I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks

I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks

I'm a die-hard SolidWorks user & wish to import LDraw .dat models into SolidWorks.

I'm having some trouble. Here's what I've tried:

I downloaded LDraw & the entire part library.

I downloaded, purchased, & registered 3DWin from TB Software.

3DWin can convert .dat files to .igs or .stl, both of which can be read by SolidWorks.

When I perform these file conversions, however, the files either won't load into SolidWorks, load but with errors/warnings & come up empty, or import and have just a few curves but no solids and the curves don't even look like the completely correct part.

I know that I'm starting with good .dat files, because MLCad opens up the .dat files just fine.

Does anybody have experience with this conversion? Or, is there already a library of parts models that can be imported into SolidWorks?

Thank you very much,

PS--Here's a little more detail on some of the trials & tribulations, if some of you are familiar with the nitty gritty of this process.

1 - STL. After I have created an .STL file with 3DWin & I open the .STL file with SolidWorks, the file opens & is empty--there is no geometry. Tested this with 3001.dat & 3002.dat. When opening an .STL file generated from 1.dat, I get some thin geometry, but no solids, & it's incomplete.

2 - IGS. After I have created an .IGS file with 3DWin & I open the .IGS file with SolidWorks, I get one of the following errors:

a) "This file contains free curves/points which are not desired according to the import options. Do you wish to import them anyway? Yes/No" After I select "Yes", the file opens with a sort of a skeleton of imported curves, but no solid geometry, & the part looks incomplete. (I get these results with file 1.dat).

b) "Unable to read IGS file. File was truncated or contains invalid data. OK". I click "OK" & the box disappears & SolidWorks gives up on opening the file. (I get these results with files 3001.dat & 3002.

During my troubleshooting, I have tried parts 1.dat, 3001.dat, & 3002.dat. All of these open fine in MLCad, so I know that the source .DAT files are OK.
Re: I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks
Most LDraw files are modular code, referring to other files (with a type 1 line). The LDraw tools (e.g. MLCad) automatically process those lines and inline the sub-files and reusable primitives. Does your process take this into account?

Chris (LDraw Parts Library Admin)
Re: I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks
LDview export to stl works pretty well...
Re: I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks
@ Chris: Thanks. I'm afraid that you've lost me with your level of detail there. I was simply following the process described above: use 3DWin to import a .DAT & export a .IGS or .STL, & then import the file in SolidWorks. Are there perhaps options in either of those 2 steps that need setting properly?

@ Philippe: Thanks. I downloaded & installed LDView. With LDView, I pened up parts 3001.dat & 3003.dat, & saved each as an .STL file, & opened them in SolidWorks 2009. I get the following error with both: "A facet normal problem was found with one of the facets in the file. Please check the STL file. OK". When I click "OK", the file does load & looks somewhat normal, but there is no selectable geometry that I can use for making mates & such. That is, I cannot select faces & lines & vertecies to mate parts together into an assembly. I further experimented by exporting one of my SolidWorks work parts into .STL format & importing it back into SolidWorks. Indeed, that part exhibits the same behavior: no error, but the imported model is essentially unusable to me.

So, I guess that rules out .STL altogether & leads me to focus on .IGS (which 3DWin is supposed to be able to do [and in batches!], though I have yet to succeed), or other formats. Other formats that SolidWorks uses are listed below. I just saved off one of my work SolidWorks parts into every format it that SolidWorks would allow, & then I imported each file back into SolidWorks. The list below shows all the formats that import OK & allow for feature selection & use in assemblies & such. If I could conver the .DAT LDraw part files into any of these formats, I'd be all set!

ProE: .PRT
SolidWorks: .SLDPRT
Parasolid: .X_T
Parasolid Binary: .X_B

Thank you very much,
Re: I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks
Oy, why didn't I think of this before!?!?!

There's a SolidWorks-supported website where people upload models for public consumption.

I put in a search for "lego" & got 309 hits. This will go a long way towards meeting my needs!


Re: I want to put .dat files into SolidWorks
I have just finished writing translators for this. The topic can be found here

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