How to import Solidworks 3D structure and change it's orientation in Lumerical?



Lumerical products offer the possibility to import 3D structures from Solidworks. The procedure is fairly simple and it requires the file to be saved in *.stl format. Once the file is saved, open Lumerical and go to
"File"->“Import”->“STL”. You can also review this detailed Knowledge Base example that demonstrates the STL import procedure.

Note that the default coordinate system in Solidworks is different from Lumerical and the imported structure might not have the orientation that is convenient for your simulation. An example is shown on the following picture:

This issue can be addressed in the following ways:

  1. Rotate the imported structure
    This operation is the simplest, but the rotation is related to the local origin of the structure. This can shift the whole structure during the rotation and it can make it hard to control it’s position within the simulation region. Therefore, this approach is not recommended.

  2. Create the structure in Solidworks with the consideration of the Lumerical coordinate system
    This approach can be fairly straightforward for simple structures, but it gets increasingly difficult with more complex structures.

  3. Create the structure in the default Solidworks coordinate system and convert it to the Lumerical compatible x/y/z coordinate system before saving the stl file you wish to import.
    This is the recommended method. Once you finish the structure in Solidworks, execute the following steps:
    a) Click on “Insert”->“Reference Geometry”->"Coordinate System"
    b) Define the Lumerical compatible x/y/z coordinate system; set the origin and direction of each axis
    c) In the main menu choose “Save As” and set “Save as type” to STL; Click on the “Option” button, and down in the bottom of the pop-up menu, you can select your new coordinate system from the “Output coordinate system” drop down menu.
    Now you should see the same orientation of your structure in both Solidworks and Lumerical: