Mesh Files (*.stl, *.obj)

You can import mesh (*.stl, *.obj, *.off, *.ply, *.ply2), VRML (*.wrl), and 3D manufacturing format (*.3mf) files.


SOLIDWORKS imports mesh files as one of the following:
  • Graphics bodies
  • Mesh BREP bodies
  • Standard SOLIDWORKS BREP bodies, according to the import option you select when importing mesh files.

For more information, see Graphics Mesh and Mesh BREP Bodies.

If you select an import option as:
  • Solid Body or Surface Body without selecting Mesh body options, SOLIDWORKS imports the mesh file as a standard SOLIDWORKS BREP body with limitations:
    • The import replaces each facet by a face (performance slows with increased numbers of faces.)
    • The mesh file cannot have more than 500,000 facets.
  • Solid Body or Surface Body with Mesh body options selected, SOLIDWORKS imports the mesh file as a mesh BREP body.
  • Graphics Body, SOLIDWORKS imports the mesh file as a graphic body.

    In mesh BREP and graphics bodies, a warning indicates if the mesh file has more than 5,000,000 facets. The message is a warning and not an error because more powerful computers with faster processors and more memory may be able to import mesh files with more than 5,000,000 facets.

Recommendation: Graphics bodies import faster. In SOLIDWORKS, you can convert them to mesh BREP bodies, and therefore import mesh files as graphics bodies.


The STL translator exports SOLIDWORKS part and assembly documents as STL files. Click:
  • File > Export As to access STL export options and save the data in .stl format.
  • Print 3D (Standard toolbar) to print a prototype.
SOLIDWORKS assembly files that you export as *.stl files are imported into SOLIDWORKS as part documents.

You can assign a unit of measure to a model for import and export.