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Bringing all the benefits of 3D design to every engineer

Bringing all the benefits of 3D design to every engineer
With intuitive, free-of-charge 3D design software, RS Components has made it easy for engineers to transition from 2D to 3D design, and enabled adoption by non CAD-specialists. Mark Simms reports.

There are many good reasons for machine builders, panel builders and electronic design engineers to embrace to 3D CAD: it speeds up the concept to creation process, enables better communication of concepts, helps to win business, and allows models to be created quickly through 3D printing. And yet it is estimated that 95% of engineers who might benefit are still not using 3D CAD software.

The barriers are surely cost and the  steep learning curve. Traditional tools often require a 3D CAD specialist to get the most out of them, and not all SMEs can afford that luxury. Even for those that can, it can quickly become a bottleneck in the design process, as models have to be sent off to another department for changes. This is far from ideal at the prototype stages of the design process.

Wouldn't it be great, though, if you put 3D design tools in the hands of the people who are most involved in the design? Suppose the same electronics designer who's laying out the PCB could also quickly model his concept for the mechanical design - a true merging of eCAD and MCAD. Or suppose that a machine builder could bring some 3D modelling into the design cycle, for example at the bid stage and at the customer review stage, without any bottlenecks. There are many machine builders who report that they tend not to deviate too far from previous designs because they don't have the time to create concepts from scratch, or that they are losing business to companies who are more able to invest in modern mechanical design software.

Clearly there is a demand for 3D CAD, but to be useful for the masses such a package would have to be highly affordable and so simple to use that anyone could pick it up in minutes - and not have to be using it all day, every day in order to get the most out of it.

Recognising this requirement, RS Components now offers DesignSpark Mechanical - powerful and intuitive 3D design software for every engineer involved in the design process. Easy to use, the software enables complex shapes to be built from just four simple gestures, putting powerful 3D design into the hands of the non-CAD specialist. And best of all, it's available free of charge for ultimate accessibility.

RS Components head of applications strategy Martin Keenan comments: "The package overcomes all the limitations of traditional 3D CAD tools, and enables engineers to use 3D modelling early in the design process where companies have the best opportunity to differentiate their products."

Developed in conjunction with SpaceClaim, DesignSpark Mechanical will bring major benefits to design engineers around the world and is available in multiple languages. RS Components believes it is a significant step in the evolution of the DesignSpark online resource hub for the engineering community.

Not only can you now develop the likes of enclosures for your products more quickly, you can also export them straight to a 3D printer and have a functional model immediately. But it's not just about designing shapes. Engineers also have access to more than 38,000 3D CAD models in the DesignSpark online component library, so you could develop a 3D design for a whole control cabinet or machine complete with actual product details. And each 3D CAD model download comes complete with its ordering details, so you're building a bill of materials automatically at the same time, speeding up the process.
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