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CAD translation is a modeling process that converts a CAD assembly into a SimMechanics™ model. The complete process contains two sequential steps:
CAD Export — The SimMechanics Link utility generates an import file. The file reflects assembly structure and contains part parameters.
CAD Import — SimMechanics interprets the import file and generates a new model. The model structure and part parameters mirror the original CAD assembly.
The complete CAD translation process requires the following software.
|Software||Notes||CAD Export||CAD Import|
|MATLAB®||Registration as computing server required||✓|
CAD export relies on the free utility SimMechanics Link. You can download the utility directly from the Mathworks website. See Install and Register SimMechanics Link Software. Following download and installation, registration of SimMechanics Link with a supported CAD platform adds the utility as an Add-In tool. You can now export a CAD assembly.
During CAD export, the SimMechanics Link utility generates one XML file and a set of STL files. The following table describes each file type.
|File Type||Quantity||Purpose||Required for Model Generation||Required for Model Visualization|
|XML||1 total||Provide structure and parameters of CAD assembly in SimMechanics format||✓|
|STL||1 per distinct CAD part||Provide 3-D surface geometry of CAD parts||✓|
The files contain the assembly structure and part parameters required to generate an equivalent SimMechanics model. Assembly structure includes assembly-subassembly dependencies, which translate into SimMechanics system-subsystem dependencies. Part parameters include reference frames, mass and inertia, color, and location of part STL files.
CAD Export Process
CAD import is the second and final step of CAD translation. During CAD import, SimMechanics interprets the XML import file and automatically generates the corresponding model. SimMechanics imports CAD parts as rigid bodies, and CAD constraints as joints. The set of STL files provide the 3-D surface geometry of each SimMechanics rigid body.
CAD Import Process
CAD Import does not require access to the original CAD assembly or associated CAD platform.
Access to the surface-geometry STL files is not required for simulation, but it is required for visualization. You can simulate an imported model that contains no STL files, but the Mechanics Explorer visualization utility cannot display a representation of the model.