With each year the reverse engineering toolset in SOLIDWORKS expands and gets more powerful every time. Over the last few years, we have seen some amazing reverse engineering functionalities added to SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional and Premium. In this week’s Video Tech Tip, we share with you how you can take advantage of these reverse engineering tools.
The first thing you’ll notice with a modern SOLIDWORKS version (2018 or newer) is that you can now work with STL files! In the past STL files were graphics only, meaning you could not convert them into useable geometry. But now you can convert STL files to mesh bodies which are useable geometry. All modern installations of SOLIDWORKS include the tab for mesh modeling which is home to all the reverse engineering tools you might want to use.
Now that you have a mesh body, you can use your classic CAD modeling tools. But, in addition to the classic modeling tools, you can also use the new Slicing tool. This was one of our top enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2020. It is our new favorite way to reverse engineer components. You can create curves of a shape at the intersection between a plane and the body. The number of planes is defined, so you can add depending on the complexity of the shape.
Think of the slicing tool like automatic layering through the cross section of the model. This creates sketch geometries you can work with as aids in your reverse engineering efforts. With a modern version of SOLIDWORKS from at least 2018, you have a variety of tools that can help you reverse engineer a model. Check out the video to see these tools in action, especially, our favorite – the sketch slice tool found in SOLIDWORKS 2020.