With 3D printing technology becoming more available, it only makes sense that design software would follow suit. DesignSpark Mechanical, a 3D solid modeling and assembly tool, aims to provide intuitive design capabilities to everyone from novices to experts transitioning from 2D to 3D design. Developed by RS Components and SpaceClaim, the software is also available free of charge.
Traditionally, 3D CAD tools have been expensive, not only in physical costs, but also in the time spent learning to use them. DesignSpark Mechanical was created to be accessible to all engineers looking to quickly create conceptual designs through intuitive gesture-based modeling. The software’s “direct modeling methodology” ranges from simple shapes to complex blends and surfaces. Users can choose from four simple gestures; pull, move, fill and combine tools to allow for a more hands-on approach. The pull and move tools also work on face and edge based edits, allowing for maximum flexibility. Tips can be added in the design for thin wall, mirrored, concentric, rounded and chamfered geometry.
The software also offers the ability to draw extruded, rotated, and swept 3D geometry without ever leaving a 2D cut. This way, new concepts can be sketched out and solid 3D designs can be made without performing additional work and helps bridge the gap for users working with previous designs. There is also no need to set up a constraint system, the dimensional values can be changed by selecting the specific element. Different users can also configure and save their own sets of dimensions.
DesignSpark Mechanical also offers a flexible assembly structure; parts can be transformed into an assembly or vice versa and assembly structures can be created even before drawing a shape. There is also no need to worry about inter-component relationships preventing changes. There is also no unnecessary mode switching as the same tools can be used to modify assemblies, parts, drawing views and 3D annotations.
A variety of formats can be imported, including ECAD (IDF, IDB, EMN), OBJ, SketchUp, STEP, and STL files. Over 38,000 models from RS Components and Allied Electronics catalogs, as well as over 100 million 3D models from the Traceparts.com online library can also be imported. Designs can be exported to AutoCAD (DXF), OBJ, 3DPDF, STL, XAML, JPEG, and PNG formats. As a user completes their design, a bill of materials is compiled, allowing instant quoting from RS and Allied. The final STL output formats are also directly compatible with 3D printers.
With the software solutions hitherto available on the market, it is estimated that only 5% of engineers worldwide have access to 3D modeling tools. 3D model uploads can also save an engineer between 2 hours and 2 days of work without having to manually create the component. DesignSpark Mechanical aims to make these issues a thing of the past, complementing existing feature-based CAD software, reducing design time with an intuitive process, and being available for free.
DesignSpark Mechanical can be downloaded here.