Turning imported parts into solids


I have the Solidworks and STEP file importer extensions for Sketchup. I am uploading modestly complex parts created in Solidworks/Autodesk to Sketchup, and they seem to be getting uploaded as collection of surface splines, which generates a hollow “shell” with the same geometry of the part I created in Solidworks/Autodesk, however it is not recognized as a solid component by Sketchup. How do I change this, and have the uploaded parts be rendered as solids in Sketchup, and not as disconnected surface splines?



All edges and faces must be in the same context. My experience with import STEP files is that they come in as a collection of components. All those components would need to be exploded so the geometry is all in a single context. Then make a group or component of all of the geometry included. In order for the component or group to be considered solid, every edge must be shared by exactly two faces. So no stray edge segments (loose edges, edges sticking out), no holes in surfaces, and no internal faces. Also, you should make sure face orientation on all faces is correct. That is, front faces out.

The fact that a 3D form is hollow in SketchUp is not an issue. It’s only the surfaces that matter.



Every single component needs to be exploded for the part? Can I explode in Sketchup or do I have to switch from SU-LO-SU



Yes. You’d need to explode all of the components that contain the geometry that makes up the part. This is done in SketchUp and you should have it done before you go to LayOut. In fact you should have scenes set up in the SketchUp file for all of the views of the views of the model that you intend to show in LayOut.

This makes me think you don’t have a real clear understanding of how SketchUp and LayOut work together. Is that possible?



I’ve been using this specific software package for less than 2 months so that’s very possible. Whats the sequence of commands in SO that I do to make the collection of components become a solid?



Start by selecting all of the components, right click on them and choose Explode. Be patient. If there’s a lot of geometry, it could take some time for all of the components to be exploded. Look for any remaining bounding boxes after the explode operation. If there are any, that would imply that there were nested components. Run explode again.

Once the explode operation is completed, you can select all of the geometry, hit G and create a component. Check to see if it reports as solid in Entity Info.

You can run Solid Inspector 2 from the Extension Warehouse to identify what may need attention if it isn’t reported as solid.

I would also run Thom Thom’s CleanUp 3 (again, in the Extension Warehouse) to get rid of excess geometry. There’s frequently coplanar edges in these sorts of files and they won’t be needed. Softening edges will help to make the part look nicer, too.

If you were to share the SKP file, it would be easier to give you more exact instruction. If you can’t share it publicly you could send it via a private message. If it’s too large to upload here, you could upload to Drop Box and share the link.



ThomThoms plugins ‘CleanUp³’ and ‘Solid Inspector²’ as well as TIGs ‘Solid Solver’ can be helpful in this context.