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Best format for exporting to other CAD apps?

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Hi, All,

I'm creating 3D models of furniture to be placed on my website to be downloaded by designers for use in their modeling. Needless to say, there are lots of different CAD packages being used out there. I'm trying to keep the geometry simple.

My question is how should I convert the VW models so that they will export cleanly? Making them 3D NURBS seemed to work well when I exported them as DWG/DFX and 3D Studio Max formats. Or should I leave the models in their VW formats and just export them? I have some exotic shapes created using subdivisions, sweeps, extrude-along-paths, etc. I'm not sure if I leave them all as they are that they will export into something useful for someone using AutoCAD or one of the other dozen or so modeling applications out there. I hope this makes sense and someone can give me some tips on 1.) how to prepare a VW model for export and 2.) the best format in which to export it when the end-user software is unknown.

Thanks for any help!

Mike Brown

VW 2020, MacBook Pro, OS10.15.1 (Catalina)

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I don't know that there is really a good solution for this.


When I did this for a customer (about a decade ago), He wanted to export his highly detailed cad models. Until I pointed out that the end users really didn't need and he didn't want to give out all of the internal dimensions and tolerances. All they needed was an external model.


I think we ended up converting to just enough Generic Solids to allow the different textures required. We then exported STEP and IGES versions. There are probably better export formats now. But when I am importing 3D, these are usually the two I fall back on for engineering parts.


There probably is no one best export format and offering different formats is probably your best option.

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@MHBrown if considering export formats, I suggest you include .3DM  (Rhino) as one of them as this is a very stable, efficient, fully-developed NURBS modeler. Rhino is cross-platform although I've not tried the Mac version as some of the 3rd party stuff is NOT cross-platform.


You may also want to consider COLLADA as this exports to SketchUp as well as the old stand-by .dwg.



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Thanks for the tips. Does anyone have any advice on how to prepare the VW file before exporting? Should I convert it to something like NURBS solids or generic solids? I worry that some of the geometry won't be interpreted accurately when exported (such as Extrude Along Path or Solid Subtractions/Additions).



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