Make a 123D Capture Into an Inventor Solid Model




Introduction: Make a 123D Capture Into an Inventor Solid Model

About: I'm doing my best to live little parts of many lives - part engineer, part architect, designer, cyclist, bread baker, furniture maker, and the other two halves are CNC machining specialist, teacher, and philo…

This tutorial is to take 123D captures (or other meshes) and convert them to editable solids in Inventor using the following workflow:

Autodesk 123D

Autodesk Meshmixer


Autodesk Mesh Enabler

Autodesk Inventor

Step 1: Take a 123D Capture

Grab Autodesk's 123D app to capture the geometry of whatever it is that you'd like to model. Use your phone to take photos and upload the model for your to download to your computer.

Step 2: Use Meshmixer to Refine Capture

Once you've got your capture downloaded, use Autodesk's Meshmixer to import the capture.

1) Refine the capture to include only the pieces you want to keep for your design.

2) Convert the part to a solid.

3) Play with the different edit commands to create exactly the geometry you want and make sure the dimensions of the piece are correct (size and units).

4) When the design is ready, reduce the mesh density down to somewhere around 15,000-25,000 facets, or less. This depends on your machine and versions of software, but play around to get the most detail possible with the lowest facet count. The next step recommends <5,000 facets, but more is possible.

*Optional: 4B) You can try to repair/heal your solid model directly in Meshmixer, but I had mixed results.**

5) Export from Meshmixer to an. STL file.

Step 3: Use Netfabb to Repair Your STL File

Go to the Netfabb website to download software that will allow you to repair any gaps in your model to create a solid that Inventor will be able to recognize without errors. You can skip this step if you feel confident in your heal/repair in Meshmixer. I recommend it anyways, it's easy.

1) Import .STL file

2) Select Repair>Automatic Repair.

3) Export .STL file.

Step 4: Download Mesh Enabler

Go to the subscription app page for Autodesk's Mesh Enabler, which allows you to convert a mesh to a solid base feature once your file is imported into Inventor. Just download the app and close Inventor. When you restart Inventor, it will be automatically embedded in the program.

Step 5: Import Into Inventor and Convert to Solid

Finally , the moment we've been waiting for...

1) Open Inventor and create a new part.

2) Import your .STL file.

3) Select the mesh and right click to select convert to base feature.

4) If your model turns a dark color and you see the yellow cube feature icon, you're done! Model away!

4B) If your model turns light grey, you probably have some gap in your mesh that you need to repair. Try Netfabb again, tweaking repair parameters.

4C) If conversion stalls or crashes Inventor, you probably need to reduce your facet count in Meshmixer.

Good luck!

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    6 years ago

    Nice tutorial. My model didn't take due to some gaps in the mesh.


    Reply 6 years ago

    If the gaps are large that probably going to be an issue - but Netfabb has been awesome for me to close smaller holes. Did you use their repair solution?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    How do you download it if you don't have a subscription?


    I've been wanted to do a 123D Capture of my car for a while now. I guess now is a good time to give it a shot!


    Awesome. Thanks for sharing this! I will see if I can convert the captures I've made into solids.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Cool, let me know what you find!