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Quick technique on how to make CAD/STL files look better when importing into blender (Beginner)


Elliot Gascoigne writes:

Hello again everyone.

A shorter video this time just showing you a simple technique in making STL or CAD files look better in blender. I struggled for years in Maya 2016 as it was a big part of my job to render CAD files. But blender makes it so much easier to deal with these kinds of files!

About the Author

Elliot Gascoigne

I am a freelance 3D artist and game developer and die hard blender fan. I'm not an expert but in my spare time I do what I can for the community!


  1. Do yourself a favor and get the STEP importer plugin by Ambi:

    It costs only $9+, and if you work with STEP-files on a regular basis, that's nothing compared to the time you'll save. It's still an early version but already imports without many problems and at super clean quality! No more fiddling with normals, smoothing or edges.

  2. I import a few STLs that have come out of SolidWorks. In Blender, I keep this script saved in a Text window and always run it (Alt P) immediately after the import:

    import bpy

    #Select mesh first (will be if just imported)

    #Put object in edit mode:

    #Remove identical coplanar faces: #Deprecated!

    #Scale 0.001
    #Set scale as appropriate to get correct size in Blender
    bpy.ops.transform.resize(value=(0.001, 0.001, 0.001))

    #Remove doubles:

    #Tris to quads: (optional!)

    #Fix dodgy normals

    #Come out of edit mode = object mode):

    That fixes the basic issues with one key press. After that, it's Ctrl 2 to add a Subsurf, then set any hard edges to Mean Crease = 1, as you showed in your video.

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