Software brings 3D design to every engineer

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

DesignSpark Mechanical, the new 3D design software from RS Components and Allied Electronics, is ideal for engineering and conceptual design, bringing the advantages of 3D design to every engineer across the world. An intuitive and powerful user interface makes DesignSpark Mechanical perfect for CAD novices and experts alike and ideal for those looking to transition from 2D to 3D design.

The software applies a cut-down version of SpaceClaim's 3D Modelling software, which, by employing a direct modelling allows users to simply click, drag and drop geometry within the design to create a design. Says RS Components' head of applications strategy Martin Keenan: "This is a design tool to meet the needs of everyone in the design process. It is highly intuitive with a short learning curve, as well as being free of charge for ultimate accessibility."

Essentially, Design Spark Mechanical is a means to allow engineers to build 3D enclosures around their PCB designs. This is clearly not intended to produce a final, production-ready model, but does allow more accurate prototypes to be created, meaning fewer changes to design are required later on, thus avoiding one of the greatest bottlenecks in the design process.

Clearly Design Spark Mechanical enables rapid creation of highly professional concept designs for product proposals. Equally, the powerful and intuitive gesture-based modelling allows anyone to create geometry and create solid models without the complexity of traditional feature-based CAD. There is therefore no need to be a CAD expert: electronics and industrial engineers can learn to use the tool within minutes and easily collaborate with other disciplines involved in the product specification and design process.

Of course, from RS Components' point of view, this is not merely an altruistic gesture. Design Spark Mechanical allows users to download CAD models of components directly from its library of parts at www.traceparts.com.

This obviously explains where the interest lies fro RS Components, but what about SpaceClaim? From SpaceClaim's perspective, of course, this represents an excellent opportunity to put direct 3D modelling in the hands of those who may otherwise never have had access to any form of 3D CAD before.

Chris Randles, SpaceClaim's CEO, is happy to acknowledge this strategy, saying "Of course we want to put SpaceClaim in front of as many potential users as possible and this collaboration is a very exciting opportunity for everyone…and obviously we're keen to sell as many of those users up to the full package of SpaceClaim Engineer as possible." This, he points out, is clear as – despite being branded as Design Spark Mechanical – no user will be left in any doubt that the engine that underpins it is SpaceClaim's.

Randles also indicated that this sort of collaborative model of increasing SpaceClaim's reach and popularity is something the company is keen to pursue if the right sector or market becomes apparent.

Obviously, Design Spark Mechanical only represents only a restricted version of SpaceClaim's software and anyone wishing to do anything more complex will need a more sophisticated package, but there can be little doubt that it is another significant step in the democratisation of 3D CAD.


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