R-20 - CAD Import.


Been playing around with the CAD importer and I have to say MAXON did an outstanding job on this.
I’ve used Polytrans the past few years which was ok but this is so much better. I can’t believe how fast it is either.

I was having a few issues with rounded geometry with the original detailing setting set to “Original” but once I changed this setting to High it was all good.
Even when set to high, the model came in with less geometry than polytrans. ( May have something to do with the fact I had no idea what any of the 1 million setting were in Polytrans )

The material preview looks nice too.

One happy animator : )


Yes It is a great new feature!


Is grabcad the reference to download test files? Any other tip to find good (and free) cad models to try this out?


That is a good place. My experience is that those assets are, in comparison, well defined. In the “real world” you can get a lot of CAD files with worse order and they could be troublesome.


just tried out a few rather complex cad models with loads of tricky curved surfaces and i have to say i am really impressed. by result and also speed.


grabcad.com and traceparts.com


Yes - congrats to Maxon on a good job. I opened in few sample STEP files yesterday with the default settings - very impressed. The import quality was good and I pulled in a one file around 500mb in less than 5 mins, another with 1,000 objects in under 3 mins.


Another one, https://www.3dcontentcentral.com, which comes built into Solidworks, but I believe is free to anyone. One benefit for 3D Content, is the wider variety of actual component parts from real vendors - for instance, if you need a Parker Directional Control Valve, you can access the Vendors model. One advantage for SW users is the direct insert into open file, otherwise all else should be equal.

McMaster Carr also offer CAD files, but not in one repository - files would be available at the actual part level. Thus, for above example, you would have to be looking at Parker Valve specifically - and AFIK, there is no general search for CAD files specifically - though you can search “valve Cad file” and narrow search somewhat.

The 2D pdf’s on McMaster are also quite detailed & useful, FWIW department.

Ive been using 3Dmoi to take models from SW to Cinema - as I found better polygon conversion than through Rhino. I am looking forward to testing R20’s import features. Ive also used Fusion360, but the workflow is somewhat tedious, and obj isn’t directly supported within the program, and must be downloaded from Autodesk online account (once export is available - its qued from Fusion).


this would be useful for grabcad models


Very impressed. Imported a TV model (stp file)in around two minutes, roughly four times faster than Moi. Pretty tidy hierarchy with instances and a decent looking mesh. None of the trimming issues Moi sometimes has and obviously a whole step of the process saved.


Here’s an interesting idea: Since C4D can now, apparently mesh CAD surfaces/solids properly and quickly, why not put a CAD modeling toolset directly into C4D next?

For example, if I were creating a complex, manufactured looking sci-fi robot character, I’d probably model it MOI or similar rather than with polygons in C4D.

But if C4D had NURBS/Solid CAD modeling similar to MOI, that would of course be rather attractive.


Btw, this is a cool CAD site as well:



Well ask Kent Barber from GameLogicDesign.

If I remember correctly, he tried to set up a kickstarter to license the best Nurbs library on the market for C4D.

I remember participating to the the pot, but there was clearly not enough people interested at that time…


There is a plugin here for R19 - maybe there will be an R20 update:



Perhaps my kickstarter was what kickstarted Maxon into working in this area. Unfortunately looking at the new SDK there is no way to get access to the actual NURBS data when imported, so it doesn’t really make any sense for a developer to write a set of nurbs modeling tools just yet. Also it does make for the next logical step for Maxon to actually add in NURBS Curve and NURBS Surface objects with full access to control points, weights, knots, trimmed surface etc… it’s probably all there internally, just needs to be exposed to the API for a dev to jump on it, or possibly they will do it themselves. Having full support in there would be beneficial for workflows with other Nemetsheck software also. It’s a really great start from Maxon and I can’t wait to see what they do next.


I don’t see a fully blown NURBS toolset as a natural part of C4D TBH, but I’d certainly be happy if Maxon added a few more ‘CAD style’ modelling features and tools., eg: Primitives with re-locatable axis positions. Primitives that can be draw ‘in location’ - which would also require development of the sanpping system to be less ‘axis centric’… etc. I think these sort of features would be of potential benefit to a wide range of users.


I’m importing my first client supplied files from SolidWorks and the parts (SLDPRT) seem to come in just fine, but the assembly (SLDASM) won’t import. That’s going to be a bit of a problem for this model.

Anyone else having this issue? Any clues on how to import SW Assemblies?




2D (SLDDRW) files are also not importing. And the parts that imported seem to have forgotten where they belong in the assembly, which makes sense since they are the parts and the assembly file won’t import.

Guess it’s time to crack open the MAXON website and help file.



Has anyone else tried importing SolidWorks Assemblies? The MAXON website doesn’t seem to state if SW imports are limited to parts alone or is assemblies should be included.

I’m just wondering if my issue is related to this model or is typical of what we can expect?

I do know the modeler (my client) is new to SolidWorks.



I thought I had seen SLDASM listed as an import format for R20 - but of course I now can’t find any reference to it.