Art CAD specialised in shape shifting features because it based on mesh for surface manipulation, whereas Engineer CAD Has a feature tree (history), it can measure it great detail and can output 2D drawings for manufacturing.
I haven’t used SpaceClaim myself, but it seem like a type of engineer CAD that specialised in mesh, because mesh based CAD are designed for computer simulation i.e. FEA, CFD or animation & rendering. e.g. SolidWorks and ProE isn’t meshed based (maybe Catia?).
I know of this because I’ve used ANSYS before (who own SpaceClaim) and at one point with Nastran (difficult to use)
Most CAM accept STL as it can easier to convert to on G-codes, but doesn’t mean tooling designer like using STL as they prefer STEP;
Most CMM uses point cloud data (basically STL ASCII), but guess what they used in their software (STEP) to be imported for overlay measurement to compare the difference.
I’m guessing your are a Simulation Engineer? If so, do you know any Mechanical Design Engineers & manufacturer & tool makers who widely uses 3MF or STL instead of STEP? Have you seen people use 3D max or Maya or other Art CAD for manufacturing (even though it doesn’t have 2D technical drawing)?
It seriously prohibit manufacturing if the 3D CAD software doesn’t support 2d technical drawing.
Please look at their FAQ
Eventhough 3mf themselves were created not to replace STEP for manufacturing, as 3mf are specifically for 3d printing (with colour).
I suspected you already knew STL has 2 variant (Binary & ASCII), but 3mf isn’t binary, it basically a compressed STL ASCII with colour information. 3mf are only useful if your 3d printer have more than one material colour like dual extruder FDM or polyjet SLA, evenghough most (if not all) 3d machines already accept STL binary.
Image below indicate the time to save a file and file size of ASCII format for both 3mf & STL
Our current workflow:
So every time when I created a production 3D model just before sending it to the toolmaker I had to > first copy and modify the CAD model i.e. simplify it > then send to 3d printer > test & verify the print > tweak the production model (if necessary) > send to tool maker.
This is a common, but lengthy practice within the design & manufacturing sector This also means we have to treat any exported files like STL, STEP, 2D PDFs drawings & others to be controlled by PDM workflow. Even if the file structure to be done manually, it can still be an issue as I’ve been in a PDM administrator position as well (even though it can be dependent on what PDM software that you use).
I’m not here to suggest removing STL from Preform, but introduce additional format like STEP.
Since many people here seem to think STL is superior to STEP, then can someone explain the huge discrepancy of different file format in Solidworks?
STL: (as shown above to test out file transfer size & time e.g. SW > STL > SW)
when open SW - 7.44mb at 2.91s > When saved STL = 521mb at 54.07s > when open STL at 36.96s > when STL saved to SW = 382mb at 17.20s
when open SW - 7.44mb at 2.91s > When saved 3mf = 132mb at 8m15s > when open 3mf (more than 15 minute before crashing)
Parasolid Binary (x_b):
when open SW - 7.44mb at 2.91s > When saved x_b = 0.98mb at less than 1s > when open x_b at less than 3m > when x_b saved to SW = 2.79mb at less than 2s
when open SW - 7.44mb at 2.91s > When saved ProE = 5.16mb at 11.56s > when open Pro E at 13.92s (knitted to form solid)> when ProE saved to SW = 2.82mb at less than 2 sec
when open SW - 7.44mb at 2.91s > When saved STEP = 8.82mb at less than 3s > when open STEP at 10.15s > when STEP saved to SW = 1.98mb (ASM) +1.04mb (PART) at less than 3s
It a basic test, but it already showing a huge disadvantage for me when using solidworks with STL or 3mf , I believe same can be said to any 3D Engineer CAD that doesn’t use mesh by default.