Smithsonian Models

I came across the Smithsonian Website and saw they have 3D models of many things from their arcive. You're able to download all of the models in STL and Obj. formats.


As more and more of 3D data becomes available, I hope Siemens and Solid Edge management start doing something that will allow this Data/Format to be used within Sold Edge.  This is all being driven by AUTODESK.... To continue to ignore this ability within Solid Edge is plain silly.... we need more and BETTER import tools within Solid Edge sooner then later.

Here's a Blue Claw Crab imported into Solid Edge.... too bad that's all you can do with it.


Bob the CRAB



More stuff here:


And more about the program at the Smithsonian:



Re: Smithsonian Models

Literally, that's all you can can't even EXPORT that!

-Dylan Gondyke

Re: Smithsonian Models

In the interest of taking this positive, what would you like to be able to do with faceted data such as this?

Ken Grundey
Production: ST6 MP14
Testing: ST9 MP1

Re: Smithsonian Models

Ken, I used the crab as a joke about me... But there are plenty of objects that make more sense to have the ability to view within Solid Edge Designs/Assemblies. I do many varied projects with Solid Edge, so being able to place people and other "real world" objects into my Designs (assemblies) to prove ergonomics, scale, etc. with Furniture, Machines and Medical devices would be great for Presentations, etc. But also importing Scanned 3D data would also be a big benefit and a great tool. My point is that I believe that 3D CAD as we know it now is going to become overwhelmed by low cost alternatives.

Re: Smithsonian Models

[ Edited ]

Here is a personal project I just experimented with in Solid Edge. This is an Audi 01E transaxle STL that someone had scanned. The file was massive and unwieldy if used in an automotive assembly, and useless since there were no geometric surfaces to measure off of/check interference to, etc. So I have to make a solid model. If this was for work, I would have done this in Rhino, but I decided to experiment and see if I could do everything I needed in Solid Edge. 


The scan data was not square to anything, so the first step was to rotate and scale the body to get it centered and running true to the input shaft. The easiest way to normally do this would be to import the STL into a part file, save it, then start a new file and insert part copy and use the rotation options there, since there is no way to manipulate or move an STL within a part file once it is imported. cannot insert part copy that part file with the STL because guess is neither a design NOR a construction body! Sorry! Oh, and did I mention that importing an STL disables all options to make a protrusion or other body? So not only can you not 'trick' the insert part copy function, but any time you must work with an STL body in any way, you must do it through an assembly as a proxy!


So to use this data, I had to make an assembly, insert the part file with the STL into the assembly, and apply assembly offsets and rotations to the part file coordinate system (only thing I could interact with) to square it, THEN save and export this rotated assembly as a .jt file, then reimport it into a part file! Now I still have an STL that I cannot interact with or export out to other softwares in any meaningful way, but at least it's rotated the way I want.


From there, I began essentially drawing geometry over the STL silhouette. For this, it would have been really nice to create cut planes or somehow PMI section the STL body, so that I could work with one area at once and sketch over the top of it, without having the entire body visible in the background. However, once again, nothing can be done to STL's here...even something as basic as sectioning the model.


I hope you can see some of the valid uses for STL tools from this example. I know I could!


-Dylan Gondyke

Re: Smithsonian Models



There's a lot that you could wish for with this functionality.


  • make solid
  • measure
  • add features to
  • move mesh points (a la 3dsMax)
  • color
  • mate to parts in assembly
  • build reference planes from mesh
  • mesh control (thin out the mesh, smooth it)
  • lay a nurbs surface over it
  • create cross-section sketches
  • ...

Re: Smithsonian Models

Today I got in some semi-machined parts that we have to finish. We have an SE file of the finished part and an STL of the part current state. 'Great!' I think. 'I have CAMWorks now and I can easily use this STL as the machining stock!' Well, NOT SO FAST. The STL had an origin that didn't match up with the finished part. See where this is going yet? Since there is no way to manipulate an STL once imported......time to jump through hoops to line things up!


To make this work using only Solid Edge, I had to create a part copy of the finished part and move the coordinate system. More file clutter and more links- exactly the thing I wanted to avoid by using CAMWorks. Of course, I could have also moved the STL in Rhino and exported, then brought it back into SE...

I REALLY hope that tools to better handle STL's in Solid Edge are coming soon. I run my head into this STL wall more and more every day.

-Dylan Gondyke

Re: Smithsonian Models

In this topic you are talking about manipulate a polygon file and i agree with all that you said. We can't do anything from that.

But expandind a bit in cloud point formats, Solid Edge doesn't import file formats like ASC, PLY, OBJ, etc.. So, less solutions from here.

What about IGES? Sometimes you can get a IGES file of that cloud point, and Solid Edge import IGES files...

Well, not all!! SE doesn't import points at all! Neither points from IGES format. Why?

All the competition that i know open points at least in IGES format. And we can usem them (one benefit over STL).

A weird thing is that if i import that IGES file in a draft template, it opens "correctly", and i can see and use those points. But we need it on 3D environment not 2D!!

Re: Smithsonian Models

c'mon...let's be real here.Smiley Very Happy You want to be able to pull in polygon data and use it to work from. There is a reason that software like GeoMagic and others are so blasted expensive...not to mention how massive the file sizes become.


Yes, this is a HUGE wish know the saying, "You can wish in one hand, sh!t in the other. You tell me which one fills up first."



Re: Smithsonian Models

I would be happy with the VERY simple being able to move/rotate the imported data without playing shell file games.

-Dylan Gondyke