Rhino to Solidworks conversion cleanup tips?

Hey everyone, apologies if this is a repeat (which I’m sure it is, but I don’t know what to search for - everything is too general)…I’ve got a pretty complex, extremely curvy carbon fiber seat that I made in Rhino. The engineer of course uses Solidworks, so I’ve been trying to send the file over to him so he can cut section planes out of it and we can make a mockup, in addition to simply using the seat later. Every time I try and put it into Solidworks though, I get quite a few edge gap errors and whatnot. Ok, fix those, now I’ve got one giant edge gap around the side. Ok, I thicken the part in Rhino using it’s solid tools, but that turns out really nasty, and there are many areas that I was originally planning to fillet in Solidworks because Rhino can’t do it well…but Solidworks won’t let me edit the Rhino surfaces in Solidworks…etc etc. Basically, how do I get a Rhino file into Solidworks so it can be properly tuned up and edited, hopefully without rebuilding the whole thing in Solidworks? Thanks in advance!

You can’t. If you want it to be edited, you have to rebuild from scratch. I would suggest forget fillets and solid tools. Import a number of key construction surfaces so it would be faster to rebuild and understand how to model properly. Engineer can look at your current model to understand what it should look like. And check in on him regularly so you make sure he gets the design intent.

Instead of trying to form a solid in Rhino, simply join all of your surfaces together in Rhino so you have one joined srf. This way there’s connectivity between your separate surfaces, and SolidWorks can still do its own thing on exactly how it wants to solidify the quilt.

Just a thought!

Well there’s my next problem - in Rhino, I’ve tried to stitch everything together, but for the life of me it won’t do it - the curves all have the same lines, but Rhino insists that they can’t be stitched together. Also, I have this loop here (picture shown) - this is the main problem area - if I try to merge the swooping bit underneath with the main area behind it, Rhino freaks out and tries to merge the whole surface along it’s entire length with just that ~3" segment - is there any way to merge these surfaces? The geometry is kind of complex so I can’t just take edge borders. Thoughts/help? Thanks a lot. Otherwise, am I just going to have to rebuild the whole thing in Solidworks? Is that really what the pros do?


Why merge? Use split edge then match surface. There might be gap between the surfaces?

I assume that you are opening up the file in SW as a .3dm file? This is what I’d recommend instead of IGES or STEP. Also, by doing this, you can edit the rhino file from SW (loads Rhino session) and then you can switch back to SW after you save in rhino and SW will update. Also, you might consider turning on history in rhino so you can re-iterate your concept. If you are having knit problems in Rhino, I would say the safe bet would be to develop your surfaces in Rhino, but do all your trimming in knitting in SW if possible (along with all Radii.)



One thought is that is may be because of a tolerance issue in Rhino. If your edges truly are line to line, you should be able to join them & create a solid polysurface to export. In Rhino, go to Properties>Units and make sure the absolute tolerance is set to at least .001

I do all of my work in Rhino, yet we are a Solid Works office. I always take Rhino models about 80-90% of the way to final design intent, and then get it built in Solid Works but someone who is much better at it than I am.

To echo some of the other comments, don’t put the fillets in in Rhino, it will make it more difficult for them to work with your model in SW. And, if possible, untrim some of the major surfaces in your Rhino model and export as an IGES to SW. That will give the SW user a much better idea of the DNA behind the surfaces. I’ve always found that this helps them a lot as it reduces the amount of interpretation that the SW operator needs to do.

I’m really interested in how you can load your Rhino file from SW, update it in Rhino, and have SW load these updates. Does this require an add-on or is this feature been recently added to SW? I’m still working in SW2007 unfortunately.

This capability has existed since SW2008. Depending on what version of SW you’re on you’ll either have to add it in but in later versions we did away with the add-in and it’s simply one of the file types = .3dm. When you open up native rhino files in SW, in the Feature manager, you can RMB over the imported feature and it will give you the option to “edit in rhino” - that is if you have rhino installed. There have been some limitation with x64 (Rhino just recently became x64) but by 2010 we have overcome them.


Cool! We have the Rhino to SW add-on for SW2007 but I never new that it allowed this live updating of imported Rhino surfaces. Works great!