You could characterize the evolution of CAD as heavyweight, medium weight, and lightweight. Initially CAD software was heavily tied to a single location, typically running on powerful UNIX workstations (remember the “grep” command?). In retrospect, this was certainly a heavyweight solution.
In the mid-1990s along came a plucky little startup called SOLIDWORKS that claimed its software could perform most CAD functions on a Windows-based personal computer (PC). At the time it was referred to as a “midrange” solution, which puts it in our medium-weight category. Most people at the time assumed SOLIDWORKS would fail.
Today’s cloud computing enables the lightweight phase of CAD tool development, providing a completely flexible and collaborative environment in which to develop products, requiring only an Internet connection and a web browser. Let’s take a brief look at two of the cloud-based CAD products in the 3DEXPERIENCE® Works portfolio.
(If you want to skip ahead and learn more details about the 3DEXPERIENCE® Works portfolio cloud-based CAD products, download the Freedom to Innovate eBook.)
The Dynamic Duo
3D Creator includes the xDesign app, a 3D parametric modeler that complements SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD with flexible design workflows and a seamless interchange of design data.
3D Sculptor includes the xShape app, which offers dramatically fast modeling of complex, organically shaped, highly stylized surfaces in a subdivision (Sub-D) modeling environment.
3D Creator and 3D Sculptor have consistent user interfaces with the same layout, so you can work with them interchangeably. For example, if you are doing Sub-D modeling and need to switch apps, the data stays open, and the apps revolve around the data. You don’t need to close one app, open another app, and open the 3D model before getting to work.
Cloud-based 3D Creator and 3D Sculptor both offer a single modeling environment for parts and assemblies that enable you to focus on design and not on how you organize your files. When you start a design, you don’t have to determine whether it’s a part or an assembly—you can change your mind at any time. For example, when creating features, you can determine when it makes sense for all the features to be a part. Then, when creating another group of features, you can decide when they become a part, and group the two parts into a subassembly. If you change your mind again, you can dissolve that sub-assembly and revert to just the parts and add different features, if you wish.
Automate Mundane Design Tasks
Machine learning algorithms are built into 3D Creator and 3D Sculptor. This cool feature adds a new level of productivity to your daily CAD projects.
When you make selections, the artificial intelligence (AI) software suggests or predicts what should be selected next based on your previous work. If you were to pick an edge to fillet or a chamfer, the AI software scans for other edges that are similar, symmetrical, of comparable length, or nearby, and makes a recommendation along the lines of “Do you want to select these as well?” If you give the go-ahead, the software automatically selects all similar edges.
Cloud-based apps allow AI to more easily “learn” from designs. The more you design in the system, the smarter the recommendations from AI, since it continually evolves and learns from your choices on previous models.
Work from Any Location
3D Creator and 3D Sculptor provide you with cutting-edge, lightweight 3D design technologies. The 3DEXPERIENCE Works cloud platform enables you to co-construct and share your SOLIDWORKS creations with your teams in the cloud, facilitating collaboration and speeding innovation.
The cloud-based platform enables you to view, share, annotate, discuss, and manage your designs wherever you are physically located, 24/7/365, from any device with a web browser—that’s pretty lightweight.