It’s easy to convert that old legacy data to SolidWorks!

A lot of cutomers don’t realise how quick the process of converting legacy files into SolidWorks format has become recently. By using the tools incorporated into SolidWorks such as Import Diagnostics, Feature Recognition, and Fully Define Sketch, Legacy files can be quickly converted into SolidWorks files.


The video at the end of this blog shows a .STEP file being opened and converted into a SolidWorks file with recognised features, fully defined sketches and a drawing sheet. All of this was done in less than three minutes by using the tools available within SolidWorks Professional and Premium.

The process starts by opening the file directly within SolidWorks. This instigates the Import Diagnostic tool that is part of the FeatureWorks Add-in available in SolidWorks Professional and Premium versions. In this case, the imported geometry had no issues, but Import Diagnostics would allow opportunity and help to repair faulty geometry.

Another function of the FeatureWorks Add-in is Feature Recognition. In the property manager for Feature recognition, the types of feature to look for in the part geometry can be defined. SolidWorks will then automatically associate features with the imported part geometry and create a Feature Manager Design tree containing the required Sketches and Features.



The Sketch geometry can now be edited and dimensions and relations automatically added by using the Fully Define Sketch available in the contextual menu shown when right-clicking the graphics area in the sketch.

Once all features and sketch geometry has been defined, the part can be quickly inserted into a drawing sheet. Inserting the model items into the drawing sheet will then pick up and insert all of the dimensions onto the drawing sheet as well.

Using this process a fully defined and editable SolidWorks part and associated drawing file were created without modifying any of the original geometry or sizes, creating an exact SolidWorks copy of the original file.



Duncan Crofts is an Applications Engineer & CSWE at TMS CAD Centre, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller in Scotland. He is a regular contributor to the TMS CAD Centre blog.

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TMS CADCentre is a SOLIDWORKS Reseller based in Scotland providing CAD Design Software, analysis software & product data management software. Founded in 1981, TMS CADCentre is the only UK SOLIDWORKS Reseller based and funded within Scotland and have been providing SOLIDWORKS software, training and support since 1996 when the product was first launched in the UK.