RS Components’ DesignSpark Mechanical, a free 3D design tool downloadable from the DesignSpark website goes live today (September 16).

Martin Keenan, Head of Applications Strategy at RS Components says the newly minted 3D software overcomes two big hurdles for companies looking to embrace 3D design – the prohibitive cost of traditional 3D design tools and the investment in training. This is especially daunting for small to medium sized companies (SMEs) who might otherwise embrace the technology.

DesignSpark online has 38,000 3D models in the the DesignSpark online component library. As one RS insider admitted the cost and complexity of traditional CAD tools deterred engineers.

That’s why RS has worked with Traceparts, a 3D content supplier to provide access to millions of models from the tracepartsonline CAD portal in the DesignSpark Mechanical format.

The new modelling and design tool is based on four basic commands – pull/move/fill/combine. Keenan described to the new tool as “totally intuitive” and added that new users can learn how to use the design tool in minutes.

The design tool was developed by RS Components in collaboration with SpaceClaim, a US-based supplier of 3D modelling software.

Keenan cited five key reasons to use the news 3D tool.

* User does not have to be a CAD expert.
* Electronics and mechanical design integrated with DesignSparkPCB.
* Access to off the shelf designs from RS.
* Compatibility with 3D printers.
* Ability to collaborate with colleagues, customers early in the design process to quickly accommodate changes and additions without recourse to a separate CAD department to rework a design.

Designers can also import IDF files from PCB design tools including Orcad, Altium, DesignSparkPCB and Eagle.

A bill of materials display can be called up that is connected to the RS quote system, enabling designers to keep track on project costs.

The tool is available in 11 different languages and offers a simple interface to costing and ordering products. Multiple imports are offered including STED, OBJ, and SketchPad. Export include AutoCad, OBJ, STL and 3D-PDF.


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