Problems with imported model? Import Diagnostics to the rescue!

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated February 12, 2019


So you imported some model and it’s giving you grief.  Perhaps inexplicable behavior that cannot be resolved simply by restarting SOLIDWORKS.  We feel your pain!

At the earliest opportunity, you want to run Import Diagnostics.  It’s a powerful tool that harness the miracle of computer-based modeling to heal bad faces/edges.  For more information, check out the other helpful articles tagged as Import Diagnostics in our blog.  Best practice is to run Import Diagnostics before adding any features.

The problem is this: if Import Diagnostics wasn’t run, and there are now SOLIDWORKS features already added to the Feature Manager Design Tree (or “Tree” for short), then you cannot run Import Diagnostics with the model in its current state.  It’s not available if SOLIDWORKS native features have been added to the tree.  Fortunately, there are a couple of options:

  1. Delete the features that were added previously and then run Import Diagnostics.  Depending on how much work was done, this could mean unacceptable loss of much work, in which case perhaps the second option is preferable:
  2. Export the model as-is into a dumb solid such as STEP, IGES, Parasolid, etc. then re-import into SOLIDWORKS.  This should allow you to access Import Diagnostics.  The downside here is that the model is now a dumb solid, and previously-added SOLIDWORKS features are no longer accessible.  The model is still editable, using various techniques like Move Face, but as the model is entirely a dumb solid now, it is not as easily and parametrically editable as before.  So when to export?  You may choose to do some more modeling before the export, or just get the export over with now and add new features later.  Sooner is often better, as a solid model in need of Import Diagnostics repairs can result in failure of certain modeling attempts, and wasted time.

One last thing to note:  In more recent versions of SOLIDWORKS, due to 3D Interconnect functionality, the healing commands within Import Diagnostics are sometimes not available at first:

import Diagnostics

Import Diagnostics

To enable the healing commands, first right-click the imported solid and choose Dissolve Feature:

Dissolve Features

Dissolve Features

This allows us to then run Import Diagnostics on the imported solid feature.  Below is the way to access it by right-clicking the imported solid in the tree, but you can also access Import Diagnostics from Tools > Evaluate:

Access Import Diagnostics

Access Import Diagnostics

…and the healing commands should now be available:

Healing commands available

Healing commands available

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John Lee, CSWE

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWE with fifteen years of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.