Slicing imported Mesh or Scanned Geometry into SOLIDWORKS Sketches

Article by Rod Mackay updated July 11, 2019


In a world that is moving more and more towards additive manufacturing as a primary method of creating our designs, working with mesh geometry is becoming ever more important. Whether this is a file that we’ve received from a customer, a supplier, or even geometry we’ve captured ourselves with a 3D scanner, using and manipulating this data inside SOLIDWORKS is crucial.

SOLIDWORKS 2019 introduces an amazing new Slicing tool that allows us to generate sketches directly from our mesh geometry. These sketches can then be used to generate a solid body just like our traditional SOLIDWORKS parts.

SOLIDWORKS Slicing tool Step-by-step Guide

To use the SOLIDWORKS Slicing tool on mesh geometry (like .stl, .ply, .obj, or .3mf for instance), just follow the steps below:

  1. Inside of SOLIDWORKS, click File  > Open, and directly open your mesh model.
  2. Activate the Slicing tool by selecting Insert  > Slicing.
  3. At this point, we need to select where we want our mesh sliced. We select a reference plane to offset our slicing planes from, specify the number of slicing plans, and the distance between them (basically the same as we would for a linear pattern!).

    SOLIDWORKS Slicing Tool

    Definition of Slicing Planes

  4. Automatically, SOLIDWORKS creates a folder that contains reference planes, and sketches that outline the mesh body we initially imported. These planes aren’t restricted to being every 0.8 inches like we initially input though! Using Instant3D we can drag the planes to make sure that they cover areas of interest on our model.

    Slicing Plane Adjustments

    Slicing Plane Adjustments

  5. The final step is converting these sketches into 3D geometry. We could do this using a solid-body loft between all the sketches, or loft a surface through them and convert to a solid later. The final result can be seen below!
Mesh to Surface, Just That Easy

Mesh to Surface, Just That Easy

With this amazing new feature, we can now extract more information from our mesh geometry than every before! Just another fantastic enhancement in SOLIDWORKS 2019.

SOLIDWORKS Slicing Tool Demonstration

Watch the demo video below to see the SOLIDWORKS Slicing Tool in action along with other new features in SOLIDWORKS 2019:

Related Links

Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

Javelin 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.