Introducing the new GrabCAD Print for SOLIDWORKS Add-in

Article by Rod Mackay updated February 9, 2017


In addition to the launch of the new Stratasys F123 Series at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 this week; Stratasys also launched another SOLIDWORKS 3D printing related product — a new GrabCAD Print SOLIDWORKS Add-in. The new Add-in has all the power of the GrabCAD Print stand-alone software allowing you to easily estimate cost and print parts, but with the added advantage of not having to leave SOLIDWORKS.

You can select materials, slice height, part orientation, and part layout. Then print on your Stratasys 3D printer; there is a growing number of GrabCAD Print-supported machines (Full Support: uPrint SE/SE Plus, Dimension 1200es / Dimension Elite, Fortus 250mc, the new F123 Series, and Limited Support: Fortus 380mc / Fortus 450mc, Fortus 900mc).



GrabCAD Print for SOLIDWORKS is the perfect add-in for engineers and designers who need to quickly build prototype parts. Your part design can be added to a representation of the 3D printer build tray using standard SOLIDWORKS commands.

The GrabCAD Print SOLIDWORKS Add-in is built on the same stable GrabCAD platform as the GrabCAD Print desktop, web, and mobile products.

How to obtain the GrabCAD Print SOLIDWORKS Add-in

GrabCAD Print is a Free SOLIDWORKS Add-in to access it you just download it from the GrabCAD websiteSOLIDWORKS versions 2014 through 2017 are supported (64-bit only).

NOTE: You must already have GrabCAD Print installed in order to use the SOLIDWORKS add-in. Read more about installing for the first time.

How to use the Add-in

After the GrabCAD Print SOLIDWORKS Add-in has been installed it should have been activated in SOLIDWORKS (if not go to Tools > Add-ins and check GrabCAD Print for SOLIDWORKS). You’ll find a GrabCAD Print CommandManager menu and a related Task Pane tab.

Step 1: Log in

Start by logging into your GrabCAD account by accessing the new GrabCAD tab in the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane, then enter your company account. This will allow the add-in to access your 3D Printer[s] and company network settings.

After entering your credentials and picking Sign up, your company account will be displayed in the Task Pane, select it and pick the Select account button



Step 2: Print Preparation

Open a Part*, and pick the Print Preparation tool found in the CommandManager:

Note that assemblies require the GrabCAD Print Desktop version

GrabCAD Print Preparation

GrabCAD Print Preparation

Step 3: Select Your Printer

Pick the Printer from the PropertyManager.

The available list will show the printers in your network with UPnP enabled, the remote printers connected through your company account (cloud icon), as well as offline printers (-x- icon).

The selected materials show what is currently in the printer, but you can change materials. The available slice heights are the same as in GrabCAD Print, as well as Insight and Catalyst.

GrabCAD Print

GrabCAD Printer Selection

Step 4: Set up your Print Tray

As soon as you open the print preparation tool, you can go straight into re-orienting the part. With a single click, you can pick a face to face, and then the automatic tray layout will put this in an optimized location for the selected printer.

You can also change the scale of the part and scale to fit the entire tray if required.

GrabCAD Print Tray Layout

GrabCAD Print Tray Layout

To adjust the smoothness and accuracy of the print go to the advanced tessellation controls, under the Options tab:

GrabCAD Print Tessellation Options

GrabCAD Print Tessellation Options

Step 5: Print, save, or view estimates

In the Actions group, you can choose between:

  • Estimate – shows time and material consumption estimations.
  • Print – sends the job to the currently selected printer.
  • Open in Desktop – Closes the add-in and opens the Print GrabCAD desktop application with your tray. This is how you get more advanced print prep, such as multiple parts per tray, slice preview, and printing to a Stratasys J750.
  • Save As … – Allows you to save a GrabCAD Print project file, or to STL of the current tray layout.

Hit “Go” to perform the selected action.

GrabCAD Action Button

GrabCAD Action Button

If you pick Estimate and select Go the cost of the print and consumption of material will be provided along with your tessellation settings and a thumbnail of the tray:

GrabCAD Print Estimation

GrabCAD Print Estimation

A few limitations for the SOLIDWORKS Add-in

All of the features listed below are available in the GrabCAD Print desktop application.

The SOLIDWORKS add-in:

  • Can not print directly from a .SLDASM file.
  • Can not print multiple bodies in a part assembled.
  • Can not prepare multiple trays at once.
  • Can not print with non-default infill and support styles.
  • Can not print to a Stratasys J750 printer.
  • Can not show a Slice Preview.
  • Can not let the user drag models freely around the tray.

Additionally, the SOLIDWORKS add-in can not be open at the same time as the GrabCAD Print desktop application.

Related Links

Want to get started with 3D Printing?

Our 3D Printing resources can help you to:

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.