RS adds low-cost CAD extensions to take 3D designs into manufacturing

June 10, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Distributor RS Components reports widespread take-up of its free 3D design package, DesignSpark Mechanical. The free package is intended as a prototyping vehicle for any engineer, and aims at 3D printing. Now, two add-on packages extend the reach of the software into full manufacturing.

DesignSpark Mechanical, written by SpaceClaim, is a 3D design environment that RS says can be learned by any engineer in hours-to-days. It embodies an architecture that makes use of the power of today’s PC machines to allow flexible designs, that can be freely incrementally modified and updated. Its focus has been ease-of-use and low-cost (still free in the core package); now with chargeable extensions RS intends that it can import and export fully-detailed designs into the full manufacturing process, handing files off in common formats. DesignSpark Mechanical is “not a threat” to traditional “full” 3D CAD (SolidWorks, AutoCAD, etc.) says RS, but opens up the 3D design process to users who would otherwise not attempt it at all.

The two options will each be charged at $795, or $995 for both (details below). This is an outright purchase of the version as at the time of installation, inlcuding a year’s support and updates. After the first year, updates and support can be extended in 12-month intervals at 20% of the module purchase price.

The first premium module available is DesignSpark Mechanical Exchange, which adds advanced import/export capabilities and enables the import, modification and export of industry-standard STEP and IGES file formats, which allows full exchange of design data with CAD tools such as SolidWorks, Catia, ProEngineer and AutoCAD. The module can enable engineers to integrate DesignSpark Mechanical into a product development toolchain that works across various software platforms, moving beyond concept creation to a seamless workflow for producing final designs. It means that companies can pass designs to their mechanical department or outside contractors for final design creation and manufacturing and do not have to invest in 3D CAD licences or training. Users can import objects drawn in other 3D packages, manipulate them with DesignSpark Mechanical’s “push-pull” graphically-driven tools, and re-export them as geometry.

The second premium module – DesignSpark Mechanical Drawing – - adds SpaceClaim's Associative