Selecting Color in Solidworks and GrabCAD Print

When creating a model in a CAD program there are certain guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that you can successfully highlight the features that matter to you with different colors.
This tutorial teaches users how to edit their CAD files and set-up their printer trays in GrabCAD Print so they can access all of the color options available.

  1. Step 1: Open Your CAD file in Solidworks

    Let's start by looking at a CAD of the Stratasys printer. this CAD has not been prepared to be printed in multiple colors.

    Here is the result when we import the CAD to GrabCAD Print.

    As you can see, the model has only one color assigned as opposed to the variety of colors we selected in SolidWorks.

    Why is that?

    If we look at the feature manager tab in SolidWorks, we can see the model is composed of one solid body.

    That our mistake. Each solid body can only be one color.

    A model can have a body appearance, feature appearance, and surface appearance. However, in GrabCAD Print one color is assigned per distinct body.

    We can assign colors to faces and features in SolidWorks, but those will not be imported into GrabCAD Print, only the body color will be applied.

    If we right click on the surface of a feature and click on the Appearance menu we can see how colors have been assigned. Currently, the surface has a gray face and a black body color.

    However, surface colors are only superficially applied. If we look at a cross section of the model it's clear that the model's body color is actually black.

    To create a model with multiple colors we have to convert features into solid bodies so that each feature can have a distinct color. 

  2. Step 2: Separate Your Model into Solid Bodies

    Let's first remove all the color from our model.

    To apply colors to different parts of our model we have to separate our model into solid bodies and make sure the number of solid bodies matches the number of colors we want to apply.

    Anytime we create new surfaces using extrude, revolve, sweep, & etcetera we need to un-click Merge Result

    Remove the check mark

    Now this feature exists as a separate body and we can apply a different color to it.

    This step has to be repeated for any extrusions and surfaces if we want those features to be a different color.

    After we have finished preparing our model we can import the CAD into GrabCAD Print.

  3. Step 3: Open Your Model in GrabCAD Print

    Now if we open the model we now have 6 bodies and we can assign colors to each one.

    And check the assemble box.

    Now click on the Print Setting icon.

    You will notice the colors on the model look different from the colors in SolidWorks. This is because CAD software uses the RGB color model, but GrabCAD utilizes the CMYK color model for color printing.

    The printer has only 6 colors loaded up and we can click on Change Materials to view the six colors or change them.

  4. Step 4: Assigning Colors

    If you want to change the default color of a body, select the body and find the color closest to the color you would like in the color panel.

    Then change it to whatever color you would like.

    Here is another example with a 3D model of the state of New York

    If I select the part and go into settings. We can keep changing the color until we find one that we like.

    Thanks for reading!