Using Modo to create manufacturable surfaces

We might be starting work on a project that will involve creating and editing a lot of characters (fantastical types - unicorns, monsters, etc.) that ultimately need to be manufactured as figures & toys. SolidWorks has been our primary tool, but it is clearly not the best one for this job so we are considering getting new software. One we are considering is Modo since it also has the capability to do animation, which we may end up doing a bit of.

The only issue with Modo is I’m not totally sure it can export good surface for manufacturing. Design Engine’s site says it can export to SW to make class A surfaces (Learning to Design with MODO | Design Engine) and NovEdge article says that if we stick to SubD it can export as STEP (How to use MODO for Product Design, Step by Step.), buy Modo’s site makes no mention of exporting to CAD besides Rhino and does not list STEP files as an export-able type (Importing and Exporting File Formats).

Has anyone had success exporting out of Modo to create manufacturable surfaces? Or should we move on to another tool? We’re also considering SolidWorks’ 3D Sculptor/xShape (to hopefully have best interoperability with SW, though it may be too new to be mature), Rhino, and Fusion 360.

1 Like

You might already be the local expert on this process.
Maybe look at similar kinds of products for process info/inspo? ZBrush and .ztl files… IDK.

Most modern CAM proprograms, maybe all now, can import STL files and use them to write tool paths. So if you can save out a good STL you should be good to go. I have even sent character based OBJ files to China and had there were no problems or comments.

Thanks, that’s good to know. Makes things a bit more open.

I hadn’t looked into ZBrush as I had thought of it as a tool for animators/screen output, but perhaps that would be a good option. Reading in the GeekWire article that Funko Pops use it is certainly an endorsement.

1 Like

@seurban I might be chiming in on this a bit late but I have been exactly where you are and can say that 100% this can be done. I’ve been using Solidworks now for about 20+ years and Modo for about 15years and have made different products from this combination.

The one thing that I can say is that, while different then making models in Solidworks, making models in Modo is just fun again. Things have felt quite stale overall with the modeling tools inside of Solidworks that not only is working in Modo amazing but the modeling and customization of the different tools in Modo are about the best there is.

There are ways to get the mesh converted to BREP aka CAD data. As there are a few different ways of getting the data out of Modo as several different file types much of this is very workflows.

If you need to see some data types or processes let me know.

I ended up with a combination of Modo and Zbrush for this project. I gave both a try, but as someone who has mostly worked in SolidWorks for 17 years Zbrush just felt too loose for getting the form right. So I made the overall form in Modo, which seemed to give me more control and generate smooth surfaces easier, but was really disappointed by its sculpting tools when it came to the details. So I brought the model over to Zbrush which is absolutely fantastic for sculpting details.

@cadjunkie Good to know you’ve had success with Modo and SolidWorks. I haven’t had to get the two to work together yet, but now that I’ve gotten into Modo I’d love to know how to make it play nice with SW so I can integrate it into my process. If you could tell me your process or what data types work well that would be fantastic.

I’ve seen two plugins on Modo’s site, but wasn’t sure if both were needed or worth it. Modo for SolidWorks (Solidworks Kit | Modo | Foundry) seems to be just for importing into Modo, but Modo can already open .sldprt files so I’m not sure what it really gets you. Power SubD Nurbs (Power SubD-Nurbs Plug-in | Modo | Foundry) looks like a decent possibility for exporting to SW, but was more expensive than I expected for just an export plugin. Do you use either of these?