Mesh to Solids

This may have been discussed before but I am looking for current info.

Does anyone have experience, they would be willing to share, about how to best take a mesh from MAYA and develop it into surfaces in SolidWorks? Are there any add-on programs that make this transition easier?

I’d look into T-Splines for Solidworks (tsElements). Just launched at SolidWorks World and looks to have some promise.

  • Import a subdivision surface model from 3ds Max, Maya, modo, T-Splines for Rhino, or other software.
  • Open the model in SolidWorks as a solid or surface body.
  • Manipulate the model to change the shape in tsElements.

In the scenarios that I can imagine, getting a good surface model from a mesh is not possible as an automated process. It is basically the same as bringing in digitized data and working new surfaces from scratch there. The mesh is a reference.

I use Rhino, so my experience is there, but the mechanics of meshes and surfaces are very different and likely the same in Solidworks.

Depending on the type of object, say a toy figurine, you might not need class A smooth surfaces and the result would be fine. You might even be able to machine directly from the mesh in some cases, no conversion necessary. Without knowing the level of complexity of your object, hard to give a more complete answer.

Geomagic software is another type of solution, but the surface intent of a consumer product gets lost in the conversion.

Thanks for the answers so far. In the past (ten years ago) I made point clouds from the mesh and then built the surface off of the point clouds. Is this still done?

Solid works does not handle point cloud data. what you would do is scan the data as tight as you can and bring in the meshes to SW. From their you would use them as ref. to pull cross sections from in order to build your surface in SW.

Chevis W.

Technically speaking in Maya you could convert your polygons to Sub-D’s (this would cause some translation of the data though) and then convert that to NURBS surfaces which could be imported into Solidworks as IGES data.

The result would be incredibly sloppy though and virtually unusable for anything other than reference - which makes it not much more valid than point cloud data.

Rebuilding the model will probably end up being your only real solution.

this. iges data would be suitable for underlay (the resultant surfaces assuming they are compound/complex are riddled with gaps and errors) only.

Tim, you have described a middle step, from Maya to SolidWorks. For better understanding, it is helpful to know the broader context of your requirements. Might open up to more creative solutions on getting your data from point A to B.

I am always interested in the approaches that people use to build surfaces from various forms of input, and if anyone ever machines from meshes directly.

I build surface models in Rhino from point clouds today.

I am always interested in the approaches that people use to build surfaces from various forms of input, and if anyone ever machines from meshes directly.

You can write tool paths from mesh files – STL, but the resulting machined surface will be faceted matching the size of the mesh. Nurbs surfaces are more precise and provide for much finer calculation of tool movement.