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AutoCAD 2004 3d model, need to export to STEP or IGES, need expert advice

Posted on 2004-09-05
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a 3d solid (with surfaces) model in AutoCAD 2004 (which I can barely turn on) and I need to export it to STEP format so I can open it with CATIA.  I tried it using the EXPORT - STEP and IGES options.  When the command-line interface askes for a setup file, I just hit enter and it went happily on and made a model.  When I open it some solids are missing.  I can't find any docs that mention this setup file.   Here's the step REPORT, at the end:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~CONVERSION SUMMARY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 OK = Transferred
 KO = Not transferred
 NS = Unsupported
 OUT = Out of size
 DEG = Degenerated
 INV = Invalid

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------
|  Entity Type          |  OK   |  KO  |  NS  |  OUT  |  DEG  |  INV  |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------
| ADVANCED_FACE               | 16614 |    1 |    0 |     0 |     0 |     2 |
| MANIFOLD_SOLID_BREP       |   164 |    0 |    0 |     0 |     6 |     0 |
| BREP_WITH_VOIDS              |     6 |    0 |    0 |     0 |     0 |     0 |
| LINE                                   |    23 |    0 |    0 |     0 |     0 |     0 |
| CIRCLE                                |     2 |    0 |    0 |     0 |     0 |     0 |
| CURVE_BOUNDED_SURFACE  |     0 |    0 |    6 |     0 |     0 |     0 |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------
|  Result                               | 16809 |    1 |    6 |     0 |     6 |     2 |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Also (this may be another clue) the first time I started AutoCAD opening this model I got some errors about missing 'enablers'.  Does this mean the creator of it used some 3rd party special modeling functions so the entire model won't open with std AutoCAD?

Here is the error:
The drawing you have opened or referenced contains
custom objects created by an unavailable ObjectARX
application. You do not need the original application
to display proxy representations of objects that were
saved in the drawing. However, many manufacturers,
including Autodesk, provide object enablers that also
allow you to edit these objects.

Visit the AutoCAD Object Enabler Assistant web
page to locate Autodesk object enablers or contact the
software publisher about object enablers for other
applications.

Note:  If your computer has internet access, verify that
Check Web for Live Enablers is selected in the Options
dialog box on the System tab to have AutoCAD
automatically search the Live Enabler website for the
appropriate object enabler.

Missing Application : AutoSurfServices
Total Number of Proxies : 7
Number of objects (no graphics) : 1
Number of entities with no graphics : 0
Number of entities with bounding box graphics : 0
Number of entities with real graphics metafile : 6

Missing Application : AutoSurfResolverServices
Total Number of Proxies : 1
Number of objects (no graphics) : 1
Number of entities with no graphics : 0
Number of entities with bounding box graphics : 0
Number of entities with real graphics metafile : 0

Missing Application : AdGrefServices
Total Number of Proxies : 1
Number of objects (no graphics) : 1
Number of entities with no graphics : 0
Number of entities with bounding box graphics : 0
Number of entities with real graphics metafile : 0

Missing Application : MApiSurfServices
Total Number of Proxies : 1
Number of objects (no graphics) : 1
Number of entities with no graphics : 0
Number of entities with bounding box graphics : 0
Number of entities with real graphics metafile : 0

Missing Application : MApiAdServices
Total Number of Proxies : 1
Number of objects (no graphics) : 1
Number of entities with no graphics : 0
Number of entities with bounding box graphics : 0
Number of entities with real graphics metafile : 0

I followed the software's suggestion and checked the option to automatically get enablers.  It downloaded something but I don't know if it really fixed anything.  I used the very old AutoCAD a long time ago for 3d, and I'm a very experienced 3d modeler in CATIA but I'm pretty helpless in this version of AutoCAD.  

IGES makes a huge model with horribly large numbers of very narrow surfaces.  I think STEP will be better because it keeps the solids.  The big remaining problem is that a chunk of the model is missing in STEP.  It loos pretty good otherwise.   My guess is it could be something to do with non-standard entities created in 3rd party software but I don't know.
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Question by:mark876543
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norrin_radd earned 500 total points
ID: 11990109
I'm not a 3d guru by any stretch but when I get errors like that it usually does mean its a 3rd party thing, I think you hit it on the head, so give yourself the points:)
 I didnt recognize any of those application names as being part of standard cad, but I am still using 2002. I would guess once you get those errors cleaned up that the model will have a better chance to convert. Did you try after you d.l. the enablers? If it still doesnt work you may have to get in contact with the creator(if you can) to see how they made it.
Its been my experience that dwgs that open with proxy errors are a royal pain, thats with normal 2d stuff, I cant imagine 3d.

good luck.
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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 11993338
I checked the option to automatically downloade required enablers.  It did download something.  It didn't seem to fix it at first, but the next day I was no longer getting the message about proxies.  I don't know if that meant it's really fixed, because the result with the conversions didn't change.  STEP looked lots cleaner than IGES or DXF, but some solids were not there.

Yes I'm going to pursue getting the creator to do the conversion but they may not be available anymore.  The customer furnishing the model hired some contractor to build it, some time ago.  Not sure why AutoCAD was chosen for modeling a small airplane.  Royal pain sums it up well.  Thanks
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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 11993360
Oh also, I know I have a scale / units problem with the conversion.  The log file from the step conversion says units = mm.  I am not sure what the units of the original AutoCAD model were supposed to be in, but reading the STEP model into CATIA, the solids check 1/25th of the size they should be.  The CATIA default I'm using is inches.  I'm not sure where things are getting shrunk.  It's off by the factor of inch-to-mm.

I'd really appreciate any AutoCAD guru that could point me to info on the STEP settings file.  When I do the STEP or IGES conversion, I get a command-line prompt for a setting file.  I can't find anything on this anywhere.
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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 12005779
I got it.  In AutoCAD you turn on the dialog-box interface by setting cmddia =1 and filedia =1.  Then it's easy to set the units during the STEP export.

The parts that were never solids would not come over in STEP, so I did those separately using IGES.  I think those may have been the proxy representations.  Norrin I'll give you the points for being the only one to answer :)
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:norrin_radd
ID: 12005926
hey thanks mark, but Im not worthy of those points. I've been out of pocket since sunday without access to my pc or I might have been better help. Its hard to remember all those variables.
Congrats on figuring that out.
thanks again.
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