Exporting 3D data from Solidworks to 3DS Max


I’ve been trying various methods of importing geometry into 3DS max with rather unsatisfactory results.

So far i’ve tried: Okino Polytrans, STEP to Rhino then .3ds to max, and straight stl.

None of them import completely smooth surfaces they’re always pinched or just a bit warped here and there.

If anyone has any tips or good ways of doing this i’d be really grateful to know!


I have tried this numerous times and like you have never had any great results. The models always come in heavy and sometimes they have massive holes in them. I did however see somewhere (can’t remember where) a plug in for this. Search the internet and you will probably come across it. Good luck and I hope this helps. :wink:

Take a look at nPower Software – Power SWtoMax | Native translation to 3ds Max for SolidWorks® models and assemblies!

Npower definitely works.
The long method is to open the solidworks file in rhino 4. From there you can check it for gaps first, then save it as an iges or 3ds max file. The max version is lighter but you must play with the settings to make it come in well (if not, some corners may disappear). Iges normally comes in well but is a heavier file.
Also, when you’re in max, look for the display settings of the model and the render settings. The default is medium for both I think and the model will look really faceted in the display window and when rendered. You can boost those settings to the high preset and if that doesn’t work well enough, go to the advanced settings and up the dulaney (?) numbers. That’ll definitely smooth everything out but go slow, too large and it’ll start crawling and take forever. Don’t waste time upping the display too much, that just makes working with the model take longer. Just boost the render display using dulaney and it’ll make everything better.

This is great. I may have to get this for work sense we use Max a SW quite a bit.

Thanks very much for the feedback, much appreciated! Will definitely look into the npower software as it seems quite a popular choice.

I have done it without any extra plug-ins. so you might want to try it.

Save the file from SW as VRLM (*.wrl) format, BUT you have to set the “image quality” settings to the maximum.

When imported into MAX you’ll have models with fine polygonal mesh.
I have use them for high quality renders with no major issues. (of course it will require a fairly powerful machine)

If you need to translate a large number of parts or a big assembly you can do it part by part and they will fall in place when imported into max (check the units when importing & exporting)

well that’s all i know, hope it helps.

Good luck!!!