How to Import 3MF Files from SOLIDWORKS Into GrabCAD Print

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GrabCAD Print’s latest update allows 3MF to be imported from industry standard CAD tools like SOLIDWORKS. In this tutorial we will review how to create a 3MF file in SOLIDWORKS , and enable GrabCAD Print to allow for 3MF imports.

This tutorial is applicable to GrabCAD Print version 1.40 and above.

  1. Step 1: Overview

    In this tutorial we will review:


    • Why 3MF is better than regular STLs
    • Why 3MF is better than OBJs, and VRMLs
    • How to enable GrabCAD Print to allow for 3MF imports
    • How to create a 3MF file in SOLIDWORKS


    This tutorial is applicable to GrabCAD Print version 1.40 and above.



  2. Step 2: Why 3MF is better than STLs

    STLs are widely used files that are able to translate the surface geometry of a 3D object to data that is usable by a 3D printer. STLs however do not save other aspects like color, texture, specific faces, transparency, material selection, volume, density, and the list goes on.


    3MF in contrast is able to retain all of the specific details of a part mentioned above and is saved as a clean and compact file format that has all data within a single archive.


  3. Step 3: Why 3MF is better than OBJ and VRML

    3MF is a valuable XML-based data format because it delivers a complete package of model information in a single archive, including, data on textures, materials, colors, and mesh.

    OBJ and VRML make it rather difficult to properly apply multiple textures to a part and have that information transfer correctly when printing. These older file types also do not take into consideration built-in support structures if they have been added to a part.


  4. Step 4: How to enable GrabCAD Print to allow for 3MF imports

    All you need to do is to go to file and click on preferences. From there move click on  the GrabCAD Labs and click on the enable 3MF button and you are now able to import 3MF files.

  5. Step 5: How to create a 3MF file in SOLIDWORKS


    You can create any part you wish in SOLIDWORKS, what matters however is how you save your created part. In this case simply go to file, click on save as, then scroll to select 3D Manufacturing Format (*.3mf).



    Once that has been done before actually clicking the save button, click on the option button that is below “description”.



    From there you will be taken to system options for STL/3MF/AMF. If 3MF hasn't already been selected for the file format please do so. Once there be sure to click on the check boxes for Showing 3MF info, Preview before saving file, include material, and include appearances.



    If you do not, you will not be truly exporting all the important information that you put into your part in the first place! 

  6. Step 6: Bring it into GrabCAD Print

    All that is left now is adding your new 3MF model into GrabCAD print like any other part!



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