3D Printing Industry

How To Prep and Upload a 3D Model with SolidWorks for 3D Printing with Shapeways

Here is the first in our series of 3D Printing tutorials we will be posting over the coming weeks, the first of which entitled How To Prep and Upload a 3D Model with SolidWorks for 3D Printing with Shapeways has been posted by Rohit Mitra of SolidWize.

For more tutorials on design for 3D Printing take a look at our Tutorials Pages on Shapeways, but for now, lets take a look at SolidWorks with SolidWize…

Here we’ll show how to prepare and upload a model to Shapeways using SolidWorks. Keep in mind that models should be exported as either STL files or VRML files (if using full color). Our final uploads can be found on the SolidWize Shapeways page. 

Create Your Model

For those of you who are relatively new to SolidWorks, check out the video below to follow along with my thought process in creating a simple bone wrench. This assumes a basic working knowledge of the SolidWorks toolset, and I’ll move through the process fairly quickly. 

You’ll want to keep in mind that SolidWorks exports only solid bodies to STL files, whereas anything visible is exported to VRML (full color). When working with small features or thin walls make sure to adhere to the limitations of the material that you want to print in. The material options page lists the parameter guidelines you

Upload Your Model

Once you have your model prepped, there are a couple methods you can use when uploading to Shapeways. In cases where full color isn’t necessary, you’ll be uploading an STL file. This can be done manually by simply saving a project as an STL and then uploading the file to Shapeways. Alternatively, you can use the Shapeways Add-In. With either of these options, you need to set the resolution first before saving the file out. The resolution can be found under “options” from the save-as dialog box.  For full color parts, you’ll need to save the file out as a VRML file and then upload directly to Shapeways. In the save-as options for VRML, the output format needs to be set to VRML 97 or the upload will fail. The resolution for VRML files can be set by changing the image quality (tools>options>document properties>image quality).  

Thanks again to Rohit for submitting this 3D Modeling for 3D Printing tutorial, we will try and get one out every week to help everyone how to make the most of their designs.

About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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