Importing STL files into SOLIDWORKS as a Solid or Surface model

Article by Saeed Mojarad (CSWE) created/updated December 24, 2015

Occasionally I am asked if there is a way of importing STL files into SOLIDWORKS as a solid/surface model and not as a graphic body.

STL Graphic Import

STL Graphic Import

Well the answer is yes, and it is pretty simple. All you need to do is follow these steps:

1. Start SOLIDWORKS and click Open

Open

Open a document

2. Change the file type to STL (*.stl)

STL File Type

STL File Type

3. Notice that a new Options button is available now. Click on it.

Import Options Button

Import Options Button

4. Change import body to Solid Body or Surface Body and press OK.

Import Body Options

Import Body Options

5. Browse to the STL file you want to import and click Open.

6. If you look at the FeatureManager Design Tree you can now see that the part is imported as a solid body.

Importing STL files into SOLIDWORKS

Imported Solid

7. Now you can use the FeatureWorks > Recognize Features tool to convert the imported body into SOLIDWORKS features.

Recognize Features

Recognize Features

In this example five features have been recognized:

Features recognized

Features recognized

Learn more about STL files

Attend our 3D Printing Essentials training course to learn more about working with STL files and the 3D printing technology and applications available.

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Saeed Mojarad (CSWE)

Saeed Mojarad is an application engineer at Javelin Technologies. He received his B.S from Mazandaran University, Iran; and his M.S. from École de technologie supérieure (ETS), Canada. He has several years of experience using SOLIDWORKS in different industries such as manufacturing and aerospace. Currently located in Calgary, he is helping SOLIDWORKS users all across Canada as a technical support and SOLIDWORKS instructor.

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