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Free 3D CAD modelling software is given an upgrade

20 November, 2018

RS Components has released a new version of its free 3D CAD modelling tool, DesignSpark Mechanical. Version 4.0 – the first update for three years – offers new functions and a more intelligent design engine, as well as being faster. The additions and enhancements are based on feedback from users.

Version 4.0 of DesignSpark Mechanical is claimed to be the first free software tool that integrates with the popular, open-source slicing software, Ultimaker Cura, allowing users to optimise designs for 3D printing using expert-tested profiles, and to streamline workflows. This development is the result of a close collaboration between RS and Ultimaker, one of the world’s biggest 3D printing companies.

There are several enhancements to the software’s user interface as well as a new blend (or “loft”) tool that can be used to create rotational, periodic or sheet metal blends. There is a new auto-save function, plus the ability to analyse solid body geometries for errors, with tips on how to fix them.

Other features of Version 4.0 include: support for 4K and ultra-HD monitors, switching between multiple graphics-rendering drivers and modes; the ability to export 3D geometries into the DreamWorks open-source OpenVDB file format; and various bug fixes. The tool supports 14 new languages: Czech, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Korean, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Thai and Turkish.

“This new version of DesignSpark Mechanical further raises the bar for free and low-cost 3D CAD modelling tools in terms of usability and performance,” says DesignSpark vice-president, Mike Bray. “The update to Version 4.0 is another example of our commitment to continually enhancing and improving the DesignSpark suite.

The new version of RS Components' DesignSpark Mechanical helps users to optimise their designs for 3D printing

"Maintaining its underlying philosophy," he adds, "our software is absolutely free for use – not just for our customers, but for everyone. Our fundamental aim is to reduce barriers for engineers, removing prohibitive costs that can often stop many of the best ideas from becoming reality.”

More than 200,000 copies of DesignSpark Mechanical have been downloaded since its launch in 2013. RS developed the software in conjunction with SpaceClaim. It is aimed at mechanical and electronic engineers, professional designers and students, and allows them to prototype or reverse-engineer any physical object rapidly.

The new version of DesignSpark Mechanical is available to download from here.

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