Get your SolidWorks models on your iPhone with 3DVIA Mobile


If you haven't already downloaded it, our sister brand 3DVIA now has an iPhone app that you can use to add 3D objects to pictures you take on your iPhone. If you haven't seen it yet, here's an idea of what you can do with it.

Something you may not know is that you can use 3DVIA Mobile to get your SolidWorks models on your iPhone. And once you know how to do it, it's pretty simple. This could be a valuable tool for showing clients how a piece of equipment might look on a job site, or even just pulling up a model to show a coworker on the go.

So how do you do it? One of the nice folks at 3DVIA was nice enough to walk me through it, and he even provided screen shots. So here goes. Click on any image for a larger version.

1. The first thing you'll want to do is set up an account at If you already have one, you're golden. If not, go do it now, then come back.

2. Get your model to the point that you're happy with it in SolidWorks. Then, open the File menu and choose "Publish to 3DVIA." SW_3DVIA_1

3. You'll see a window asking you to log in to 3DVIA. Enter your credentials here. SW_3DVIA_2

4. You'll see a window asking you to provide a name for your model, as well as a few other things. You'll need to make a decision about image quality here. The final model will need to have fewer than 40,000 triangles, so if you have a complex model or something with a lot of surfaces, you may want to opt for low or medium. SW_3DVIA_3

5. Once your model has uploaded, head over to to see how it looks. Once you've logged in, your models will be listed on the welcome screen. SW_3DVIA_4

6. Click on the model you've uploaded to open it up. If you check out the box on the right, you can see how big the file is, and how many polygons (triangles) there are. Here are two examples of the same model saved at low and high quality. Note that the model saved on high has 44,956 triangles, and therefore cannot be used on the iPhone due to hardware limitations. In this case, you'd need to go with low or medium quality.SW_3DVIA_5 SW_3DVIA_6

7. Here's a closer look at the differences in quality between the low and high versions of the same model. Note that the curve is much smoother on the high version, but remember that the final model will display on the iPhone screen, which is much smaller, and where fine details may be lost. SW_3DVIA_7 SW_3DVIA_8

At this point, you're ready to pull your model up on the iPhone. Just open up 3DVIA Mobile, search for your model using the name you gave it, snap a pic (or open an existing one), and place the model where you want it. Voila! Your SolidWorks model on your iPhone!

Note: Publish to 3DVIA functionality is available in SolidWorks 2009 SP2 and later releases.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.