3D Tips

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®

Looking for a way to import or export STEP, CATIA, SLDASM and more file formats from and into BricsCAD®? Then you need the Communicator for BricsCAD. It seamlessly imports product structure geometry & PMI data from all major CAD applications.

Exchanging data with other CAD systems is a very important feature of BricsCAD! It is in our DNA to edit imported geometry with the same flexibility and parametric power as the native one.


Watch the Tutorial: Assembly design using BricsCAD Communicator


The BricsCAD Communicator is an optional plug-in for the Pro, Platinum, BIM, Mechanical and Ultimate editions of BricsCAD that imports and exports 3D data between major CAD formats. Its high-quality translations facilitate the re-use of 3D CAD data, improving productivity and reducing project costs.

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®- Communicator 01-1024x576

All editions of BricsCAD export drawings and models in ACIS, DWG, 2D PDF, and a variety of raster formats. Rhino and SketchUp are also supported by BricsCAD Platinum licenses and higher.

Supported file formats:

Export (Windows)

  • 3D PDF: .pdf

  • ACIS: .asab, .asat, .sab, .sat

  • CATIA v4: .model

  • CATIA v5: .CATPart, .CATProduct

  • IGES: .iges, .igs

  • STEP: .step, .stp

    • The following export protocols can be specified; AP203, AP214, AP242
  • VDA-FS: .vd

  • XCGM: .xcgm

Export (Linux)

  • 3D PDF: .pdf
  • ACIS: .asab, .asat, .sab, .sat
  • CATIA v4: .model
  • IGES: .iges, .igs
  • STEP: .step, .stp
    • The following export protocols can be specified; AP203, AP214, AP242 (see fig. 1).
  • VDA-FS: .vda

Export (Mac)

  • ACIS: .asab, .asat, .sab, .sat
  • CATIA v4: .model
  • IGES: .iges, .igs
  • STEP: .step, .stp
    • The following export protocols can be specified; AP203, AP214, AP242 (see fig. 1).
  • VDA-FS: .vda

Import (Windows)

  • ACIS: .asab, .asat, .sab, .sat
  • Autodesk Inventor: .iam, .ipt
  • CATIA v4: .model
  • CATIA v5/v6: .CATPart, .CATProduct, .CGR
  • Creo Elements / Pro Engineer: .asm, .prt
  • IGES: .iges, .igs
  • NX: .prt
  • Parasolid: .xmt_bin, .xmt_txt, .x_b, .x_t
  • Siemens: .jt
  • Solid Edge: .asm, .par, .psm
  • SolidWorks: .sldasm, .sldprt
  • STEP: .step, .stp, .stpz
  • VDA-FS: .vda
  • XCGM: .xcgm

Import (Linux)

  • ACIS
  • CATIA v4: .model
  • Creo Elements / Pro Engineer: .asm, .prt
  • IGES: .iges, .igs
  • Parasolid: .xmt_bin, .xmt_txt, .x_b, .x_t
  • Siemens: .jt
  • Solid Edge: .asm, .par, .psm
  • SolidWorks: .sldasm, .sldprt
  • STEP: .step, .stp, .stpz
  • VDA-FS: .vda
  • XCGM: .xcgm

Import (Mac)

  • ACIS: .asab, .asat, .sab, .sat

  • CATIA v4: .model

  • Creo Elements / Pro Engineer: .asm, .prt

  • IGES: .iges, .igs

  • Parasolid: .xmt_bin, .xmt_txt, .x_b, .x_t

  • STEP: .step, .stp, .stpz

  • VDA-FS: .vda

Importing Assemblies

It is possible to import not only the geometry but also the product structure from other CAD assembly files. When you import an assembly file, you can get its content as a plain geometry (a nonhierarchical set of entities) or map its product structure into native blocks or mechanical components.

You can navigate through the product structure using the Mechanical Browser. Imported parts and subassemblies are represented by local components.

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®- Communicator-800x450

PMI (product and manufacturing information) is supported for the following file formats (Communicator license is required): ACIS, CATIA V5, NX, Pro/E / Creo, SolidWorks, XCGM. PMI annotations are imported as graphical elements grouped in blocks.

If the assembly contains hidden parts (only for CATIA v5 export & import), you can decide how to represent them in BricsCAD: 'import and hide', 'import and set visible' or 'do not import'. Change this in the Settings dialog:

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®- Communicator Settings

You can also set other import options to automatically repair, stitch and simplify imported geometry. If you import a 3D model from SolidWorks, BricsCAD automatically maps the Y axis to the Z axis (because in SolidWorks the vertical axis is Y).

Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®- import stp

Example imported model

For SolidWorks and other native CAD formats, it is possible to specify an alternate search path, which will be used to look for parts absent in the imported assembly folder.

Exporting Assemblies

You can export a BricsCAD assembly with mechanical components as a file with product structure. To do that set the desired value in the Settings dialog:Import and Export files with the Communicator for BricsCAD®- Communicator ExportSettings


Import to BricsCAD today, download a 30-day free trial of the Communicator for BricsCAD


*Disclaimer: All brand names and product names mentioned in this post are trademarks or service marks of their respective companies, including Autodesk, Creo, Rhino, SketchUp, CATIA, Creo, Pro Engineer, Parasolid, Siemens, Solid Edge and SolidWorks.

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