Introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2017, 3D Interconnect is a great tool for working with non-SOLIDWORKS third-party CAD files* directly within the SOLIDWORKS program. Using 3D Interconnect, we are able to import proprietary CAD files directly into SOLIDWORKS without converting them to SOLIDWORKS files, while also maintaining a fully associative link to the original file.Let’s a take a look at how we can use 3D Interconnect to help speed up our workflow while working with third-party native CAD files.
*All of the formats listed below are supported by 3D Interconnect.
CATIA® V5-SOLIDWORKS Translator is available with a SOLIDWORKS Premium license.
To enable 3D Interconnect, we will go to Tools>Options>System Options>Import>Enable 3D Interconnect. In SOLIDWORKS 2020, 3D Interconnect is enabled by default.
Now that we have 3D Interconnect enabled, we can simply drag and drop non-SOLIDWORKS CAD files directly into SOLIDWORKS. It’s that simple!
Note: Drag & drop functionality is new to SOLIDWORKS 2020. Prior to 2020, Insert Components or Open can be used to import files.
Now that we have our part imported, we can see that the icons in our Feature Tree look slightly different. Rather than our normal Assembly and Part icons, we now have a small arrow indicating that our imported part is linked back the original file. Any changes made to the original file will be updated within our assembly… fully associative!
3D Interconnect makes quick work of importing and utilizing third-party CAD files. The next time you find yourself collaborating with a colleague, customer, or vendor that is not utilizing SOLIDWORKS, try enabling 3D Interconnect and find out how easy it is to use!
As always, if you have any additional questions with 3D Interconnect or any other question with your SOLIDWORKS workflows, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Alignex Blog for a follow up on 3D Interconnect options and how to create native SOLIDWORKS files.
Written by Kris Lind
Kris Lind is an Application Engineer at Alignex, Inc. Kris spends his days assisting customers on the Alignex Help Desk and teaching SOLIDWORKS courses. In his spare time, you can find him at the local record store looking thru the used records bins, or outside enjoying a nice hike with his dog.