Creating a Surface from Mesh Feature

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

The tool works best on mesh files with regular prismatic geometry such as planes, cylinders, cones, and spheres. It 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.

The following example imports an .stl file as a graphics body, and uses the Paint Select Facets tool to define specific facets.

To create a Surface From Mesh feature:

  1. Click Tools > Options > Import.
    1. For File Format, select STL/OBJ/OFF/PLY/PLY2.
    2. Clear all options under Mesh body options.
    3. Under Import as, click Graphics Body.
    4. Click OK.
  2. Click File > Open and browse to the mesh file.

  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. Right-click in the graphics area and click Selection Tools > Paint Select Facets.
    4. 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. You can adjust the radius of the Selection Circle by moving the slider or clicking the Up or Down arrow.

    5. To deselect facets, click Alt + left mouse button and drag the pointer over the facets you want to remove.
    6. 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, while moving it to the right tightens the tolerance. For example, if you 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 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 then continue to trim and knit surfaces to form a model.