View Full Version : Exporting LW files for production

12-16-2008, 06:20 PM
Hi all. I need to export a model in IGS,PRT,CAT or other formats for
surface modelers like SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor.
Is this possible?

12-16-2008, 06:44 PM
You'll need a third party conversion program - Polytrans is the swiss army knife of conversion programs but pricy - maybe first you should see what Solidworks or Inventor will import?

12-16-2008, 06:48 PM

12-16-2008, 07:26 PM
StL file format works. go to flay and do a search for it. Blender also works

12-16-2008, 08:53 PM
Bear in mind the models will faceted, not nurb based at all, you won't be able to do much with them when imported.

12-16-2008, 11:04 PM
Hi all. I need to export a model in IGS,PRT,CAT or other formats for
surface modelers like SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor.
Is this possible?

It will need to be remodeled in the other app. Lightwave produces "dumb" models. LW is a surface modeler, the others are solid based. Going from solids to LW is very easy with .STL format. Scale is off, but easy to correct. But going from LW to solids just doesn't cut it. Sorry.


12-17-2008, 06:18 AM

12-17-2008, 06:46 AM
StL file format works. go to flay and do a search for it. Blender also works

Hi calilifestyle
The STL format plugin works fine to stereolithograph impress?? Do you already make any test?

12-17-2008, 07:45 AM
Hi all. I spoke with my production guy and he is looking into what file types he may be able to use.

I find it strange if Lightwave can create beautiful models that people cannot use for production in the real world. I am told the files for production would need to be surface based.

I spoke to a tech at Okino (manufacturers of PolyTrans)
His words:
I've received this question several times per week over the last decade. You
can't do this because IGES/CATIA/etc are BREP solid modeler files and
Lightwave just uses simple polygon meshes. You can't turn meshes into a proper
solids model as you expect. It is like turning water back into an ice
There must be a Lightwave plugin that can allow the export to a solid surface file.

12-17-2008, 09:09 AM
if your making a rapid prototype then all you need is a water tight model [no holes] in a standard format such as 3ds, obj etc.

'what' is your final need...what are you building/producing in the real world so to speak?

12-17-2008, 09:18 AM
Hi. The file needs need to be molded into a plastic mold.
The program trying to open the Lightwave object is Master Cam

Attached is a picture of the Kayak I need to export as a solid surface file.

12-17-2008, 09:18 AM
To be honest, I've had luck taking a LW file into Rhino and then having it "fix" the mesh so it doesn't leak. As mentioned above, though, it will be faceted - there is no way to convert it to Nurbs.

I've also had luck importing a LW file as an OBJ into Sensable's Claytools (somewhat of a boondoggle if you just use it for translation because you're actually buying the haptic arm and the software comes with it and it ain't cheap), and fixing the mesh from there. It will actually convert the facets to its voxel engine (smoothing the mesh in the process, which might not be what you want) and from there it will be you fixing the mesh and then you can export it STL format.

Read up on the motorcycle designed in LW and then moved to Solidworks, that might give you some insight. I think they basically imported the object into Solidworks and then used it as a template?

12-17-2008, 09:19 AM
Perhaps the people at 3darttopart.com could be bribed to convert things? LOL

12-17-2008, 09:26 AM
Well, if you create a sub-d LW model, mesh it to something VERY high and SLA it, it should look okay, after all, when you create an STL from a SolidWorks / ProE etc. file that's what happens, your lovely nurb surfaces are meshed.

To put a LW model into a CAD package to then export to STL is pointless! You gain nothing.

To get a LW model into nurbs you'd be better off re-modelling it in the package you want to use.

Bottom line, LW should NOT be used for production items, it's just not designed for that. If you want to create an art-to-part SLA model, then you can.

12-17-2008, 09:27 AM
hi depending on the shape and the mould your model may need tollerences set up to be able to be pulled from the mould cleanly.

lightwave is a 'art tool' made to make pretty images and animation rather than.

for product creation there's a totally different set of needs that's handled by different 3d apps that don't make pretty pictures but do make 3d models ready for manufaturing of real world objects be they, shoes, engine motor parts and such.

on occasion you can use lightwave, 3dsmax, maya, cinema and modo to make realworld objects from rapid prototyping but they are not BUILT with this in mind.

so it's ususally down the the model you have and the inut file type your destination app requires to how sucessfull it will be.

proper apps for this would be>>
delcam powershape and autodesk studio tools


by the way i think delcam will do a translation by cost for a single file...so you only pay PER USE...
and their software is free to play with and learn.

12-17-2008, 09:30 AM
Hi Matt. What do you mean by, mesh it to something VERY high and SLA it?

12-18-2008, 09:50 AM
I wonder if there is a way to model in NURBS in Max and translate it to a solid surface program (like SolidWorks, Inventor, MasterCam) without it coming out faceted. Is there a way to have the NURBS translate cleanly to one of those programs?