I haven't had time to take a detailed look, but my impression is that DS Mech is a useful tool for many (especially for EE folks -- note the IDF import feature) but has been carefully tailored (like all the other free/low cost 3D MCAD tools from MCAD vendors) not to impact SpaceClaim's revenue stream.
In all disciplines, good design is hard; you can give a ME the easiest to use PCB design software, but they'll still have problems designing RF PCBs...or you can give an expert EE super easy to use MCAD software, but they'll still having problems doing, say, modern swoopy designs.
While I appreciate the value of your libraries to many, and I think it's great that you make this tool available free, I believe my comments stand. At least in the documentation you provide, there is no mention of loft or sweep. Perhaps you can tell me what menu item provides that access or point me to the tutorial that discusses it?
As far as learning curve: a look at your documentation, tools shown on your menus, and your tutorial material certainly indicates that DesignSpark is no easier, nor more difficult, than other CAD packages. I see nothing that makes me think it is super-easy to learn.
So unless the libraries are of over-riding importance (and they will be to some folks), I think time is better spent learning a tool with a fuller set of capabilities. I would amend this depending on the answer to the question at the end of my first paragraph.
Thanks for your interest and comments!
Like any application, one needs to learn some basics to get started. There is no need for formal training with DesignSpark mechanical and I would say our "learning curve" is very short indeed when compared with other 3d tools. Loft blend and sweep are all there, along with several other powerful tools. Our intention here first and foremost is to support the global engineering community, Allied and RS customers with access to a great tool - in addition to the ability to rapidly creat and edit accurate geometry we give access to over 38,000 components from our product offer and the ability to generate an accurate quote for your design. For product proposals, concept work, prototyping and onwards we feel we are giving engineers a hugely capable tool that addresses the needs of a huge number of engineers that haven't been able to leverage the benefits of 3d design to date. The ability to access our library and get a quote from us saves huge amounts of time and shortens the design cycle for our customers - the ability to import the entire trace parts online library and import from sketchup have also been very well received thus far!
Anyway, I don't want to list a bunch of features here that are easy to find elsewhere, just to conclude by saying thanks for your interest and if you get time to fully evaluate the product we will gratefully welcome your feedback. We will continue to listen to our customers & users and adapt to their needs (e.g. In the case of DesignSpark PCB). If you are happy with the two products mentioned below that you are using for 3d modelling today that's super too :)
I'd wait till max gives his a try and posts his thoughts. You never know what the quality of a 3d printer is right now. It is almost like the wild west where anyone can claim anything and no one will argue. The printer I currently have is less than optimal, so I'm curious about Max's as well.
That is wonderful news for fresh engineer and young hobbyist. Also check element14 community. Along with very low price tools like Eagle for PCB and other, they also provide technical support by volunteer expert engineer.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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