAD guy, which didn’t help. So, from him I got a solidworks file.

From my research, I found the Polytrans might be a good pipeline solution. Their product is basically intended for that conversion. (PC only)

0. If you can get the SW person to turn off what you don’t need before export (like internal parts that won’t show), this would’ve made my job easier.
1. Open the SW or .igs (IGES) file in a trial (or purchased) version of MOI (Moment of Inspiration). It’s a bit of a fringe application, but has the nice feature of being able to open a SW file.
2. Crawl my way through the MOI interface deleting parts that I didn’t need. (It was a complete unit with a thousand internal parts)
3. Export to OBJ. IMPORTANT: There’s an interface that would let me dictate how curved surfaces are tessellated. It took a bit of trial and error to get this how I liked it. I had to do multiple exports because the tesselator didn’t have adaptive adjustments. That means that tight little curves could get by with less tessellation in one export, but long sweeping curves (like the ergonomic desk) needed a higher count. This higher count was too heavy to apply to everything, hence the multiple exports.
4. Open in C4D and ungroup the polys.
5. Enjoy an afternoon of re-grouping every item into a useable hierarchy.

It was a no-cost solution, but by no means an obvious or simple workflow. In hindsight, It’d be worth a few hundred dollars if Polytrans (or other) simplified that process.