What Happened to xDesign?

For those of you who follow our announcements and blogs, you have likely heard about xDesign, a 3D CAD tool that runs in a browser and is developed by the SOLIDWORKS® R&D team. You may also recall that recently we announced the commercial availability of “3D Creator,” which enables parametric 3D modeling in the cloud. Confused? Let’s try to clear that up.

Naturally, you wanted to know what 3D Creator is and how it relates to xDesign. Have we abandoned xDesign, have we simply changed its name, or have we introduced yet another solution and if so, how are the two solutions different? And beyond this, what is going on with our design portfolio on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform?

Wait, what is the platform again and why we’re talking about it here? Let’s start from the beginning.

3DEXPERIENCE is Dassault Systemes’ cloud-based platform for planning, designing and delivering products. Much like the apps for your smartphone, there is a growing set of cloud-based solutions that run on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. These solutions share common elements, user interface and data model, among others, which means they work together seamlessly. Having a common backbone also means that sharing data from one solution to another, or from one user to another, is easier than ever before. There’s no need to worry about formats, versions, or copying from one location to another. In addition, being on the cloud makes it easy to share your data with anyone you want to share with, and no one you don’t.

So, what happened to xDesign?

Rest assured that the xDesign app is very much alive and well. It is, in fact, part of 3D Creator, a role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Roles are collections of apps specific to a function. While 3D Creator contains only the xDesign app today, we envision that it will include multiple apps that will provide new capabilities to help you design in the cloud with greater ease and speed. Going forward, we’ll talk more about roles than apps as they are the solutions you buy and access. So, when we say 3D Creator, this includes all capabilities of the xDesign app.

What makes 3D Creator special?

Designed by the SOLIDWORKS team with SOLIDWORKS users in mind, xDesign as the key app in the 3D Creator role features a few key capabilities that make it the logical evolution from and extension to the world’s favorite 3D CAD software, SOLIDWORKS.

Get to work first, worry about assembly structure later

Firstly, there is no need to define parts, multi-body parts or assemblies, and yet you can create all of the above. This is because the solution offers a single modeling environment. This means you can start a sketch, extrude it and it becomes a body. You can add an additional body in the same environment or convert it to a component, add another one in and mate them together. If you change your mind, you can dissolve the components back to features or bodies. Its flexibility makes it ideal for start working on your design without worrying about planning the perfect assembly structure.

Design Optimization 

Design Guidance (image below) helps you suggest where to place material based on loads and fixtures rather than having to rely on experience or guesswork. You can use the capability to inspire new designs or optimize existing ones.

Design guidance.


Interchangeable Features

Another unique set of capabilities in 3D Creator is the way features are interchangeable. If you start with an Extrude but later on you realize that a Revolve or a Sweep may have given you better edit-ability, there is no need to panic. You can simply change it. This makes parametric modeling easy, accurate and productive while enabling much greater flexibility when it comes to editing, particularly when making major changes.

For example, you have a part that requires a groove for an O-ring. Maybe it makes the most sense to sketch the profile of the O-ring and revolve it around a reference. Then, the design changes and you now need a rectangular rubber seal, rather than the standard O-ring. 3D Creator allows you to change a Revolve to a Sweep or an Extrude. This means you can spend less time worrying about what feature is best to use and more time doing actual design.

In the cloud

Since 3D Creator runs completely in a browser, on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, you can leverage the many solutions available on the platform, such as data management, simulation, project management, product lifecycle management and more. You can share data, develop ideas and collect feedback through dashboards and communities, as well as seamlessly use your design data in other solutions on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform or even in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD.

We’ve worked hard on getting these capabilities right and after a period of testing through the lighthouse program, we’ve made them commercially available as part of 3D Creator. What do you think? Add your comments below.


Mark Rushton

Mark Rushton is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS and has been involved with 3D CAD and 3D Printing for over 15 years in several capacities from research to consulting for the likes of Rolls Royce, GE, JCB and Dyson. When not playing with 3D printers or other tech, he is most likely out snowboarding, wake boarding or mountain biking.