Import from .dae missing faces

I converted a .step to .dae using FreeCad and imported into Sketchup. It almost worked, but for some reason, some faces are missing:

Here’s a top view as viewed in FreeCad:

Are there Sketchup settings that could fixt this? Or, is it easy to edit in sketchup to get faces repaired? I think I just need the top and bottom of the raw pcb–it looks like all the components on the board are ok.

Here’s the sketchup model:
imported from dae.skp (4.4 MB)

Looks to me as if you are running into the tiny faces thing. Try enabling Merge Coplanar Faces in the import options. If you scale the thing up (say by 1000x) before exporting the .dae file it should come in large enough to avoid the tiny faces. The triangulation naturally inherent in the file type doesn’t help.

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Ah! Should have remembered about the tiny faces thing. I have enabled merge coplanar faces–I’ll have to figure out how to do the scaling in FreeCad. I haven’t learned how to use FreeCad (yet), I’m just using it as a way to get a .stp file (with colors) into Sketchup.

I’ll give it a try.


Good luck. Maybe report your results? Could help someone else.

Seems it’s not so easy to scale stuff in FreeCad.

What I found with a little surfing (I’m not a FreeCad user!) was that you have to make a clone of the object, then scale the clone.

That was easy enough, but when I made he clone, all the colors were lost.

I found some bug reports that seemed to be this issue. I registerd to the FreeCad forum so I could ask if this indeed a limitation of cloning and if that’s the only way to scale. But so far, I’ve not received the email from FreeCad that will get me registered.

It seemed like the only thing that wasn’t imported correctly was the raw pcb. So, I deleted that in FreeCad and exported everything else.

That imported into Sketchup without issue, and I then did the raw pcb in Sketchup.

It’s strange that the largest object in the FreeCad design was the ONLY one that had an issue, presumably from “tiny faces”. FWIW, I certainly don’t see those tiny faces on the pcb in FreeCad

The .dae file by design triangulates the faces so even the surface of the PCB gets divided up into smaller faces.

I also deleted everything BUT the pcb from the FreeCad design, cloned, scaled by 1000x, then imported into SU. No issue!

I then scaled it back down to actual size in sketchup.

Also, for some reason when I did the clone this time (of the pcb only) I didn’t loose colors. So, there’s more to the FreeCad issue than I understand, or maybe because I’m not skilled in FreeCad.

Sorry I can’t help you with FreeCAD. If you have to do this stuff more than once in awhile, it might be worth looking for a different process to get there. Why do you need to import it into SketchUp? What do you do with it after that?

FreeCad was just the means to get a .step file in Sketchup. Most vendors supply 3d models in .step format. Many provide models in .step but not sketchup models.

I use Sketchup for form and fit of pcbs in electronic enclosures to, animations of different views of 3d objects, drill down from human sized objects down to the electronic design. Works well except it doesn’t like small geometries. Not worth my time to get skilled at different 3d tool (at least so far).


Maybe you could export a 3D dxf file from FreeCAD? I have used OnShape for that transition from .step into SketchUp.

I did try that several days ago. It had its own set of issues, but now I don’t recall what they were. Maybe loosing colors, not sure.

I’m “good to go” for this time around. I do NOT do this very often (3d model), just a few times a year.

Thanks again

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I often use simlabs step importer extension which is paid but works well every time. However I actually don’t know if it preserves colors as everything I import is in default color to begin with.

Did that too. Lost colors, IIRC.

But I might buy it anyway. Pretty handy.

Copy that. I wondered if it did. I’ve fed it some massive .step files, 100’s of GB, and it sometimes chews on them for more than an hour but always comes through in the end like a champ. Good luck. I have also scrubbed through fusion 360, but that looses color info too.

Just tried the simlabs extension again to refresh my memory on what happened with it. It didn’t loose colors on imports that work, but seems like it just hung on a .step I wanted. The same .step that worked after going through the FreeCad --> dae process.

Trying it again on the same model I just did. It’s either hung or been working on the import two or three minutes in sketcup.

I used the Simlab importer to get this thing into SketchUp for designing some fixtures to support it during machining. It worked but it took a long time and it made every surface a component. No colors on it to worry about.

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Yeah, simlab does componentize every element of the .step which is good and bad, for me it’s handy for editing. I think it might contribute to it taking a long time to import. You can always bomb all if you want after import. Keep the faith, it appears to be doing nothing but as I said it has always come through for me in the end.

I used it several times last night, successfully. Colors imported fine, no need to prescale then scale back.

It does take a while. I think the issue I was experiencing (appearing to hang with nothing happening even overnight) may have been a simple thing. It appears that the pop up that has a slider for coarse to fine tessellation sometimes is behind other windows. So it’s sitting there waiting for me to click OK.

My desktop is usually quite cluttered, so it’s easy to loose the popup under other windows. I was cancelling sketchup when I though it was hung, but really I just needed to find the pop-up. At least, that’s my guess.

Such an easy thing to fix–just make sure the modal popup is on top of everything else.

I’m going to buy the extension.

The SketchUp performance is getting really slow. I’m wondering if it’s because of all the components that were created in the models imported by the SimLabs extension.

Is there a way to “flatten” everything in a top level component. Not explode to the top level of the model–I still want a component for each imported model, but (at least after editing), I don’t need the hierarchy underneath.

Would you expect that would significantly help SketchUp performance?

If the component has many, say more than 4-5,nesting levels, you may notice an improvement. Note that exploding subcomponents increases file size.

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