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Free programs make it easy to share CAD files

01 November, 2005

Free programs make it easy to share CAD files

Two free programs released recently will make it easier and cheaper for engineers to distribute and share CAD (computer-aided design) files.

The first program comes from Autodesk, the company behind the market-leading AutoCAD software. The latest version of its DWF Writer package allows engineers using other 3D design applications such as SolidWorks and Pro/Engineer to share DWF file format versions of product models with other people.

DWF is an open, standards-based file format that allows complex mechanical drawings and 3D models to be shared via emails or the Internet. The new software allows designers to save their models and design data as DWF files and to share them securely with product teams, including non-technical members.

The second program, from SolidWorks, allows users to publish AutoCAD designs as PDFs, making it easy for engineers to share designs with anyone, even if they do not have AutoCAD software. The files can be viewed using Adobe`s free Acrobat reader software.

The DWGgateway data translation tool can also be used to solve compatibility issues between old and new versions of AutoCAD. This avoids the need for users to upgrade their AutoCAD software simply to view files created by users of newer versions.




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