With the latest release of SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP1, you may have experienced an error when importing your .SLDPRT file directly into GradCAD Print 1.25. While the developers of GrabCAD Print have committed to resolve this issue in their 1.27 release, in the meantime saving your SLDPRT file in the .STL (Surface Tessellated Language) file format will let you continue using GrabCAD Print for your 3D Printing needs.
Here is a brief reminder for converting your 3D drawing to the STL format to achieve the best 3D Printed resolution.
In the SOLIDWORKS menu begin with File, Save As and change the Save as type to STL from the pull-down menu. The resolution can be set with the Options button, highlighted below.
Think of these options as resolution or even accuracy settings since they will dictate how the model that is 3D printed will look. Here you will want to set the Output as radio button to Binary and select the Units. Even if the CAD design is drawn in mm you can select the Units to be in inches.
In SOLIDWORKS there are basically 3 Resolution choices; Coarse, Fine and Custom. Coarse will produce a highly faceted part with large triangles. A Fine setting will produce smaller triangles, but Custom will allow you to select the controls to achieve the best-looking 3D printed part. The Custom option will allow you to use the Deviation and Angle settings.
Deviation refers to the maximum distance that the triangle of the STL file is permitted to be away from the original CAD geometry. The angle setting refers to the angular divergence allowed between adjacent triangles. Lower numbers on these settings will result in smaller triangles with a closer interpolation of the CAD design.
Be aware, that you can get too low and significantly increase your processing time to generate a file as well as increase the file size. From personal experience, I have found the Custom setting with a deviation of .002 – .004 inches and an angle setting of 2- 5 degrees to be acceptable for most 3D printed parts.
Sr. Application Engineer, Additive Manufacturing
Computer Aided Technology, LLC