Applying 3D texture to a part in CAD

Introduction Have you ever needed to apply a texture to a 3D model in Solidworks? Well look no further as this guide will tell you what you need to know to achieve your goal. Applying the 3D Texture Open up …

Neil Sewell

November 18, 2020


Have you ever needed to apply a texture to a 3D model in Solidworks? Well look no further as this guide will tell you what you need to know to achieve your goal.

Applying the 3D Texture

  1. Open up the file in Solidworks, and decide what areas you wish to apply the texture to.
Locate areas you wish to apply textures

2. Open up the appearance library -> expand appearances -> expand organic -> open miscellaneous (you’re welcome to choose any appearance for this process)

Menu selection

3. By dragging and dropping the appearance onto a face, we are shown the following dialog box. This allows us to select, face, feature, body or part. I shall be selecting “face”

Selecting Face

4. For the next step, I shall be applying the bow tie appearance in the same manner to the face as shown below. However, once this is done it does not show up in the way we require for this part.

5. By expanding the appearance pane of the properties manager, we are able to right click on the appearance, and edit it.

Edit appearance selection

6. By going over to the “Mapping” tab we are then able to edit the way in which the appearance is applied. I have changed to “surface mapping” and a “small” mapping size. We are then able to green tick.

Applying Mapping

7. We have this appearance set up, so we can now copy it by right clicking on the appearance. We can now right click on the corresponding face, and paste the appearance.

8. Our part is now setup, and ready to be turned into a 3d texture.

Ready to go model

Adding the 3D Texture

9. Then, lets select the 3D Texture tool from  Insert -> Mesh -> 3D Texture

Selecting 3D Textures

10. By firstly clicking the body, and then the appearances we wish to convert to 3D Texture, we are now able to create the physical bump map.

Creating Physical Bump Map

11. By increasing the texture refinement, texture offset distance, and maximum element size we are able to improve the quality of the texture. The higher the quality, the larger the file size so please be aware of this.

Editing the Bump Map

12. This file can now be exported as an stl and then printed.


Hopefully after these steps you undersntad how to apply simple 3D textures to your parts. Need some more assistance? Solid Print3D is here to help you with the right decisions when it comes to 3D printing. For more information, please call Solid Print3D at 01926 333 777 or email at

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