How to convert AutoCAD DWG to SOLIDWORKS 3D Models

Article by Rod Mackay updated January 12, 2015


Can SOLIDWORKS open AutoCAD DWG files? For those companies that are thinking about moving from an existing AutoCAD 2D CAD package to a 3D solution, SOLIDWORKS can open AutoCAD DWG files and also convert them into 3D models.



Design sketches and assembly layouts may represent the first step of a consumer product or a machine design; and if they exist in AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS can use them as the foundation for 3D geometry creation.

How does it work?

SOLIDWORKS includes an Import Wizard to allow DWG/DXF files to be imported directly into the sketcher – from there it can easily be turned into a 3D model. If the drawing contains multiple orthographic views, you can arrange the 2D geometry onto a glass box layout making it easy to convert the 2D sketches into a 3D model.

If there are any problems inherent in the AutoCAD drawing or caused by the translation, the SOLIDWORKS sketch repair tool will automatically fix these problems.

Here is a demonstration from the SolidWorks YouTube channel which will show you how a 2D DWG was converted on a SOLIDWORKS 3D model using the 2D to 3D tools built into SOLIDWORKS software.

How many DWGs should you convert?

Switching from AutoCAD to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software will dramatically improve your business performance, but the investment often raises questions about how to handle legacy data. How much, if any, should be converted to 3D models? When do you convert it? Which data do you convert? How can you avoid errors? What has proven successful for other companies?

Fill out the form below to access a white paper which outlines migration strategies that squarely address these questions and also covers objectives, return on investment considerations, quality issues, and best practices.

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.