From STEP to Solidworks - CAD File Formats Explained

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ONU 3DLite can convert and optimize a variety of native and neutral CAD file formats. Below is a list, along with any related best practices for getting the best possible results. Once processed using ONU 3DLite, use the resulting visuals in 3D Web, AR, VR and mobile experiences. Read The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web for more information on how to get your products online in 3D.

 

Note that only file types of .asm and .prt are supported in .zip archive format.

 

STEP

STEP is a neutral CAD format, usually used to share 3D models between users with different CAD systems. STEP stands for "Standard for the Exchange of Product model data". Officially known as ISO 10303, STEP is developed and maintained by the ISO technical committee TC 184.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .step or .stp
  • Supported Versions: AP203 and AP214
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB
  • Notes: When converting a STEP file, 2D graphics will not be converted with your 3D geometry.

IGES

IGES is another neutral CAD format, which stands for "Initial Graphics Exchange Specification". According to Wikipedia, it was originally an initiative of the United States Air Force Integrated Computer Aided Manufacturing (ICAM) project (1976-1984). IGES is an ASCII based file format.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .igs or .iges
  • Supported Versions: Up to and including 5.3
  • Maximum File Size: 250 MB

 

Parasolid

Parasolid was originally developed by Shape Data Unlimited, now owned by Siemens. Although a proprietary format, it is still a common format used for data exchange. A Parasolid file normally has the file extension .x_t, which is a standard text file. Another possible format is .x_b, which is in binary format.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .x_t
  • Supported Versions: v10 to v29
  • Maximum File Size: 250 MB

 

Siemens JT

JT is an ISO-standardized 3D data format, which stands for "Jupiter Tesselation". It is the current format used across all of Siemens PLM Software. JT is a "lightweight" format and commonly used for data interoperability between systems. According to Wikipedia, because it supports all major 3D CAD formats, a JT assembly can contain a mixture of any combination. Which has led to the term "multi-CAD".

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .jt
  • Supported Versions: Up to and including 10
  • Maximum File Size: 1 GB
  • Notes: Export option window should have “include precise geometry” selected

 

PTC ProE/Creo

The ProE/Creo file format uses the .asm and .prt file extensions. It is a proprietary format output by PTC's Creo CAD software. Creo was formerly known as Pro/Engineer, resulting in the ProE/Creo reference. The .asm extension represents an entire CAD assembly. The .prt extension represents individual parts within a larger assembly.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .asm or .prt
  • Supported Versions: Pro/E 2000i to Creo Parametric 4.0
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB
  • Notes: All .asm files with associated .prt files need to be zipped (.zip) together before upload. 

 

ACIS

ACIS is a file format produced by the ACIS 3D modeling kernel, developed by Spatial, part of Dassault Systems. Per Wikipedia, ACIS files have an open format allowing external applications, even those not based on ACIS, access to the ACIS geometric model. It supports two file extensions; Standard ACIS Text (SAT), and Standard ACIS Binary (SAB). SAT files are ASCII text files viewable with a simple text editor. While SAB files are not viewable with a text editor and are more compact.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .sat
  • Supported Versions: Up to and including R21
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB

 

Rhino

The Rhino file format is represented with the .3dm extension and is used by the Rhino3D CAD system. The 3DM format is part of the OpenNurbs Initiative. An open-source toolkit allowing developers to read and write the 3DM file format.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .3dm
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB

 

CATIA

The CATIA file format uses the .catproduct and .catpart file extensions. It is a proprietary format output by Dassault Systems' CATIA V5 CAD software suite. The .catproduct extension represents an entire CAD assembly. The .catpart extension represents individual parts within a larger assembly.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .catpart only
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB
  • Notes: To import full CATIA assemblies, please export them in STEP format. Alternatively, use this tutorial to convert the CATProduct to a CATPart.

 

SolidWorks

The SolidWorks file format uses the .sldasm and .sldprt file extensions. This proprietary format is output by Dassault Systems' SolidWorks CAD software. Similar to the CATIA format, the .sldasm represents a CAD assembly, with .sldprt representing an individual part. Per Wikipedia, SolidWorks files (previous to version 2015) use the Microsoft Structured Storage file format. Starting with SolidWorks 2015, third-party data stored in SolidWorks files cannot be externally read or written by standard structured storage.

 

ONU 3DLite Best Practices

  • File Extension: .sldprt
  • Maximum File Size: 500 MB
  • Notes: To import full Solidworks assemblies, please export them in Parasolid format.
    • Click File > Save As.
    • Set Save as type to Parasolid (*.x_t), then click Options.
    • Select from the following options:
      • Flatten assembly hierarchy (assemblies only) - Do not flatten
      • Output coordinate system - ONU 3DLite defaults to Y-Up

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