Creating a Surface From Mesh Feature

The Surface From Mesh tool lets you manipulate a mesh object that you imported from an *.stl, *.obj, *.off, *.ply, *.ply2 or *.3MF file to create surfaces and solids.

The Surface From Mesh tool works best on mesh files with regular prismatic geometry such as planes, cylinders, cones, and spheres. The tool may not be appropriate for highly irregular meshes such as those created from a 3D scan of an organic shape. Because the feature only creates surfaces, the recommended workflow is to trim the surfaces to form a solid.

To create a surface from mesh feature:

  1. In Tools > Options > Import, under File Format, select STL/OBJ/OFF/PLY/PLY2 and click Import as Graphics Body. Then click OK.
  2. Open a file of the format you just selected.

  3. Click Insert > Surface > Surface From Mesh .
  4. Under Facets, do the following:
    1. Clear Dynamic Help if you do not want to display detailed help.
    2. For surface type, select the type of surface you want to create. You can select either a Planar , Spherical , Cylindrical, or Conical surface.
    3. In the graphics area, select a group of facets to define the area of the surface you want to create by using the Paint Select tool.
      1. Access the tool by right-clicking Selection Tools in the graphics area and clicking Paint Select Facets.
      2. Press the left mouse button and hold while you drag the pointer and select the facets. The facets that intersect with the Selection Circle are highlighted.
      3. Adjust the radius of the Selection Circle by moving the slider or clicking the Up or Down arrow.
      4. To deselect facets, click ALT + left mouse button and drag the pointer over the facets you want to remove.
      5. Click .

  5. Adjust the Facet tolerance slider to include fewer mesh facets in the surface you are creating.
    Moving the slider left loosens the tolerance for the facets, while moving the slider right tightens the tolerance. For example, if you are attempting to create a plane, and there are three facets, one of which is at a slight angle to the other two, then a loose tolerance will include the angled facet in the plane, while a tight tolerance will exclude it.
  6. Use the Extend surface size, setting to specify the extension distance of the surface body that fits the selected facets and geometric shape.
  7. In the PropertyManager, click Calculate.

    A preview of the surface body displays in the graphics area.

  8. Click .

    The Surface-From-Mesh feature is added to the FeatureManager design tree.

You can continue to trim and knit the surfaces together to form a model.