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Better STL to BRep Conversion in Fusion 360

458 ratings | 10157 views
There is a better way to import STL models into Fusion 360 than the "Mesh to BRep" tool. 1. Convert STL into OBJ with quads (using ReCap Photo) 2. Import OBJ with quads into Fusion 360 3. Disable design history (which is the only way to get Sculpt mode) 4. Sculpt → Utilities → Convert → Quad mesh to T-splines 5. Sculpt → Utilities → Convert → T-splines to BRep 6. Re-enable design history Switch Pro Controller Stand on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3030629 It looks like the original 3D scan of the controller is no longer available on Thingiverse for whatever reason. Here is the smoothed version exported as an OBJ file with quads, ready to be imported into Fusion 360: http://nicholas.piegdon.info/stuff/SwitchProController.obj MeshMixer site: http://www.meshmixer.com/ ReCap Photo site: https://www.autodesk.com/products/recap/overview
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Text Comments (76)
Cedar McKay (1 day ago)
I've watched a lot of "get your stl into fusion 360" videos, and this is head and shoulders above. Thanks! Nice design too.
Jesse Villanueva (11 days ago)
Excellent tutorial! I cant figure out how to use ReCap though, I can't manage to import the STL, can you point me in the right direction?
Jesse Villanueva (11 days ago)
@Nicholas Piegdon awesome! That's working for me. Now if only I could figure out why it is failing to export...
Nicholas Piegdon (11 days ago)
Make sure you download "ReCap Photo". It's a different app than just "ReCap".
WestEast3259585 (18 days ago)
i need more videos from you
Paul Baird (1 month ago)
Is this real time or did you edit out the processing time at the conversions?
Nicholas Piegdon (1 month ago)
Meshmixer is pretty fast, but I definitely cut most of the time from the ReCap Photo export. It took something like ten minutes with the application unresponsive the whole time.
s m (1 month ago)
Don't you think we could have the same results by using blender decimate modifier?
daftm0nk (2 months ago)
Well now I've watched all 3 of your vids...looking fourward to more!
CJH thirtyseven (2 months ago)
Awesome guide on working with stl's and nice design mate:)Thanks
Samdxz2000 (2 months ago)
Thanks! Subscribed.
daslolo (2 months ago)
WOW! so clean. And thanks for the concise tuto :)
Robert Evans (2 months ago)
yessssss! thanks! I had been creating beautiful quad meshes in 3dsmax only to have fusion decimate them into horrid triangulated trash. Now I know!
CO OCD (3 months ago)
Fantastic tutorial! One of the best I have ever found for Fusion 360, let alone the importing issues with polygons that stop me all the time with Fusion.
joseto martinez (4 months ago)
EXCELENT! THANKS A LOT!
Vacant Media (4 months ago)
well done thanks
pixelFiend (5 months ago)
Awesome. Well done, and thanks for the info, as well as showing the printed part afterward.
Dylan Mulder (5 months ago)
Fantastic video Nicholas :) hey how did you takr the video footage of the controllers rotating? Were the controllers on a turntable or was the camera on a circular dolly? It looked great.
Nicholas Piegdon (5 months ago)
Thanks! They were on a turn-table with a white vinyl backdrop and lots of lights. It was the first time I'd used it and the effect turned out better than I'd hoped!
Mahmoud (5 months ago)
you cant import .stl into recap
Nicholas Piegdon (5 months ago)
ReCap Photo. Not just ReCap.
adrian mysiuk (5 months ago)
After exporting as an obj quad I try to import it into fusion but it’s still a tri mesh?
Travis Tate (5 months ago)
Thanks for this stand
Will (5 months ago)
I'm having a problem trying to import my stl file into Recap. When I drag my stl file to import it, recap says "there are no valid files to import". How do you import your stl files into recap? Great video otherwise!!!
Nicholas Piegdon (5 months ago)
Are you sure you're trying to import into "ReCap Photo" and not just "Recap"? ReCap Photo has a "Load a model" button right on the dashboard screen that shows at startup.
Cameron Vessey (6 months ago)
BOSS!! Moves! your going places son!
HeyApos (6 months ago)
Hi Nicholas, thanks for your video. This is - would it work for me - a great solution. Unfortunately the ReCap photo export renders and renders. And never comes to an end. I also tried other software like Instant Meshes (http://igl.ethz.ch/projects/instant-meshes/), but these quads do not import into fusion360. I am kind of lost here. Cheers Axel
NoTimeForThatNow (6 months ago)
Is that export from recap photo supposed to take a long while? I saw you skipped over it in the video and it is going on 5 minutes for a 10000 face model on my modest pc. Edit: it did complete, thanks!
NoTimeForThatNow (6 months ago)
Nicholas Piegdon thanks again, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with your channel!
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
Yeah, like you mentioned in your edit, it can take a while! Even for simple models, several minutes wasn't uncommon.
Jaap Pieroen (6 months ago)
Such a great video. Learned a lot, and I really like how on point you where in the video. Perfect pacing. And I learned a ton. Best 6 minutes spent. I hope you plan on making more video's in the future.
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
Thanks! I've got a whole list of (maybe) interesting, (definitely) niche topics for future videos. This has just been a particularly hectic holiday season. New stuff soon, hopefully.
3D Printwiz (6 months ago)
What did you use to scan the controller? Very cool design by the way.
3D Printwiz (6 months ago)
@Nicholas Piegdon I wonder if photogrametry would do a better job, but so far the results I see on youtube does not get small features very well. I wonder if there are websites that have a very accurate scans of cars.
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
@3D Printwiz Yeah, I've found the same thing: by the time the scanner's resolution reaches something competent enough for small parts, you're already into a much higher price bracket than something like the Kinect. It feels like there might be an under-served gap in the market between those two price points for something with moderate resolution.
3D Printwiz (6 months ago)
@Nicholas Piegdon Thank you for your reply. The reason why I asked, is because I have always wanted to scan parts of my car to make accessories like door handle or side mirror covers. I tried to use kinect, but unfortunately, it does not get a clean 3d scan of small objects. I have been looking for a reasonably accurate and priced scanner but unfortunately there are no cheap scanner for small mechanical parts. Thank you for your tutorial though, at least now I know how to edit meshes on fusion 360.
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
It was a nice, high-quality 3D scan that was already on Thingiverse. But, when I went back to double-check the link so I could credit it in the video, it looked like the listing had been taken down. I haven't been able to track down the reason why or original author since. :/
Jacob Innabnit (6 months ago)
I'm not getting quads when exporting from ReCap Photo... yes, I selected OBJ (Quads) under the Export Advanced tab... also tried "Fusion 360 - OBJ (Quads) under the Quick Export tab still getting triangles but in a obj file extension.... any thoughts?
Jacob Innabnit (6 months ago)
@Nicholas Piegdon Thanks for the reply, it was a default setting in the Fusion 360 Preferences in Mesh settings to "Triangulate Mesh Polygons" I found that in an Autodesk help forum while searching for solutions after commenting here. I unchecked that and restarted the program and everything worked as you described. Thank you again and great tutorial, I've liked and subd'
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
Hmm, I've seen ReCap Photo report a failure to export as quads before, but in that case there wasn't an output file at all. How strange. Sorry, I don't have any advice! It might be worth contacting one (or both) of the support teams. When I had a question in the past, Fusion 360's support responded in 24 hours with a detailed workaround for my issue. It might be worth a shot.
Robin Putnam (6 months ago)
I must be stupid. You skipped over importing STLs in to ReCap, and for the life of me I can't figure out how to do it. It's not a supported file type. What am I missing. (besides a few brain cells)
Ramsay Hofmeister (4 months ago)
I had this problem, too. There are 2 separate programs: Recap Pro & Recap Photo. I didn't believe it, but it's true. Update that on Autodesk's site and then, yes, there is a load model right when you enter the program. I didn't even know I had the program on my computer initially. I'm using Windows 10 and typed "Recap Photo" into the Search box on the Task Bar, then it asked me if I wanted to update. I downloaded the update and then it put a new icon on my desktop with the Recap Pro. Hope this helps if you already haven't figured that all out.
Nicholas Piegdon (6 months ago)
Double-check that you're launching "ReCap Photo" (and not just ReCap). There should be a "Load a model" button right on the screen that pops open. That can open STL files.
mavigogun (7 months ago)
Soooooooooo goooooooooood.
Michael Jensen (7 months ago)
Instead of disabling design history, you can "Create" a "Base Feature". -- It temporarily disables the design history for a single feature that you can accept at the end, and it shows up as a single step in your timeline. :-)
Michael Jensen (7 months ago)
@Nicholas Piegdon huh, I didn't know that. Good to know!
Nicholas Piegdon (7 months ago)
The "Sculpt" workspace doesn't appear in the list unless design history is disabled. I just tried with a Base Feature and it wasn't there. :/ I agree that it's a pretty strange requirement. Intuitively it seems like Base Features should be 100% equivalent to a temporary history disable, but they don't appear to be.
Younes Aberkane (7 months ago)
amazing video thanks a lot :)
Jesse Lambert (7 months ago)
awesome video thanks
Stephen Boyd (8 months ago)
You don't actually explain how you get your stl file imported.
Stephen Boyd (8 months ago)
OK, you need Recap PHOTO and not Recap PRO
Robert Thresher (8 months ago)
Execellent! Thanks
Raymond Williams (8 months ago)
Nice!!!!! I needed this. Thanks!
Jocelyn Sicotte (9 months ago)
This is a stunning tutorial. You are a master at putting together informative videos. Wow. More, please!
fumifire (9 months ago)
Great suggestion and the tutorial. Thanks! I'll try it immediately.
Adam Shields (9 months ago)
Whether this will work for me or not, doesn't matter. Great video! I'm trying to make a stand for PS4 controllers! Xbox One controllers (and even my Switch Pro) were easy enough for me if I'm honest using calipers. The bizarre shape of the PS4 controller however means your video might actually help me get this done! If that happens, I tip my hat to you. If not, I give you a nod and a wink and thank you nonetheless. This will help someone for certain and here's to it being me!
William Tyler (10 months ago)
I tried this.... fusion converts it from quads back to triangles.... any thoughts?
Nicholas Piegdon (10 months ago)
You're looking for the Sculpt --> Utilities --> Convert menu. Double-check that the drop-down in the little tool window says "Quads to T-Spline" the first time and then "T-Spline to BRep" the second time.
Jonathan Odom (10 months ago)
Excellent work man. Keep it up!
Deb Ashman (10 months ago)
I think it is windows only :^(
Nicholas Piegdon (10 months ago)
Searching around a bit more, it looks like Blender (available for Mac & Linux, too) can do a conversion from triangles to quads. It does a lot of the work automatically, but there is a step afterward where you have to help finish converting any remaining triangles over to quads manually.
Sasha Srdic (10 months ago)
Absolutely fantastic job on the video and explanation! Much thanks!
Boba Fett (10 months ago)
Absolutely awesome vid! I’ve had this problem for so long and a solution has finally presented itself in a clear concise manner, thanks so much. Was wondering if you could clarify the part about ReCap, so you just download the free trial and it will let you keep using it even after 30 days?
Nicholas Piegdon (10 months ago)
Yep. There aren't any other steps besides saying "No" whenever they ask if you want to subscribe. The 30-day trial is technically for "ReCap Pro", but it's also the only way to download plain "ReCap", which is free to use and still has the export as "OBJ Quads" feature. It feels like an intentionally confusing scheme to try and trick people into subscribing when they don't actually need to.
S855205D (10 months ago)
great video, already subscribed
Joel Bernstein (10 months ago)
Am I wrong to be a little annoyed that Autodesk already has all of the code required to make the triangle mesh -> quad mesh -> t-spline -> brep conversion a one-click process but instead they spread it out over two apps and three dialogs? I guess I'm not paying them any money, but a lot of people are, and if I was one of those people I would be legit mad.
Peter Condescending (4 months ago)
Each software is made by a different studio... They could implement it (Pretty please), but it might be inner politics
Nicholas Piegdon (10 months ago)
I was thinking the same thing. To be fair: each one of those steps can run into its own problems. I was trying the same process on a different model earlier today and ran into some trouble on the T-spline to BRep step (where a couple points were too sharp?) and it needed some manual intervention. That doesn't give them a free pass though. They could combine all of those error detection steps into the same single-click, too!
Tarek Knanneh (10 months ago)
This video is amazing! i just subscribed if the content will be this competent, that was awesome!
Whoa!!! You did a VERY, VERY good job explaining the solution to something I've tried to deal with for a long time. Congratulations! Awesome video, and overall channel content!!! I definitely subbed/belled your channel.
Bialas (10 months ago)
Brilliant tutorial mate, I've got ReCap installed but haven't used it yet, still I've installed it to check out the picture to 3d model feature. Now I know that this program can be used to something extra than my first purpose.
Wolfgang Schadow (10 months ago)
Very well done, learned a lot of new stuff in these 6min :)
great video, thanks for sharing
Allan Elkaim (10 months ago)
Amazing video ! Thank you so much !
Blake Haas (10 months ago)
Excellent video. I wish there were more object scanned to make doing things like this much easier!
Elizabeth Green (10 months ago)
This is beautiful and has now changed my life... THANK YOU for this! Never thought to use ReCap

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