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Daid

Spaceclaim

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I've recently been using Spaceclaim for some modeling work:

http://www.spaceclaim.com/

It's not cheap (I think a single floating license is something like 2k), but holy shit. It blows everything away.

Just to explain a totally ridiculous example. I made the dual-extrusion-mounting-aid in Spaceclaim: https://www.youmagine.com/designs/dual-extrusion-mounting-aid

Well, I started out in FreeCAD, but FreeCAD was giving me all kinds of problems when I tried to adjust a few things and I could not get the top "fingers" attached like I wanted.

So I exported the model I had as STL. This model was all blocky, no chamfers. It did have the screw hole. In Spaceclaim, I could import this STL file. Spaceclaim detected the cylinders and with some assistant it turned those into actual cylinders. From that point on I could do anything I wanted to the model.

As Spaceclaim is not feature based (like Solidworks for example) I didn't care that I did not have the origonal sketch or info. I could modify the model like I wanted. Add chamfers, move the screwhole a bit. Extend it to add the fingers. All extremely easy.

This is my new favorite modeling tool. Yes it's super expensive. But I love it.

See a nice demo for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44UNSrfU6As

I could do all of those things to my imported STL file without problems.

 

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Spaceclaim seems to have a real paradigm shift with their modeling method. I come from 20 years of using Autocad, 2 years of UG and 4 years on Solidworks. I can see both advantages and disadvantages to not having a feature tree/history/parameter based models. I don't think it is a substitute for parameter based modeling, but it is good to see yet another approach, and it will have its uses/strengths right along side the other options. It sounds like a very good option when the source data is not parameterized. I understand that one of the weaknesses of parameterized modeling is the steep learning curve that history trees impose on a model.

 

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Spaceclaim is now available as a FREE download.

http://www.designspark.com/eng/page/mechanical

The program is marketed by RS (aka Radio Spares) as DesignSpark Mechanical but it is basically the SpaceClaim program - a lot of the help documentation still refers to "SpaceClaim".

I downloaded it last night and have been playing with it a bit. Like most CAD programs you need to be a bit of a concert pianist to handle all the mouse-keyboard combinations but the program does seem to be as powerful as Daid and the videos suggest.

The only thing I have found it is lacking is support for text. By this I mean you can't create models of letters. I have got round this by creating base letter shapes in Sketch-Up and saving these as Sketch-up polygons. These can then be imported into DesignSpark and further manipulated there. Not a great solution but it works.

 

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I've used 3D text. First you need to add 2D text in a plane (from the display tab) and then "pull" that out, or push it trough an model to carve out text.

The tool from RS looks like a slightly stripped version of what we have. As our version also has sheet-metal tools, and some more things.

 

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I think that must have been one of the 'stripped-out' features. I have searched all over the interface but can't find any 2D text tool. There is nothing in the help either :(

 

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And Educational licenses are about $50/year, for those that qualify....

 

I do!

If you are a military veteran, you can also get SolidWorks Student version for $20 (I did)

 

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Shame that the text features are stripped out. Then the "document" features are most likely also stripped. It's extremely easy to make technical drawings in SpaceClaim. I did a bunch of them in a morning without any pre-knowledge. They are not the best drawings, but it was super easy to get different projections and add measurements.

 

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Wow--you got a bargain, Daid! I think they quoted US$7k per year to me so I didn't even bother with their free trial, but maybe the price was high because I have a small startup business. I don't know what their business was like during its first few years but startups aren't wealthy. In fact, they typically lose money far longer than the investors ever expect! There's no way I'm spending $7k every year on Spaceclaim anytime soon!

 

I've recently been using Spaceclaim for some modeling work:

http://www.spaceclaim.com/

It's not cheap (I think a single floating license is something like 2k), but holy shit. It blows everything away.

 

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It didn't take long to discover the "catch" in the free deal. It doesn't seem to permit the importation of any standard solid model formats. (It imports only .step but read-only, which is nearly worthless.) It also does not permit the export of standard solid models required for, say, injection mold manufacture. Geesh--even the free version of AutoCAD Inventor Fusion supports import and export of standard solid model formats, though the performance of the program leaves much to be desired.

DesignSpark seems fine for designing stuff for a personal 3D printer but I guess ya' get what ya' pay-for!

 

Spaceclaim is now available as a FREE download.

http://www.designspark.com/eng/page/mechanical

The program is marketed by RS (aka Radio Spares) as DesignSpark Mechanical but it is basically the SpaceClaim program - a lot of the help documentation still refers to "SpaceClaim".

 

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It didn't take long to discover the "catch" in the free deal. It doesn't seem to permit the importation of any standard solid model formats. (It imports only .step but read-only, which is nearly worthless.) It also does not permit the export of standard solid models required for, say, injection mold manufacture. Geesh--even the free version of AutoCAD Inventor Fusion supports import and export of standard solid model formats, though the performance of the program leaves much to be desired.

DesignSpark seems fine for designing stuff for a personal 3D printer but I guess ya' get what ya' pay-for!

 

I was able to import STL and Sketch-up files - though they also seem to be read-only. As far as I could see there is no way to edit or even scale the imported models.

 

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That's a shame, in the full version I can just import an STL and instantly edit it, as if it was a solid already. I can also run some fixing tools to get the STL fixed up even better, like patching up the circles to be true circles. I could turn an STL file into a STEP file quite quick with this tool while converting circles and curved surfaces.

 

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"Reduced Functionality" - aka 'Crippleware' :cry:

It's a real shame they don't have a mid-way version - not the full bells & whistles for $7K per year but more than this very basic free version. Something for a few hundred dollars/euros would sell I think. Considering that 3D printing is supposed to be the 'next big thing', whoever gets a good, useable & affordable 3D drawing package on the market is going to do really well.

 

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I'm not going to quote the price of SpaceClaim here, since I don't think it's publicized by them (a common software company policy I've never understood)... but I was recently quoted for a single user license by them, and while it is in the thousands of dollars, it's quite a lot less than the $7k or so that's been mentioned here.

Another promising looking tool, if you can stand the cloud implications, is AutoDesk Fusion 360, which is a subscription-based service for $25/month.

 

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Yeah--it doesn't make sense. Sort of a used car salesman marketing approach if you ask me!

Though etiquette may frown on asking someone what they paid for certain things, In the case of software, I don't mind telling! I think SolidWorks quoted something like $5K, as I recall. There was no way we would spend $7K. We went with Alibre (now Geomagic). It has a few annoying bugs, which consume a user's time and patience, but I like sketch history-based parametric design and I've heard even the gold standard, Solid Works, can be irritating with bugs, at times. Thanks for the tip, illuminarti.

 

I'm not going to quote the price of SpaceClaim here, since I don't think it's publicized by them (a common software company policy I've never understood)... but I was recently quoted for a single user license by them, and while it is in the thousands of dollars, it's quite a lot less than the $7k or so that's been mentioned here.

Another promising looking tool, if you can stand the cloud implications, is AutoDesk Fusion 360, which is a subscription-based service for $25/month.

 

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Yeah--I had the idea to export .skp to Inventor Fusion, where I could convert it to whatever I might need, but the export was so slow, it's unusable on anything more complex than a simple cube.

 

I was able to import STL and Sketch-up files - though they also seem to be read-only. As far as I could see there is no way to edit or even scale the imported models.

 

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Thanks for the hint to test this program! I started reading the thread and at the mention of the prices I went.....again apples hanging too high on the tree....but then I downloaded the free package immediately and started to work with it.

This approach uses the same ideas as Autodesks 123 or creo . Those 2 are extremely buggy or crippled down to the point where you cannot use them. DesignSpark/SpaceclaimForDummies orwhatsitscalled is useable for many of our daily needs with the 3d printer. I test a lot of packages to learn more about the different approaches they take tackling basic problems.

The basic idea is very clever, putting a lot of intelligence and context based decision making into the program. The program "suggests" things and most of the time these suggestions are correct. The trim function for instance is mostly correct in seeing which parts of a 2d curve you want to remove. sketchup is like a melody played with one finger on a piano, here in DesignSpark you get the full orchestra. (Or well...a jazz combo). As far as I could see the most needed basic functions are there.

Using Rhino , I often found myself stuck when I wanted to change something after the first test print. If one does not save each and any little incremental step of the design, there is no way to go back at all, you have to start over. How many times I had to change hole diameters or the size of inserts for nuts because of unpredictable shrinkage in the print? To be able to go back into the model and change it is a great time saver, also if you need to make slightly different versions of the same thing.

The STL export function seems to work well enough if you tweak the output resolution to your needs. But there is not much leeway between a model that will be too coarse and one that will be ridiculously heavy and overdetailed. Going back into a finished stl would be great but does not work in this version.

As someone has said here if they could make a slightly better version for a few hundred euros or bucks they would get a lot of business from the 3d print community.

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Yup--and this is precisely why I'll probably stick with history-based solid model CAD tools (mostly sketch-oriented but basic "direct" editing is nice to have too). Such CAD tools offer control over both the associations between operations and the ordering of the operations themselves. (You can change the order that things get done and which operations affect or do not affect others.) I've demoed most of the other CAD philosophies and I guess I'm just a SolidWorks kinda guy (but too poor for SW so I'll use Geomagic/Alibre Design instead).

I don't really need for the CAD program to suggest what it thinks I need to do either. I just need it to do what I WANT it to do!

 

I often found myself stuck when I wanted to change something after the first test print. If one does not save each and any little incremental step of the design, there is no way to go back at all, you have to start over. How many times I had to change hole diameters or the size of inserts for nuts because of unpredictable shrinkage in the print? To be able to go back into the model and change it is a great time saver, also if you need to make slightly different versions of the same thing.

 

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I got a quote for spaceclaim half of what calin was quoted... seeing designspark as basically the same lets me give it a test drive to see if I at least like the interface.

paul had me introduced to alibre, but the engine is so so terrible that making something complex is borderline crashing it... all those engine parts they show in the demos? pure miracle that they got them working.

now that 3dsystems bought them and rebranded them to geomagic, I don't see how alibre will ever be improved.

if spaceclaim would come up with a affordable version, they might have a chance

 

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Thanks, Joergen. I might demo DesignSpark a bit more and ask Spaceclaim for a new quote. I'd give up my preferred history-based CAD style for something that's fast and reliable anyway. I'm on Geomagic Design 2014. They've fixed a few bugs and introduced others. It's still pretty buggy and often recalcitrant when doing tough stuff like boolean ops and merging the geometry of complex stuctures during extrusions, but the frames for our products ARE as complex as the demos and I created them with Alibre/Geomagic. Often a small change will get something working, or doing things in a slightly different order or manner. Certainly the program tests my patience--much like the buggy netfabb Engine does too!

Oh--I always keep a recent Geomagic .AD_PRT backup file that I don't use for editing. File corruption can happen. Sometimes closing the entire program (including the menu GUI) and restarting it can unblock a buggy impasse too. Strange!

After noticing that most of these CAD program still don't thread worth a damn, I put together a real "space heater" of a workstation for cheap using surplus Dell parts. It has a 3.8 GHz P4 (the highest core clock Intel has ever shipped) and a true 4GB of memory (none wasted to memory mapped I/O). Under XP-64, Geomagic runs pretty well on it. It would take a fairly expensive new multi-core CPU to make up for the raw clocking horsepower of the old Willamette core, given that no threading is involved.

 

I got a quote for spaceclaim half of what calin was quoted... seeing designspark as basically the same lets me give it a test drive to see if I at least like the interface.

paul had me introduced to alibre, but the engine is so so terrible that making something complex is borderline crashing it... all those engine parts they show in the demos? pure miracle that they got them working.

now that 3dsystems bought them and rebranded them to geomagic, I don't see how alibre will ever be improved.

if spaceclaim would come up with a affordable version, they might have a chance

 

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I have a 5 year old 'space heater' (for heavy photoshop and panorama stitching work) with 8 cores, 2.8ghz, 32GB ram and RAID0'd SSDs and 4GB Nvidia (basically plenty of raw power), but if you have an application that was written and designed in 1998, and has been on life support and no active development since the early 2000's (such as alibre design), all of that extra power is totally wasted. and I am afraid plenty of those windows CAD apps fall under this category.

 

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