Editing STL Mesh Files in SOLIDWORKS

   By on April 27, 2020

Have you ever needed to make a modification to an STL file but didn’t have the ability to directly edit the mesh? Using SOLIDWORKS 2020, you can now directly add or remove features just as you would on a solid body model. In this article, we go over how to remove the slot feature from a bracket model and re-export the file as a mesh STL.

Importing a Mesh STL File

Importing a mesh is easy in SOLIDWORKS. Just drag the mesh into the application window and you will see the mesh appear in the workspace. You’ll notice that you can hover over and select the faces, lines and vertices just as you would on a solid model. This will allow us to isolate faces and edges for a later modification.

Importing Mesh into SOLIDWORKS

Click to enlarge

Creating a Sketch Geometry and Modifying the Mesh

Using the vertices of the mesh, we can select a plane and create a sketch which will be used for our construction geometry. We can select individual vertices on the mesh to use as reference points for our slot feature. This allows us to sketch directly on the top of the model as a planar surface.

Sketch geometry in SOLIDWORKSClick to enlarge

Using the slot sketch feature, we’re going to create an extruded feature which we will use as a tool to patch the slot feature. Using the Up to Surface end condition for our extrude function, we can select a planar face on the back of the model as our end condition. Make sure the Merge Result box is checked, as that will merge our new tool with the original mesh.

creating extrude feature in SOLIDWORKSClick to enlarge

Checking and Exporting Mesh

Once our slot feature has been merged with the original mesh, we can check that the surface is planar by using the Zebra Stripes feature. Once we have confirmed the mesh has a planar surface, we can re-export the mesh STL for future use.

zebra Stripe feature in SOLIDWORKSClick to enlarge

>> Learn more about working with Zebra Stripes in SOLIDWORKS

At this point, the mesh can be imported into a 3D printer slicer program, like GrabCAD Print, to be fabricated.

Sliced mesh in GrabCAD PrintClick to enlarge

Check out our video to watch the full step by step process of editing mesh files in SOLIDWORKS.


Editing mesh files was one of our Application Engineers’ top 11 features in SOLIDWORKS 2020. Check out our full list and explore all of their favorite features in this latest software update.

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