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Export a CAD Assembly Model

Installing and Enabling the Plug-In

If you have not yet installed and enabled the Simscape™ Multibody™ Link plug-in on your device, before continuing see Install the Simscape Multibody Link Plugin.

Accessing the CAD Export Menu

You can access the export menu from the CAD application menu bar whenever a CAD assembly model is open. The location of the menu can vary with the CAD software version but it is generally under Add-Ins for Autodesk Inventor® software and under Tools for PTC® Creo™ and SolidWorks® software.

Opening a CAD Model Example

Your Simscape Multibody Link installation comes with a number of CAD assembly models that you can use as export examples. You can find the models in the folders:

Replace the following as described:

  • matlabroot — MATLAB® root folder, for example, C:\Programs\MATLAB\. Use the matlabroot command at the MATLAB command prompt to determine your MATLAB root folder.

  • cadPlatform is an identifier for your CAD application—inventor for Autodesk Inventor, proe for PTC Creo, and sw for SolidWorks.

  • modelFolder is the model name or abbreviation—robot for a robotic arm model and stewart for a Stewart platform model (available only for SolidWorks and PTC Creo applications). Ignore the remaining folders.

For example, if your MATLAB root folder is C:\Programs\MATLAB, your CAD application is SolidWorks, and the model that you’d like to open is robot, then you can open the mode from the folder:


Export Model

  1. Open the assembly model to export. Note that part models are not supported and that the Simscape Multibody Link export menu is not accessible if an assembly model is not open.

  2. From the CAD export menu, select the option to export the model.

  3. Specify the XML multibody description file name and folder. The Simscape Multibody Link plug-in generates the XML file and the part geometry files needed to render the model once imported.

After Export

Use the smimport function with the name of the XML multibody description file as an argument to import the CAD assembly into the Simscape Multibody modeling environment. The function parses the file and uses the data contained therein to generate a Simscape Multibody block diagram and an accompanying MATLAB data file. See Import a CAD Assembly Model.


This content refers to Simscape Multibody Link First Generation software. First-generation features are slated to be deprecated and should be avoided. To prevent compatibility issues in future releases, the Simscape Multibody Link plug-in no longer supports the translation of CAD models into Simscape Multibody Link First Generation models.