After receiving an award of seed funding through InReach Ventures in August of this year, today Shapr3D, a Budapest based company, announced the positive results of their collaborative effort with Siemens PLM and Tech Soft 3D to develop the first CAD system capable of running Siemens Parasolid Software and HOOPS Exchange on iOS. The founder and CEO of Shapr3D, István Csanady, described the circumstances that led to the development of the project:
“The barrier to entry with CAD software is high in the case of traditional CAD tools that are complicated and expensive. We want to make 3D CAD modeling available for all creative professionals, and now, all you need is an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and some inspiration. We are creating modeling for the 21st century, enabling 3D modeling anytime, anywhere in a new way that is much easier and much more affordable.”
The advantage of this program is that it allows many people to move into what would have been their natural workflow had they not been tied to a laptop or desktop by the requirements of their CAD modeling software. The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil work to allow designers to create sketches for explorative models wherever they happen to be. Partnering this with the ease of use of Shapr3D provides a powerful new tool to today’s designers. As Class Kuhnen, industrial design professor at Wayne State University, explained:
“Design in the age of 3D printing is really being democratized, meaning more people can have access to those tools now than ever before. However, currently there are two big problems present. First, those industrial design strength applications have a very steep learning curve because you not only need to learn the tools but also the workflow and the processes you have to use to generate your model data. And second, most times you are locked into a desktop or laptop device interacting with the software via a keyboard, mouse and trackpad. This is not natural.”
Parasolid is the world’s leading 3D solid modeling component software and HOOPS Exchange is the leading CAD translation software development kit (SDK). This latest release of Shapr3D allows solid modeling and data translation for Parasolid and HOOPS Exchange to occur locally within an app, something that was made practical by the invention of the Apple Pencil, a pressure sensitive, active stylus. In addition to the intuitive modeling possibilities presented with this release of Shapr3D, a further advantage is that everything runs locally on the iPad Pro. Instead of pushing files or rendering jobs up to a cloud, all data is stored and secured on the user’s device. This means it can be used even without an internet connection.
What the app also hopes to excel at is the general user experience/user interface (UX/UI). This newest version of Shapr3D promises to be even more intuitive and user friendly, built to reflect the way that designers approach creation as well as have a slick, attractive interface. As Csanady explained in a 2016 interview with SolidSmack:
“If you look at CAD software, it usually looks like it was designed in the 1980s (for the most part it was), and you need to watch hours of tutorial videos on YouTube before you are able to make even very simple things. We have a mantra at Shapr3D: Easy stuff should be easy, and hard stuff must not be impossible. This is what I miss most from 3D modeling software. I think the CAD industry could learn a lot from the vibrant mobile app scene…user experience is extremely important…This is one of the many reasons we are working on Shapr3D, we want to provide an amazing user experience.”
In addition to improvements to the user interface, Shapr3D hopes to reach out to students as a viable 3D modeling tool for their education. As such, they are making the pro version of their software free to individual students, teachers, and faculty members from accredited educational institutions. This makes sense; after all, students are their future clients and teachers their strongest recruiting tool. And free is exactly the price point that most users in education like best. In Csanady’s words:
“While most of our users have been professionals such as product designers, engineers, architects, jewelry designers, and 3D printing hobbyists, we also have users from MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Duke Columbia, Cambridge, University of Tokyo, Singapore Polytechnic and many other schools worldwide. We see this as an opportunity to empower as many students as possible, all over the world, to fuel their creativity and design aspirations. To help them, we are offering the Educational license for free.”
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