As complex products move from initial concept to first prototype and beyond, there are a number of people who could benefit from easy access to design data. Such access would speed the creation of drawings and renderings while also reducing the potential for errors.
CadSoft Solutions Inc. of Pewaukee, WI, has devised a program that lets what it calls "casual users" work with design data. "There are a lot of people like technical illustrators and model builders who need to use this data, but they don't want to learn CAD software. This lets them read in Catia data and use it for illustrations," says timothy Olson, president of CadSoft.
These casual users typically find that access to design data done with
programs such as Catia can save them significant amounts of time. The CadSoft
tools are designed to augment traditional modeling tools, since they use
software icons and techniques geared to non-engineers instead of designers who
use CAD tools. "Our focus is not on functionality but on usability. We want the
casual user to be able to create models of interest without learning techniques
they will only use a few times," Olson says.
The software takes advantage of modeling techniques that have emerged in recent years, linking them to simple user interfaces. Olson notes that time savings can be several hours for a drawing that would take a full day if illustrators used CAD software.