How to save a ScanTo3D (.3ds) file from a SOLIDWORKS part?

Article by Vipanjot Kaur, CSWP updated August 8, 2019


You must have the SOLIDWORKS ScanTo3D Add-in enabled before you can save parts as the ScanTo3D 3DS file format. There are a few ways for you to enable SOLIDWORKS add-ins as described in this blog article.

However, saving the part files directly as a ScanTo3D file format shows the warning message stating: “No available entities to process through 3DS.”

SOLIDWORKS Error Message

SOLIDWORKS Error Message

The problem is due to incompatible types of files. A .3ds file is a ‘mesh file’. It is not compatible directly with graphics, solids and surface bodies.

You must create a mesh file from the file to be exported and then save to .3ds file format.

Create a compatible Mesh file:


Save SOLIDWORKS .STL file from a SOLIDWORKS part file through File > Save as > .STL


Now open SOLIDWORKS .STL file in SOLIDWORKS using File > Open > select the file type as ScanTo3D Mesh (.STL).

Change file type to ScanTo3D 3DS when importing .STL

Change file type when importing .STL


The file will then be in a mesh format and can then be exported directly to .3ds file format through File > Save as > Scanto3D Mesh Files

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Vipanjot Kaur, CSWP

Vip is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) and is based in our Oakville Ontario head office.