Coping With Huge 3D CAD Data Files

September 5, 2005

3 Min Read
Coping With Huge 3D CAD Data Files

As the world has evolved into 3D CAD parts and assemblies, design engineers have had to cope with CAD files that are megabytes, sometimes gigabytes in size. Internally, engineers have learned to deal with the file sizes, but what do you do when you need to send and transmit that same data to another design office, other country offices, or to downstream users and can't tolerate the insecurity of an FTP site? And, still give them the level of detail they need to be able to understand the design?

Lattice3D has introduced a series of CAD Converters that work with all major 3D CAD systems to compress 3D CAD files down to about 2 percent of their original size. Better yet, the company says that it achieves that compression with no loss of fidelity in the data.

If you have a Lattice3D CAD Converter, your file is translated into an XVL format. And suddenly your 10 megabyte file takes up less than 500k of disk space—making it easily e-mailable, fast to transfer across a network and so on.

Recipients can then download a free XVL Viewer (available at and view the design data directly, rotate, and zoom to any level of detail. And once the data is in XVL, there's no need for a robust (and expensive) workstation to handle the data—it can be opened and viewed on a standard office laptop!

Lattice3D CAD Converters support CAD systems including: CATIA V4 and V5, I-deas, Inventor, OneSpace Designer, Unigraphics, Pro/ENGINEER, Solidworks and SolidEdge. It also happily handles IGES, VRML, STL, Parasolid and more.

Would the Real 3D CAD File Please Stand Up? A side-by-side comparison of drawings generated in Solidworks and Lattice3D CAD Converter's XML format*

File type: SolidworksFile size: 288 MB

File type: XVL, with fully working 3D data and high fidelityFile size: 2.6 MB (reduction of file size by 99%)

File type: Autodesk InventorFile size: 138 MB

File type: XVL with fully working 3D data and high fidelityFile size: 720 KB

*Lattice3D attests that this is a fair and honest assessment of the file sizes. The images shown here are screen shots only.  View file demos online and download a free XVL player.

You need this trick if:  You are dealing with large CAD drawings and have trouble with large file sizes.

Resources:  There are more uses for XVL files that include direct publishing of 3D data into documentation. Find out more here.

Got a cool software trick?  Send details, including any documentation and supporting code, to [email protected]. If we publish your trick, we'll send you a super cool, limited-edition Design News t-shirt.

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