I read the Sept. 21 article ``CAD files vex designers'' about problems transferring computer-aided-design files. I worked in the automotive side of CAD design in Grand Rapids, Mich. Although I had little problem transferring General Motors and Ford files, problems did exist.
I used Computervision at one engineering company that read files in without any problems. Another company hired us to read in their files, since we had a system to get it across when they could not.
Ford had Computervision and went to SDRC, which I find very cumbersome to use.
In 1992 I left automotive design for the consumer electronics arena. I still use Computervision CADDS 5, working in explicit and parametrics. I also entered another field I found interesting that gave me more areas in which CAD is used.
After reading the article on CAD file frustrations, I believe I can direct the automotive industry's attention to a possible solution. It is working for us while a new standard (STEP) is in the works. I have integrated the steps this other ``industry'' uses in getting CAD files to move from platform to platform.
This other, new industry is the 3-D modeling and rendering/ animation group. They use CAD files from every system known. They have gone through the translation pains and have developed some good conversion avenues in their programs, such as 3D Studio, Ray Dream Studio, LightWave and InfiniD, to mention a few.
There are solid-modeling programs with user-defined IGES translators.
One beta program I have writes out to 16 different formats for a wide variety of rendering and animation programs and to Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Word meta files. I use this program for a go-between from the CAD UNIX side to the PC CAD/graphics/communications and MacIntosh side.
Perhaps the automotive computer-aided-design industry could find some less frustrating avenues instead of the roads paved with mud or potholes.
Moving from automotive to office furniture original equipment manufacturer components to consumer electronics design, I have seen many solutions to each problem of file transfer. I have learned much from the 3-D modeling and rendering group to help me transfer files where I am now.
Each CAD vendor, in my view, has developed a program for the user, who has to use the program to design his or her project. That has been one stage in CAD evolution. But the stage should have included the part beyond the walls of the design house to the external platforms.
In the auto industry's early days there were many manufacturers; today there are the Big Three. Like the auto industry, the CAD industry will perhaps, to some extent, go through the same shakedown.
Thomson Consumer Electronics