CAD Forum - tips, tricks, discussion and utilities for AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit and other Autodesk products []
CZ | EN | DE
Login or
  Visitors: 9129
Plex.Earth connects AutoCAD and Google Earth

CAD tip CAD tip # 9512:

Question CAD 
 %  platform  category 
Q - question

How to convert a point cloud to an editable 3D CAD model (mesh)?

A - answer The application Autodesk Recap provides advanced tools for processing and indexing of large point clouds, e.g. from 3D laser scanning (LIDAR). All current versions of Autodesk CAD software (release 2014 and later) can directly work with these indexed point cloud files. But in some situations you will need to have a real 3D model (even inaccurate as for details) of the scanned object instead of just a point cloud.

In these cases, the freeware application MeshLab will help you. You can download it from [URL verified 10/2013]

Be careful when installing this app in Windows 8 - you need to just unpack, not install the MeshLab installation file (e.g. with 7-Zip)

A point cloud read from any point file format into Autodesk ReCap need to be written (saved) to PTS file. Then rename the .pts file on your disk to the extension .ASC. ASC files can be then directly imported into MeshLab. It is advisable to simplify large models by reducing the number of points (Filters > Sampling > Poisson-disk Sampling). First generate normals on the loaded model:

Render > Show vertex normals
Save the file (Export Mesh, .ply) with the option Normals and re-open it
Filters > Point Set > Compute normals for point sets

Consequently, it is now possible to generate a 3D grid (mesh) model:

Filters > Point Set > Surface Reconstruction: Poisson

Another option (in newer versions of Meshlab) is to generate mesh directly from the points using the command Filters > Remeshing, Simplification and Reconstruction > Surface Reconstruction: Ball Pivoting (radius cca 0.1).

Remember to use the top command bar to switch to the 3D mesh model.

The resulting 3D model can be then saved to a DXF or OBJ format that can be loaded into any standard 3D CAD application.

The detailed procedure can be found in the video on the CAD Studio's YouTube channel:

In some cases, you can also use the free application "Point Cloud Feature Extraction" available on Autodesk Exchange Apps. It allows to create AutoCAD geometry - polylines, arcs, splines, cylinders, spheres, anuloids - from point clouds.

100% *  CAD 
22.10.2013    144765×   FAQ  

See also:
Tip 13021:Rotating model when hovering above a 3D point cloud. How to disable?
Tip 12938:How to convert a point cloud to a textured 3D model?
Tip 12325:How to display a DWG from Advance Steel including AS objects? (AST viewer)
Tip 12296:Loading a point cloud from a series of photos to Revit.
Tip 12184:Overview of CAD formats supported in Inventor 2020 (import/export/AnyCAD).

Back   All CAD Tips

Have we helped you? If you want to support the CAD Forum web service, consider buying one of our CAD applications, or our custom software development offerings, or donating via PayPal (see above). You may also add a link to your web - like this "fan" link: CAD Forum - tips, utilities, blocks for Autodesk products
CAD:    OS:    Categ: 
Text:  FAQ glossary   

Add .CIT raster format support to AutoCAD and Map and Civil 3D
CITin More info

Please use these tips at your own risk.
Arkance Systems is not responsible for possible problems that may occur as a result of using any of these tips.