6 Easy Steps to Convert a 2D to 3D Model Using SolidWorks

With the evolution in CAD tools, software and technology, we believe it was important for our audience to get insights in to the process of converting 2D CAD to a 3D Model on SOLIDWORKS.

Here’s a quick a run in 6 steps to assist you in better understanding the 2D to 3D Conversion:

Step # 1: Open the DXF/DWG File

Once we OPEN the file, the Import tool pops up. This tool gives us a few import options. Following is the image that you will see:

For the conversion from 2D to 3D, we want to choose the option “Import to a new part as: 2D sketch” and hit NEXT button.

Step # 2: Document Setting

The following screen will show you Document Settings. On this page we can choose all layers or just a few. Usually, we want to include all the layers so we can eliminate the extra ones. Otherwise, when we do not include a layer, we may accidentally leave a small line needed for the outline of our sketch.

This page also gives us the opportunity to add limitations and import dimensions if we want. Setting up dimensions is useful when determining how it was created, but it’s good to remember that the dimensions and constraints do not fully define the imported 2D draft.

Step # 3: Drawing Layer Mapping

Next is when you get the Drawing Layer Mapping options. On this page, we can choose other import options, such as; combine points closer to value, combine overlapping features, perform a correction plan, and/or set origin of drafts.

We personally recommend you to use the Merge points closer than .001 option, and the merge overlapping entities.  This will help eliminate a few potential contours that would otherwise need to be fixed.

Step # 4: Remove Entities

Then, on the same page, you can also remove entities by selecting entities in the preview area and clicking the Remove Entities button. This feature, though convenient, makes it difficult to see what you choose in a small preview window. In general, it is good to leave all the entities to the sketch and remove what you do not want once the sketch is created in the part-document. Once done, hit the finish button.

Step # 5: Front Sketch

The next step is to start defining our sketches, starting with what entities will be our Front Sketch. We shall define our Front Sketch by box selecting all the Front View Entities and clicking the Front Sketch button on the top of the 2D to 3D Toolbar.


Step # 6: Using 2D to 3D toolbar

Using the 2D to 3D tool bar, the sketch entities are now moved onto the Front Sketch Plane. Next is we align the Front Sketch to the Origin by selecting the point we want from the Front Sketch, then selecting the origin. Following that, align the Top Sketch to the Front sketch. Using the 2D to 3D toolbar to convert a sketch into an extrusion, the most important thing to remember is that you must select the sketch you want to convert to an extrusion FIRST.

When you click the Convert to Extrude button, Boss-Extrude Property Manager appears. No real dimensions can be launched other than the SOLIDWORKS user, but we have a practical reversal from “top”. In this way, we can select the upper sketch from the top as this sketch determines the thickness of the part.

The last thing to do before we process this command, is to make sure we have selected all the contours we want to extrude. Activate your “Contour Selection” dialog box and grab your necessary contours. Now that we have our thickness set using our up to vertex direction and we have selected all our contours, we can accept this command.

Next is that we convert the sketch to cut-out. Remember, we need to select the sketch we want to convert first, then hit the convert button.

Voila your part is officially converted from 2D to 3D!


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