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SpaceClaim Opens 3D MCAD

By DE Editors

Industry veterans launch mechanical design for all contributors.

Mike Payne, a co-founder of PTC and SolidWorks, Daniel Dean also a PTC co-founder, Rich Moore former VP and GM of Americas of Computervision Corporation, and a roster of industry heavyweights are at it again. This time, they’ve launched SpaceClaim Corp. (Concord, MA) with a mission to put “3D at the fingertips of everyone involved in product design.”  And the other day, they announced their flagship product, SpaceClaim Professional 2007. Envisioned as a complement to complex, industrial-strength MCAD environments, SpaceClaim Professional 2007 will be generally available at the end of March.

The idea underlying SpaceClaim Professional is that 3D mechanical design is unavailable to many major contributors to product development – say, manufacturing engineers, analysts, and engineering management – because they do not have access to or mastery of the designers’ 3D CAD system. SpaceClaim Professional 2007 deploys a range of technologies, such as intelligent tools and a non-threatening user interface, that enable these engineers participate earlier in the product development process without thrashing about inefficiently with the professional designer’s system.

SpaceClaim

A nonparametric MCAD tool, SpaceClaim Professional 2007 provides what the company describes as a flexible modeling environment. This environment supports conceptual engineering, design creation, and modification as well as real-time geometric inferencing. The latter highlights design similarities, such as equal radius holes or coplanar surfaces, and aids users during geometry creation and modification. The software’s integrated workspace for parts and assemblies lets you split and merge components and to alter assembly structure as needed.

The SpaceClaim user interface is based on a technology that the company calls “SmartTools.” In essence, SmartTools gleans your modeling intent from your selected geometry and its context to determine the most likely operations you wish to perform. SmartTools then makes available those tools for your use. This eliminates the clutter of multiple drop-down menus or dialogue boxes as well as reduces the number of click needed to execute an action.

The user interface also offers a technology called “Hints.” Hints automatically suggest design considerations, such as maintaining same size holes or wall thickness, in the form of localized “snaps,” which, in turn, eliminates the need for entering specific dimensions before you change geometry. Additionally, a Power Select capability lets you search a model for similar geometry, select as a group from the resulting list, and modify, move, or delete all at once.

SpaceClaim Professional provides a constraint-free sketching environment. Sketching entities include lines, arcs, and splines, and sketching tools include trim, offset, and project to sketch. The software also has pull, move, and sections functionalities, and it supports familiar Microsoft Cut and Paste commands to move and copy geometry. Miscellaneous features include 3D mark-up capabilities, model compare functions, and the ability to output 3D mark-ups in PowerPoint and XPS.

SpaceClaim Professional can import and export most major file formats, including ACIS, Parasolid, IGES, STEP, DWG, DXF, and VDA. SpaceClaim Professional uses an XML-based file format, which facilitates data exchange with other MCAD applications and with PLM systems.

The complete SpaceClaim product line also includes a free Home Edition of SpaceClaim Professional 2007, a free SpaceClaim Viewer, a data Exchange product for translators beyond the industry standards, a product that supports CATIA V5 data exchange, and a library of standard parts.

General availability of SpaceClaim Professional 2007 begins on March 30. It costs $125 per month, per user, based on a 3-year term. A 1-year term is also available, and both terms include full support and updates. For further details, go to the SpaceClaim website.

Sources: Briefings with the company as well as background and press materials received from the company. Sara Ferris contributed to this report.

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DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Digital Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.