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My source models are from Creo (CAD application), and I have had fairly good success getting them into Blender as follows:

  1. Export from Creo in STEP format.

  2. Import into 3ds Max (30-day trial license).

  3. Export from 3ds Max as Open Collada using the plugin.

  4. Import into Blender.

However, my trial license for 3ds Max is ending soon, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good free tool that will convert STEP into something that Blender can import. Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ A quick google search returned this: $\endgroup$ – Rick Riggs Nov 28 '16 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but I've tried that. Creo isn't any good at exporting .obj format, even though it offers the option to do so. I've not found it usable, though I guess I could try again. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bennett Nov 28 '16 at 18:54
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I made very good experiences with 3DJuump (https://3djuump.com). It supports many CAD file formats (Step, Iges, CATIA, Inventor, NX, SolidWorks, ...) and can export to WRL, OBJ, DAE and FBX. There is a 10 day free trial. The following features make it a very good software in my view

  • The CAD hierarchy is exported to Blender if FBX is used as the export format
  • It comes with a built-in and very efficient simplification algorithm, that reduces polygon counts while maintaining good model quality
  • It exports colors
  • It works fast, reliably and with very large models. I use it at work every day.
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'm downloading it now. It looks like I can purchase days when I need it, not too expensive, even for my boss. :) $\endgroup$ – Dan Bennett Nov 28 '16 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ 3D Juump works very well! It doesn't accept Creo .asm files, but it takes STEP and converts to hierarchical FBX very well. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Dan Bennett Nov 28 '16 at 21:10
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I made good experiences with FreeCAD (0.16) both transforming to allow import into blender from step/iges data as also the other way around: exporting STLs from blender and then get them to be reshaped in FreeCAD and then exported as step or iges. FreeCAD is fast, acurate, open source and available for windows, linux and macOS

(sometimes there are holes to stitch and most of the times when transform from step or iges into STL there are a few mesh operations and repairs needed, which work very well in FreeCad too.)

FreeCAD also understands, imports and exports DAE.

here's a little walkthrough for Blenders STL -> STEP/ IGES: http://northernhope.blogspot.de/2013...h-freecad.html

(of course there are minor inadequaticies due to the transformation, but for me at least, these were always tolarable (below 0.1mm)) so at least for prototyping it proves to be suitable in both directions.

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  • $\begingroup$ Link is dead (says blog is removed)... $\endgroup$ – IsaacS Dec 10 '17 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ I posted the original question. I agree with your recommendation to use FreeCAD. I import STP into FreeCAD, and export as Wavefront OBJ, which Blender can import. Works well, though I have to play with the scale afterwards. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bennett Mar 26 '18 at 17:13

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