FreeCAD and Mesh Import

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Operations after Import

After import the model is (for FreeCAD) just an assembly of faces. You might want to convert the model into a shape FreeCAD can recognize and that could be altered in FreeCAD.

To do this:

  • Switch to the Part workbench
  • Select the mesh, and go to the Part menu --> Create shape from mesh
  • Click OK to the dialog
  • Select the newly created shape
  • Go to Part --> Convert to solid
  • Select the newly created solid
  • Go to Part --> Refine shape

The last step is not necessary, but it will clean the solid of most of its residual edges on planar and cylindrical surfaces.

I get the error message "cannot convert because shape is not a shell" ! What now ?

Well, your shell seems to have errors, maybe it is not closed (has holes). Since the capabilities of the mesh workbench in FreeCAD are a little limited at the moment, you might want to try examining and repairing of your model with third-party software. After doing that, you may try importing and converting of your model again.

Which programs can I use for examining/repairing of my mesh model ?

  • Meshlab
    • License: Open Source (GPL V2)
    • Runs on Windows 32/64 bit, Linux and Mac OS X
  • netFabb basic
    • License: Freeware
    • Runs on Windows XP/7/8, Linux and Mac OS X