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SOLIDWORKS Elite Specialists

Opening Large STL Files

Thursday September 5, 2013 at 4:00pm
When importing large STL files in to SOLIDWORKS you may come across this error.
This is due to a polygon limit on the SOLIDWORKS STL import utility. Files with more than 20000 polygons cannot be imported as a surface or solid, and only a graphical body, not much use!
Thankfully we can import larger STLs in to SOLIDWORKS, albeit in a slightly different file format.
Meshlab ( is a free piece of software that allows the opening and editing of STL files, regardless on polygon numbers. This lets us view the STL file in all it's glory!
From there we can save the file out to a 3D dxf file, which has no such limitation on import in to SOLIDWORKS. Meaning we can turn any STL file in to a solid or surface body in SOLIDWORKS!

Stephen White
Applications Engineer

1 Comment

Pierre Maillot | January 21, 2014, 2:46pm
Hi Stephen, Which format are you using to save your file in MeshLab? .DXF? I tried to save it as a DXF file and import it with SOLIDWORKS as a 3Dcurves or models. For me this works only if the part has really few polygons. Thanks in advance! Pierre

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