Engineers may not be selfish by nature, but when it comes to trying to share CAD data, for some of them it’s an outright pain in the butt. No surprises, then, in the results of a recent Design News study:16% of the respondents reported that sharing their CAD files is “a huge pain,” while 48% said that it is somewhat pesky. The lucky (or smart) remaining 37% said that they have no problem at all.
Presumably, they’ve found a tool that works or have found a way to jury-rig their way around the situation (like recreating the model). We’ll provide more on their specific solutions in an upcoming newsletter.
The reason that sharing CAD data with others is a problem for so many engineers is that not everyone in the company has a seat of CAD. So even if the purchasing guy wants to do something as simple as viewing an assembly drawing, it can be tricky getting him the data. And of course, sharing files externally means interoperability issues when business partners are on different CAD systems. Oh, and did we mention security concerns?
Solutions, however, abound. Over half (51%) of the respondents reported that they use an Express version of their CAD system to cope with the issue, while 14% use a third party solution like Actify .3D or Lattice 3D. Among this crowd, Autodesk’s .dwg is the most well-known of the vendor solutions, with 79% of the engineers reporting familiarity with the tool.
But the newest entrant to the mix, Adobe’s Acrobat 3D, which allows users to convert a wide range of 2D and 3D CAD models to Adobe PDF, could prove to shake things up. Some 14% of respondents indicated that the new tool “is going to be a killer app” and 48% reported that it will be “fairly significant.”
The reasons? The ubiquity of the free Adobe reader, and some added functionality that allows users to share something more than just a dumb model (markup, cut cross sections, animations, etc.). Time will tell how many engineers are willing to cough up the $995 price tag.