Importing Vendor STEP Files [Video]

Reducing Complexity to Optimize Performance

When working with large assemblies optimizing performance is always the goal. Sometimes files from outside your company can really bog down the speed and capability of your large assemblies. In a previous video, I went over how to work with downloaded SOLIDWORKS files from online vendors. In this follow up video I show some additional techniques to reduce the complexity of a model if all you have to work with are the imported solids such as STEP files. Always check to see if you can optimize your imported components before just inserting them into your large assemblies. Here are the steps shown in this video:

STEP 1: Evaluate the Model

  • Design Tree is filled with imported geometry symbols instead of features. We have to treat these as individual solids and the part as a multi-body solid as a whole.
  • Group together like elements into folders to clean up the design tree. Feel free to rename components and folders as needed.

STEP 2: Simplify

  • Create a new configuration where all changes can be saved and the original fully detailed model is kept safe.
  • Suppress any fully detailed components that are not needed for mates or show the general shape of the vendor component.
  • Go to the solid bodies folder and hide any solids that cannot be seen by the user. Hiding allows mates but suppressing would break mates.

STEP 3: External Surfaces Only

  • If the model is especially complex, consider grabbing just a visual representation of the model. The exterior surfaces can be saved into a separate part file by first bringing the part into an assembly file and re-saving it as a part file with only exterior surfaces.
  • Insert the part with only surfaces back into the original model and hide or suppress all the original geometry.

STEP 4: Evaluate the Model Again

  • Since optimization is the goal, use the tools inside of assemblies to check how hard your system has to work to display the models. Assembly Visualization with the performance analysis option shows a color map to display the differences and advantages.
  • The graphics triangles should be the lowest possible without sacrificing the rebuild time. You can have the fully detailed model in the background, but it should never be used all the time in large assemblies.

Good luck with optimizing your own imported STEP file, and give us a call if you have questions. Our talented Application Engineers are always ready to help our customers discover how More is Possible®.