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TLDR - How to import a Solidworks assembly into Blender whilst keeping all objects and hierarchy intact

Afternoon Blenderers! Im working on animating a solidworks assembly and eventually developing an AR scene with the model but I'm struggling to get my Solidworks assembly into Blender with the same design tree / Hierarchy and hoping some of you pro's would be able to point me in the right direction.

The process that has got me the furthest so far is to open my Solidworks assembly file in Visualize (Solidworks' rendering software) then exporting as an .FBX to import into Blender...

My issue is, in Visualize, I have the option to 'flatten' or 'retain' the structure but both ways leave something important out...

If I choose structured, when imported into Blender, I have the right design structure and grouping however all of the solid objects are faces alone and need to be manually joined.. which could take days as my model has lots of little parts like screws.

If i choose flatten, all parts come over as their own objects which is brilliant for the animation side but I lose the file structure completely (which I expected) but there is no easy way to restructure without manually grouping the parts I need in each sub-assembly.

enter image description here

If I were just rendering a still image, then the flatten process would work fine for me, however I want to animate and eventually go into developing an AR scene. Do I just bite the bullet and start manually grouping and making the structure within Blender?

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2 Answers 2

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Keep the file structure. Then take one object and add a weld modifier and see if that doesn't do the trick. If that works for you then select all objects with the one with the weld modifier last and go into the object menu and link modifiers. That will put a weld modifier on every one of the objects. Next with all of them selected you can again go to the objects menu and under apply choose visual transform to mesh and it should apply all of the weld modifiers and now you have objects that have faces that are all welded together and share vertices.

I think you can also right click on the objects once they are all selected and say convert to mesh and keep the alt key held down as you press that menu item and they will all be converted as well.

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When importing to visualize, try selecting layer/appearance. It retains structure and parts are still one file.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi, thanks for the post. This site is not a regular forum, answers should be substantial and thoroughly explain the solution and required workflow. One liners and short tips rarely make for a good answer. If you can edit your post and provide some more details about the procedure and why it works feel free to restore it, otherwise it may be deleted or converted into a comment. Perhaps add a few images illustrating the workflow and final results. See How do I write a good answer? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 22:10

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