Announcing CAD Exchanger SDK 3.8.0 With PTC Creo, Siemens NX and 3MF support

In 3.8.0 we added FOUR new file formats: Creo, Siemens NX, 3MF and DXF import. In addition to that, we made some improvements in SolidWorks, JT, STEP, IFC, Parasolid, ACIS and X3D.

Ramil Gasanov
4 min read

Hey there!

This time we roll out a truly special release. Like everybody in this world, our team has been affected by the virus pandemic and government measures, so we had to change the usual working mode in favor of remote. However despite the hit, the team has been extremely agile to accommodate the changes, and neither release scope with HUGE exciting features nor the schedule has been negatively affected.

In 3.8.0 we added FOUR new file formats; PTC Creo, NX, 3MF and DXF import. In addition to that, we made some improvements in SolidWorks, JT, STEP, IFC, Parasolid, ACIS and X3D.

PTC Creo, Siemens NX, 3MF and DXF

By introducing new formats we help our end-users work with a broader range of partners, suppliers and customers as CAD Exchanger allows them to speak more and more “CAD languages”. We constantly work on expansion of the supported file formats. We listen to our customers and their feedback influences the priority. So if your favorite format is not in the list yet do share your feedback below.

PTC Creo

PTC Pro/Engineer and then Creo have been strong players for decades with significant “digital footprint” as measured by the amount of native Creo files. Recent acquisition of OnShape by PTC will likely drive growth of Creo files used for data exchange in design workflows. So if you already deal with Creo files or anticipate this in the future, CAD Exchanger will likely be of help offering conversion from Creo to numerous CAD formats.

CAD Exchanger can read *.asm and *.prt files. Also, Creo has the specifics in saving the revision of the file into the extension, so Creo’s files may look like this: file_name.prt.1

Siemens NX

Siemens NX, one of the major CAD systems by Siemens is actively leveraged in automotive, aerospace and general MCAD environments. For Siemens NX users, CAD Exchanger had been providing support in the form of the JT format as the closest ally for years. With CAD Exchanger 3.8.0, we provide direct support of this native file format.

By default, Siemens NX saves files with *.prt extension which can contain both parts and assemblies.


3MF stands for 3D Manufacturing Format and was developed by the 3MF consortium as the most 3D printing-friendly file format. The main goal of the consortium is to develop the standard that meets modern world requirements. For example, STL, currently dominating the 3D printing domain, is the poorest CAD file format. It is basically ‘a soup of triangles’ without even any connectivity information, precise B-Rep geometries or even colors (unless you apply a special ‘hack‘ which will not be understood by most CAD readers). Other mesh formats (such OBJ or VRML) are most suited for visualization and have limited adoption in 3D printing. 3MF is aimed to serve the 3D printing industry and, by the way, is natively supported by Windows 10. That means in particular that everyone outside the CAD/CAM world, who might come across 3D files, will still be able to open them with Paint 3D and 3D viewer pre-installed in Windows 10.

3MF comes with a *.3mf extension.


Originally developed by Autodesk to enable interoperability of AutoCAD with other CAD software, DXF was used actively in the early days. Today it’s more common to use AutoCAD-native DWG, but there is still a lot of legacy DXF data out there. CAD Exchanger has been supporting DXF export since 2019. With version 3.8.0 we introduce DXF import. As of now, users will be able to import mesh models from DXF. Future releases will add support for precise B-Rep geometries.

DXF files use a *.dxf extension.

Visualization Component: ‘Exploded’ view

Previously available in CAD Exchanger GUI only, exploded view has been one of its most visually stunning features. Often you may encounter gorgeous 3D models that gracefully decompose on the screen and you just can’t take your eyes off them. There is a practical value behind the visual beauty. Exploded views are useful then you have to understand the contents of the model. For that, you may ‘slice’ the model, disable certain parts of the assembly or ‘explode’ the model. And all of these tools are now available for SDK customers in CAD Exchanger 3.8.0.

Visualization Component: displaying graphical PMI

For the past few years, PMI has been gaining momentum. Therefore software vendors, working on engineering applications, are gradually enabling PMI in their applications. To meet that demand, we are expanding PMI support, as it is an integral part of CAD data. We’ve already enabled reading and writing of semantic and graphical PMI and PMI associations. The release 3.8.0 introduces PMI display through our visualization component.

With the help of CAD Exchanger SDK, software developers may now read, create and display PMI in their apps, and write PMI to STEP and JT, thus covering the full scope of PMI workflow.

C#: Significant robustness improvements

In 3.8.0 we significantly reworked C# and Java support by making much more robust wrappers over underlying C++-based implementation. Analyzing customers’ reports of sporadic crashes we root-caused them to aggressive behavior of the C# garbage collector which deemed some C# objects to be destruction-ready whereas they still had inter-dependencies at the underlying C++ level.

Thanks to this rework effort the code is now protected against such behavior and the life span is preserved.

Although the source compatibility is preserved, we recommend you to double-check C# examples to make sure your SDK usage follows recommendations.

Java libraries now available on Linux and Android

CAD Exchanger SDK is truly cross-platform and supports multiple OSes, architectures, languages and compilers. Java support which was previously limited to Windows and MacOS only has been expanded to Linux and Android.

Ramil Gasanov

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