View Full Version : Solidworks models to LW9: At witís end

10-17-2011, 02:25 PM
I am returning to LW after a few years, and have purchased version 9 (runs on my OSX 10.5.7 system and was less expensive than v10). This is for a specific project to animate some medical devices (titanium screws) that were created in Solidworks.

I have spent many, many hours and days searching the forums and web for current info about how to import their models into LW, and Iím running into multiple walls so often I am pulling my hair out. Hopefully, I just missed the one thing that I need.

My analysis so far indicates that .stl files are the easiest to be translated, but it requires a plug in that I cannot locate. In the forums from about 2006 or so, everyone said, ďoh just go get the SHM/STL plugin from chromecow.com to do the job.Ē This site is down and I cannot locate this plugin now. Donít know if itís still available or if it works with my LW9.
Also, had references to a (different?) plugin by Mike Wolf called STL IO. I canít locate this plugin, either.
I watched Matt Gornerís tutorial, and he refers to these plugins, and he uses MOI to do the translation from IGS files.

So otherwise, Iíd be looking at very expensive secondary programs like Deep Exploration, and Accutrans, that are far beyond my budget, plus they only run on Windows systems, which I do not own (so Iíd have to invest in both the program and a Windows system for my Mac). The least expensive is MOI at $295, still much more than I expected to invest on top of my LW investment for this project. And, again, it runs on Windows, not Mac.

I know this Solidworks issue has been raised repeatedly from time to time, but can anyone point me to a current solution? I have to find a way to get these files translated into something I can work with, and soon. Iím not nearly as technically adept as most of you guys and gals, especially in modeling, so keep it as straightforward for me as you can :D
Here are my questions:

Is there a currently available plugin that will import STL or other Solidworks exportable files into LW9? Can you point me to it / them?

Or, is there any other way to make the transition from Solidworks to LW that Iím not finding info about, that does not require a Windows system and/or another substantial software purchase?

Sorry for long post, but many thanks for helping me find an answer in this massive fog.

10-17-2011, 02:43 PM
Try this link http://www.chromecow.com/ :)

First link, it is SHM STL tools and it works nice with import/export STL.

10-17-2011, 02:56 PM
I used Inventor few years ago with LW and as far as I remember, Lightwave loaded STL-files directly without any plugins.

10-17-2011, 09:10 PM
I used Inventor few years ago with LW and as far as I remember, Lightwave loaded STL-files directly without any plugins.
Nope. Just get the Chrome Cow .stl importer exporter, works the trick.

10-18-2011, 03:10 PM
Thank you very much, Lewis, for the link to that Lscript. I just could not locate it for some reason. That script does work very well! Solves my dilemma. Thanks again.

10-19-2011, 12:19 PM
I donīt remember really, Ive tried the stl importer some time ago, but we abondoned that long time ago and now use deep exploration and export wavefront obj format with vertex normals intact.

Now I donīt remember if stl models will retain any vertex normal smoothing?

Anyway I am fully satisfied with deep exploration and the exports from that, and I guess this is not an option for you thou.


10-19-2011, 12:43 PM
I'm pretty sure STLs don't have vertex normal data, as the format is intended for rapid prototyping output - SLA, etc.

10-19-2011, 12:47 PM
I'm pretty sure STLs don't have vertex normal data, as the format is intended for rapid prototyping output - SLA, etc.

Yeah ..thatīs what I thought and one reason I dropped using stl, along with it being to cumbersome to resurface materials and certain segments, much easier to resurface the solidworks sldasm file inside of deep exploration and then save out to obj format with vertex normals intact for our product renders, I had long time issues with getting a metal logo render correctly, making sure to export with vertex normals and saving out to obj format and using perspective cam( not classic cam) solved the issues I had.


10-27-2011, 07:01 AM
Just another vote for Deep Exploration here (or it's predecessor - 3D Exploration, which I use).

The method is as follows:

Open model in Solidworks >

Save as STL (go to options to set the accuracy level for finer or rougher detail which will affect the number of polys) >

Open 3D/Deep Exploration, browse to dir with the STL file and highlight (via the explorer at bottom of the screen) then >

File >

Batch Conversion >

Geometry Files >

Tick the files you want to transform (ensure Object format is set to Lightwave Object) >

Check the transform button (I have to set the scale to percentage to 0.1% as the conversion is obviously mixing m and mm, you might not need to do this) >

Click convert - job done!

Few notes:

This is for raw model import only as has already been mentioned and will supply a triangulated 3D model (with some general control over model detail)
I believe the conversion typically requires the model to be rotated back (not a big deal, but it is an extra step to do in modeller).