3D Interconnect made its debut in 2017, providing users with a fantastic new method for importing and collaborating with non-SOLIDWORKS models. Without the need for translation, models imported via 3D Interconnect come with fewer errors, while maintaining face and edge IDs and even establishing a parametric link back to the original model in its native format. That’s right – changes made to 3D Interconnect models in the native CAD program will propagate to SOLIDWORKS. For all the fine details on working with 3D Interconnect, please see this three-part series.
This new collaborative method was very well-received, and naturally, there have been several enhancements to 3D Interconnect in SOLIDWORKS 2018. In addition to new supported formats and the ability to import custom properties and materials, unconsumed sketches (or curves) in models from third-party native CAD programs can now be accessed and leveraged to generate SOLIDWORKS features. Figure 1 describes a simple SOLIDWORKS assembly with several non-SOLIDWORKS components imported via 3D Interconnect (numbered).
Figure 1 – Cabinet Display with Several Components Imported via 3D Interconnect
Component #3 is properly positioned, but there are no cut features in the mounting face for proper assembly. While converted/offset entities could be used here, the sketches required for these features have already been developed in the original file, which in this case is in Solid Edge format.
In order for unconsumed sketches to be available, system options must be set to include them upon import. Access System Options -> Import anduse the File Format dropdown menu to select the Inventor/Catia V5/Creo/NX/Solid Edge category. Ensure the checkbox for Unconsumed Sketch(es) and Curves is selected. Once activated, working with these sketches is exceptionally simple, as they are directly available in the FeatureManager Design Tree. In this case, a top-down approach will be used, beginning by editing the mounting face component and beginning a sketch:
Figure 2 – Editing Mounting Face Component and Beginning a Sketch
Once the new sketch is active, simply locate the desired sketch in the FeatureManager Design Tree and convert it. Available unconsumed sketches for imported components can be found organized neatly in a folder named Sketches just beneath the component name, along with additional folders (if applicable).
Figure 3 – Locating Available Unconsumed Sketches in Imported Component
Once converted, the sketch can be cleaned up as needed, or additional sketch entities can be added. In this example, a simple extruded cut can be used to create the holes needed in the mounting face for proper assembly. Remember, if the sketch in the original file is updated or modified in any way, the changes will propagate to the SOLIDWORKS model and any downstream features will update accordingly.
Figure 4 – Resulting Feature from Unconsumed Sketch
Having access to unconsumed sketch entities in non-SOLIDWORKS files makes working with 3D Interconnect more efficient and effective than ever before, and is just one of many impressive enhancements this year. Be sure to check out our What’s New series for additional blogs and videos on all the new features included in SOLIDWORKS 2018.