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Printing .stl files exported from SolidWorks

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Hello Ultimaker Forum,


I am trying to print models designed by a collaborator who is working with SolidWorks.  The model has multiple parts.  The parts have been exported from SolidWorks as .stl files and sent to me as email attachments.  I am using Cura v. 15.04 create gcodes from the .stl files.  The imported .stl files appear to be fine when viewed in Cura, but when I print, approximately 1/2 of the parts are missing surfaces.  Has anyone had this experience, and if so, is there a work-around?


Many thanks in advance


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I print many parts that start in SW2012 and newer.  There are quality settings when the model is exported as an STL that can affect the quality.  Maybe try turning up the resolution in the output settings.  I have never had an issue with missing surfaces coming out of SW

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Hi mastory,


Thanks so much for the feedback.


I'm attaching a screen shot and a photo.  The screenshot shows the model as it appears upon importing the stl into Cura.

The photo is the actual print.  Surfaces seem to be missing; only the fill is present.  I'm afraid I don't anything about SW.  I have published the dilemma to a SolidWorks forum, but so far haven't solved the problem.  I think my collaborator may be creating the problem prints as inner and outer surfaces, which is subsequently combined, but I don't quote me on that.  As said, some prints come out fine.   A tech at a local 3d printer business suggested trying a Cura plug-in for SW.  We haven't tried that option.  Any thoughts would be much appreciated.



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Having used SW for the past 4 1/2 years I have never once had a problem with it generating models for 3D printing - Lol that is why I keep telling myself it was worth the five grand!

This could be an optical illusion but your printed part sure looks thicker than the  Cura display. I wonder if the model walls are too thin. Best to check with your SW guy - ideally you want them to be at least twice the width of you nozzle. Set Cura to x-ray view - any red colouring displayed will indicate errors in the mesh, which would surprise me coming from SW. I have no idea if this view would highlight thin walls but it is worth checking. What is the diameter of the circle approx. ? Also can you look in layer view and see if the walls, presumably two of them,look OK.

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OK, I can tell you that the file you provided is coming into Cura as a collection of single walls and not providing good sampling thickness. I am in Cura 3.2.1 And I looked at it in 3DS MAX. Since it is already imported as STL. I cannot verify anything about what is going on with the Master SW file which is why it would be good to have it to look at.

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For whatever reason the wall thicknesses of this model are too thin for a 0.4mm nozzle to print. You can see this if you switch from the solid view to the layers view.  If I switch to a 0.25mm nozzle in Cura 15.04 I can then see that all of the walls are being printed.

The problem lies not with Cura, or the printer, but the original design.  Either the wall thicknesses were not made thick enough in the original design, or the way the part has been modelled is as a collection of surfaces rather than a solid model, and some of those surfaces are not connected to produce a solid model.


I looked at this in Meshmixer and there were a couple of minor defects that it has repaired, but in Cura the surfaces will only print with a 0.25mm nozzle setting.  So I suspect this is a problem with the wall thickness of the model

Repaired File.stl

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