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Jared Benson
C4D From Solidworks
on May 1, 2014 at 3:36:35 pm

I am getting some CAD drawings from a client and I am wondering which format I should get from them. The types of files that they can export and that I can import into C4D are 3Ds, DWG, DXF, STL or VRML. Is one better than the other? Does one preserve more detail than another? I would really appreciate any guidance here as our company has never done this before, we have previously built all our models in house.


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Jared Benson
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on May 1, 2014 at 3:54:43 pm

I forgot to put obj as one of the formats as well.


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Adam Trachtenberg
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on May 2, 2014 at 3:31:52 am

I would use OBJ as it's the only one I know for sure that imports normals.


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Greg Neumayer
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on May 12, 2014 at 9:11:09 pm

I had the same situation when 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.

However, before having to get Polytrans, I was able to do this:
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 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.

Antifreeze Design
http://www.antifreezedesign.com


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Jared Benson
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on May 13, 2014 at 2:25:48 pm

Thanks for your input. Because this is something we will be doing a lot in the future, my boss sprung for Polytrans. It cost about $700 and is a little bit of a pain because its a PC only program and we work primarily in MAC. After fooling around with it for a day or so, we got it to work and got a very nice conversion for C4D. It was definitely worth the money for us.


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Greg Neumayer
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on May 13, 2014 at 5:52:18 pm

Ah. That's right. I was wondering why I hadn't ponied up to just buying it. Now I remember. I'm on Macs as well. Anyway, it's good to know that it's a successful workflow if I do get some PC units.

Antifreeze Design
http://www.antifreezedesign.com


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Richard Barkel
Re: C4D From Solidworks
on Apr 21, 2015 at 9:05:35 pm

Thanks for the info Greg MOI worked like a charm!


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