Dec 12, 2011

An unexpected solution for 3D dwg files

One of the biggest problems in computing is data sharing, meaning how to share your data between different programs. Especially if you work with CAD you need to share your geometry with raster image processors (GIMP,Krita etc.), vector graphics applications (Inkscape,Karbon, etc), 3D graphics programs (Blender,Wings 3D etc) or FEA software (Salome,Elmer,Gmsh,  etc). Proprietary formats make data sharing extremely hard.

When you try to export your geometry from a dwg-based CAD application for 2D you have many reliable options: PDF, SVG, DXF JPG and PNG  are some of them.
But what happens if you want to export 3D geometry? You probably need  to export your data as a STEP, IGES, 3DS, Collada (.dae) or STL file. These formats are not supported from Linux dwg-based CAD applications. VariCAD and VariCAD viewer can export STEP, IGES and STL files but neither of them can read 3D DWG files.
DraftSight has an export option for STL files but it doesn't work. ARES CE has also a STL export option but ARES CE isn't free of charge and its trial version either is for 30-days time period or has the save,export and printing options disabled.
So how you can make your 3D geometry usable for Blender or Salome?
In order to achieve that you can use the unregistered version of ARES CE. Yes, I know that the STL export option is supposed to be disabled, but ARES CE ( I used the current 2011.6.1044 build) has not disabled this one (All the other export options are disabled). If you try to access the export command from the menu you get the message that you are using the unregistered version and this command is disabled.

Trying to access the export command from menu. The warning message appears.
But if you type exportstl in the command line it works!! You will be prompted to select your 3D geometry and to choose if you want a binary or ASCII STL file and after that the dialog box appears and let you save your STL file.

The exportstl command through the commandline works!

 The exported STL file in Blender.

UPDATE (22/12/2011): The command exportstl has been disabled in the new version 2011.8.1080 of ARES CE in demo  mode. So this solution will not work anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Can' t wait Bricscad V12 for Linux.
    Bricscad can export 3D geometry. Acis(*.sat)
    And, Use convert tool Cad exchanger. (
    to other 3D geometry.