RS Components brings 3D design capability to engineers with DesignSpark Mechanical

RS Components has unveiled DesignSpark Mechanical in Australia. The new 3D solid modelling and assembly tool is available free of charge.

Developed in conjunction with SpaceClaim, DesignSpark Mechanical is a step in the evolution of the DesignSpark online resource hub for the engineering community.

The availability of DesignSpark Mechanical overcomes the two major barriers to entry faced by potential users who do not have access to a 3D design solution and can benefit from 3D modelling to quickly develop sophisticated concepts and products.

These impediments are the prohibitive costs and the considerable investment in learning time associated with traditional 3D computer-aided design (CAD) tools.

"Only five percent of the world's engineering popukation have acccess to 3D tools," Mark Crundle told Electronics News at the launch in Sydney. Cundle is Global Head of Technical Marketing at RS Components. People using 3d tools over 2D save about 45 percent of their time during the design phase.

DesignSpark Mechanical free, its simplicity of use means that engineers and others involved in product development can become fully conversant with the software within minutes, rather than the weeks or months required to become skilled with traditional 3D CAD tools.

Mark Crundle, RS Components“The launch of DesignSpark Mechanical is the first time a 3D design tool with this level of sophistication has been made freely available. Engineers will love using modelling software that is so intuitive and flexible,” said Crundle (pictured alongside).

Users appear to be responding positively with over 42,000 downloads of DesignSpark Mechanical in the first week iteslf. "The number two city in the world for downloads is Sydney," says Crundle. "Melbourne comes in at number four."

“The use of DesignSpark Mechanical early in the design cycle can eliminate much of the time-consuming rework associated with traditional product development processes. This is a highly significant initiative that helps engineers bring innovative products to market quickly as DesignSpark Mechanical’s Standard Template Library (STL) output format enables direct export of designs to 3D printers.”

With access to more than 38,000 3D models in the DesignSpark online component library, DesignSpark Mechanical gives engineers the ability to rapidly undertake an end-to-end design with professional-grade modelling tools that are available at zero cost.

RS Components has also collaborated with 3D content company TraceParts to provide access to millions of models from the online tracepartsonline.net CAD portal in DesignSpark Mechanical’s format.

“RS Components is partnering with SpaceClaim to launch DesignSpark Mechanical, which combines the power and ease-of-use of direct modelling technology from SpaceClaim with access to the massive RS’ library of standard parts, trusted by millions of engineers around the world,” said Rich Moore, vice president of business development for SpaceClaim.

“Feature-based CAD is more difficult to learn, compared with DesignSpark Mechanical. Users can now rapidly create 3D models to accelerate engineering design and improve their competitive advantage.”

The active base of 3D CAD seats globally is currently estimated at approximately 1.5 million. However, it is also estimated that there are an additional 20 million engineers globally who do not currently use 3D CAD, but could significantly benefit from a tool such as DesignSpark Mechanical.

It will enable design engineers not only to be more creative, but will also support a more efficient product development process, allowing the production of professional concepts right through to delivering highly detailed and dimensioned manufacturing blueprints.

DesignSpark Mechanical employs a methodology called ‘direct modelling’, which is different from traditional feature- or parametric-based 3D CAD software.

The tool uses simple gestures that enable real-time editing and instant feedback, making it possible for engineers and others to create geometry and easily explore ideas and product concepts in 3D.

Mike Brojak, RS ComponentsMike Brojak (pictured alongside), Applications Manager, RS Components did a quick demo at the Sydney launch and was able to create a 3D model in minutes.

All basic designs are accomplished via the use of the software’s four basic tools – Pull, Move, Fill and Combine – in addition to its employment of Windows keyboard shortcuts such as cut/paste, undo/redo, which makes it intuitive for new users.

It took Brojak ten hours to get familiar with the software and this easy-to-learn abiity is attracting the attention of educational institutions.

The software can also be used as a complementary 3D tool in the product development process for the creation of early concept designs, for instance, alongside 3D CAD tools that are already in use today.

The tool can remove bottlenecks in the early design process by allowing changes and additions in seconds, rather than having to wait for the CAD department using the traditional 3D tools to rework the design.

3D designs can also be exported in STL, the standard file format to enable rapid prototyping builds and computer-aided manufacturing, in addition to providing the ability to quickly obtain Bill-of-Materials (BOM) quotes via the RS Components website.

The tool can also import circuit layout files in Intermediate Data Format (IDF) format from any Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design tool, including the DesignSpark PCB software.

DesignSpark Mechanical will be available for free download viawww.designspark.com/mechanical. Support for the tool is available from the DesignSpark community at www.designspark.com.