Import from Solidworks via Draftsight to Sketchup Pro

We are trying to get Solidworks files to Sketchup that can be used and don’t use up all the pc’s resources. To do this, we import to draftsight to convert file to .dwg. Then we import to sketchup. During that import process the size of the file grows 5-7 times the size from Draftsight. An example is a Solidworks file at 23,598kb. After import to Draftsight it becomes 20,382kb .dwg file. After this is imported to Sketchup it becomes 126,083kb .skp file. How can we get a file from Solidworks imported to Sketchup so the file size doesn’t grow so much. Even though we are above the pc recommendations and the Sketchup Check software confirms all is good with pc resources, we can’t use these large sketchup files - it takes forever to load and is just not usable.

The file size increase is due to the triangulation that occurs in order to get surfaces in SketchUp. I use OnShape to convert Solidworks files to .stl which I can then import into SketchUp. The exporter in OnShape allows you to set the .stl triangulation level and I find that medium usually is plenty. Then I set the .stl importer to merge coplanar faces but I find it helps to also run CleanUp3 after the import.

Thanks for the tips. I’ll try all that. Is OnShape and CleanUp3 free downloads are fee based?

OnShape is an online CAD software. It’s free for educational use but I don’t know about commercial use. I have access to it through the FIRST Robotics team I mentor.

CleanUp3 is an extension available through the Extension Warehouse. You can get it for free although the author calls it Cookieware. You could buy him a cookie (or beer) if you find it useful. Remember to also install TT_Lib from the Extension Warehouse. It contains common support files needed by many of the author’s extensions.

Where is the Export in OnShape? I signed up for the free trial (not Pro) but don’t see export anywhere. I can save the file, open the file but not export. So also can’t find the ability to set the triangulation level. Thanks for the help.

There are several places you can do it. I right click on the tab.

And in the Export options panel you can set the resolution.

Any idea why when I upload any Solidworks file (.sat) and then go to export as you indicated below, I don’t have the option to export as a .stl file? Only gives me Parasolid, Step, IGES, Collada, Rhino, GLTF, Solidworks?
Am I missing something? Seems like since I can’t save it as stl, then I also can’t select the resolution and that’s hanging up the ability to import it to sketchup.


No. I’m not sure why you are seeing that. Are you selecting the model in OnShape?

I’m not even sure I’m opening it all the way in Onshape. This is my browser after I upload a file then select it and say ‘open in new tab’. Missing something to actually open it?

I’m going to suggest you need to spend some time with the OnShape help files because I’m not sure what to tell you at this stage.

Can’t you get the .stp file from Solidworks?

Yes I got the .step file. Same thing. Doesn’t seem to open all the way using OnShape. Only opens to the same box as above with Update and Download. I can right click the tab in bottom and select export but as you saw I don’t get the .stl option. I’m thinking I’m missing a step to open the file all the way. It’s clearly not open as I can’t edit it, manipulate it nor even view it.

Well, I don’t know what is different unless maybe it’s a limitation of the trial period thing.

I clicked on Create and Import Files, selected the .step file and it was downloaded. You can see the file name starting with 9507…

Then I selected the file which displayed in the main window. I right clicked on the tab at the bottom and selected Export.
Screenshot - 6_3_2020 , 3_01_14 PM

Clicking Export I get the export window. And probably because I exported as .stl previously, it gives me that as the main choice.

I did same, Create, Import Files, Then Selected it, even tried to “open in new tab”. But it doesn’t open the file all the way. Guess I was correct - something wrong with the opening of the file - it’s not opening it all the way. i got a guy from OnShape asking if I had any questions so I fired off an email to him explaining my problem. I’ll see what he says tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

Good luck.

How big is the file you’re importing?

9mg to 60mg
I think I may have figured it out. Just now I was going to snip my web page that shows the pic’s of the files next to the name etc. And I noticed this line at the top of the page " Your Free subscription only allows public data. Try Onshape Professional to create, edit and share private data with your team". I bet I need to get a trial version of Pro in order to get the options you have and the ability to open the file and export it. I clicked a button to “Try Pro”. Says a member of the team will be in touch. I bet that’s it!!

1 Like

I would perhaps use Rhino as the middleman. It has a 90-day fully functional trial. I would convert the object into a mesh and use the quite good polyreducing function to make it more coarse prior to exporting to SketchUp.