FreeCAD and Mesh Import

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After import the model is (for FreeCAD), just an assembly of faces. You might want to convert the model into a shape FreeCAD can recognize and that could be altered in FreeCAD.

To do this:

  1. Switch to the Workbench Part.svg Part Workbench
  2. Select the mesh, and go to the Part → Create shape from mesh or press the Part ShapeFromMesh.svg Part ShapeFromMesh button
  3. Click OK in the dialog
  4. Select the newly created shape
  5. Go to Part → Convert to solid
  6. Select the newly created solid
  7. Go to Part → Refine shape or press the Part RefineShape.svg Part RefineShape button

Note: The last step is not necessary, but it will clean the solid of most of its residual edges on planar and cylindrical surfaces.


"cannot convert because shape is not a shell"

Well, your shell seems to have errors, maybe it is not closed (has holes). Since the capabilities of the mesh workbench in FreeCAD are a little limited at the moment, you might want to try examining and repairing of your model with third-party software. After doing that, you may try importing and converting of your model again.

Third Party Programs

  • Meshlab
    • License: Open Source (GPL V2)
    • Runs on Windows 32/64 bit, Linux and Mac OS X
  • netFabb basic
    • License: Freeware
    • Runs on Windows XP/7/8, Linux and Mac OS X