How to Export a CAD Part (STEP or Parasolid)


nTop Platform is capable of exporting Implicit or Mesh parts to STEP or Parasolid formats. This ability enables you to integrate nTop Platform’s robust geometry kernel into CAD workflows. Topology optimization workflows produce the most useful results, but the same process applies to more complex geometry. Keep in mind that exceedingly faceted geometry and periodic structures are challenging for traditional CAD programs.

Watch the video below for an in-depth look at the process of meshing, converting to a CAD Body, and bringing the part into a CAD program for further operations. 


The Process:

1. Convert the part you want to export to a Mesh

2. Convert the Mesh to a Quad Mesh by using the Quadrangulate Mesh block. The quad mesh allows for easier and faster conversion to a CAD Body format. A quad mesh is not just a step for converting, but also a very useful model itself. The mesh can be exported into other systems by using the Export Mesh block. 

Tip: If your mesh is taking a long time to process, try creating a Remesh Surface block first, or Simplify by Threshold, or Simplify by Amount, and then converting to a Quad Mesh.


Target count: is the target number of quads used to create the mesh. 
Adaptivity: adapts the target number of quads in favor of better capturing the curvature of the input mesh. You can input a range of 0 - 1, with 0 having no adaptivity and 1 having maximum adaptivity.
Sharp features: auto-detects and preserves sharp features in the input mesh.
Flow angle: is the minimum angle that defines a profile edge. This optional value identifies edges to preserve while meshing. 
Symmetry: allows an input of a Frame that would act as a plane of symmetry for the mesh. (This will make the quad mesh process faster if your part is symmetrical)

3. Optional: Use a Refine Mesh block to refine the Quad Mesh and capture further details and reduce the amount of rounding near sharp edges.


Refinement steps: are the amount the mesh is subdivided. The values entered can be from 1 - 5. 
Feature angle: is the minimum angle that defines a sharp edge to preserve.
Sharpness value: is the degree of Sharpness applied to an edge.

4. Convert the refined (or un-refined) Quad Mesh into a CAD Body using the CAD Body from Mesh block.


Refinement Level: adaptive refinement amount from 0-9 that improves the refinement in certain regions. 

5. Add an Export Part block and choose your save location and file type, either STEP or Parasolid. If you are exporting to Solidworks or Siemens NX, we recommend using the Parasolid format so that no translations are needed. 

Once your part is exported, you have the freedom to import into any program that accepts STEP or Parasolid inputs. The part can have further operations applied to it, added back to a larger assembly, and more. 


 Download the File

Example File


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