Free-to-download CAD tool “brings 3D design to every engineer”

Free-to-download CAD tool “brings 3D design to every engineer”

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By eeNews Europe

DesignSpark Mechanical is a 3D solid modelling and assembly tool, developed in conjunction with SpaceClaim, provider of “flexible and affordable” 3D modelling software. RS is presenting the package as a significant step in the evolution of its DesignSpark online resource hub, and is making it available worldwide in 12 languages.

The availability of DesignSpark Mechanical overcomes, RS adds, two major barriers to entry faced by potential users who do not currently have access to a 3D design solution, but who could benefit from the use of 3D modelling to quickly develop sophisticated concepts and products. These impediments are the prohibitive costs and the considerable investment in learning time associated with traditional 3D CAD tools. Not only is DesignSpark Mechanical free, its simplicity of use means that engineers and others involved in product development can become fully conversant with the software within minutes, rather than the weeks or months required to become skilled with traditional 3D CAD tools.

The software employs the same use paradigm as SpaceClaim’s own product – you manipulate geometry with four basic actions that have more in common with established Windows and mobile-device operation than with traditional CAD. RS believes that using DesignSpark Mechanical early in the design cycle can eliminate much of the time-consuming rework associated with traditional product development processes. The package can exchange data with component databases and with DesignSpark PCB (or in .IDF from many other tools), and can export files in .STL format to generate prototypes on 3D printers.

With access to more than 38,000 3D models in the extensive DesignSpark online component library, DesignSpark Mechanical gives all engineers the ability to rapidly undertake an end-to-end design with professional-grade modelling tools that are at zero cost. RS has also collaborated with world-leading 3D content company TraceParts to provide access to millions of models from the online CAD portal in DesignSpark Mechanical format.

“RS is partnering with SpaceClaim to launch DesignSpark Mechanical, which combines the power and ease-of-use of direct modelling technology from SpaceClaim with access to the massive RS library of standard parts,” said Rich Moore, vice president of business development for SpaceClaim.  “Feature-based CAD is more difficult to learn and with DesignSpark Mechanical, users can rapidly create 3D models to accelerate engineering design and improve their competitive advantage.” He adds that SpaceClaim is both a product, and a platform, and the the software developed for RS constitutes a focussed set of capabilities aimed at the broad range of electronic design, industrial and mechanical design engineers in RS’ customer base.

DesignSpark Mechanical employs a methodology called ‘direct modelling’, which is very different from traditional feature- or parametric-based 3D CAD software. The tool uses simple gestures that enable real-time editing and instant feedback, making it possible for engineers and others to create geometry and easily explore ideas and product concepts in 3D. All basic designs can be achieved quickly and easily via the use of the software’s four basic tools – Pull, Move, Fill and Combine – in addition to its employment of familiar Windows keyboard shortcuts such as cut/paste, undo/redo, which makes it highly intuitive for new users.

The software can also be used as a complementary 3D tool in the product development process for the creation of early concept designs, for instance, alongside 3D CAD tools that are already in use today. The tool can remove bottlenecks in the early design process by allowing changes and additions in seconds, rather than having to wait for the CAD department using the traditional 3D tools to rework the design.

DesignSpark Mechanical will be available for free download via

from 16 September 2013 with support available through the DesignSpark community at

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