The IGES format was developed to provide a universal standard for exchanging 3D data between different CAD software applications. IGES files, represented in ASCII text, contain information about the geometry, structure, and attributes of 3D objects.
The IGES format enables users to share complex CAD models while preserving the integrity of the data. It supports the representation of both 2D and 3D geometries, allowing for the exchange of points, curves, surfaces, and solids.
CAD Exchanger can import IGES format files up to version 5.3, export IGES format files version 5.3. Such support includes:
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IGES has been a long-standing industry standard for data exchange since its development in the late 1970s. Many CAD systems, both old and new, have built-in support for importing and exporting IGES files. This enables easy collaboration and data sharing between different software platforms, regardless of the specific CAD system being used.
For a format that is over 35 years old, IGES provides good capabilities for representing B-Rep and even representing rigid bodies, including information on connectivity. Combined with the advantages indicated above, it makes the IGES format relevant and actively used to this day.
The IGES format has some limitations when it comes to fully representing B-Rep geometry. While it can effectively preserve basic geometric information like points, curves, and surfaces, there are difficulties with edge connectivity information. Most CAD writers use the older and limited capabilities of representing B-Rep through bounded and trimmed surface entities. These entities can not contain comprehensive information about the surface topology of bodies. As a result, models written in this form often have inconsistent edge orientations.
The IGES format does not have a standardized way to represent or store PMI data. As a result, when exporting a CAD model with PMI to an IGES file, this valuable information is typically lost or not accurately transferred. This limitation can have significant implications for downstream processes, as manufacturers may rely on PMI data for carrying out manufacturing operations, quality control, and documentation.
To overcome the weakness, newer formats, such as STEP, have been developed to support the inclusion and preservation of PMI data. These formats provide dedicated mechanisms to store and communicate PMI information, allowing for a more comprehensive exchange of design intent and manufacturing specifications.
Yes, it is. The IGES file format specification defines the structure and syntax of IGES files, ensuring consistency and compatibility.
Header section contains general information about the file, such as software details and creation date. Start section defines the units of measurement, coordinate system, and other global parameters. Global section describes the overall structure of the file, including directories, lists, and relationships between entities. Directory section serves as an index for entities, assigning unique numeric identifiers and specifying their location within the file. Parameter data section contains the geometric and topological information of entities. Terminate section marks the end of the file.
The file extensions used for the IGES file format are ".igs" and ".iges". Both extensions are widely recognized and can be used interchangeably to indicate files that conform to the IGES format.
To open an IGES file, you will need a compatible software application such as CAD Exchanger Lab. Start by launching the software and navigate to the 'New file' option. Next, find the IGES file (.igs or .iges) you want to open. Once you've located the file, simply select it and click "Open". The software will then initiate the import process, and once it's complete, the 3D model and its associated data will be loaded into the software. From there, you can easily view and interact with the 3D model.
The history of the IGES format dates back to the late 1970s when it was developed to address the need for a universal standard for exchanging 3D CAD data. At the time, there was a lack of interoperability between different CAD systems, making it difficult to share and collaborate on designs.
To overcome this challenge, the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology) initiated the development of IGES in collaboration with industry leaders. The goal was to create a format that would allow for the seamless exchange of geometric and topological data between different CAD systems.
In 1980, the first version of the IGES format, known as IGES 1.0, was published. It provided a standardized structure and syntax for representing 3D CAD data, allowing for the transfer of geometric entities, attributes, and relationships. Over the years, subsequent versions were released, introducing enhancements and addressing the evolving needs of the industry. Today, the most widely used version is IGES 5.3, which was released in 1996 and is still in use today.
While newer formats have emerged with improved capabilities, IGES remains relevant, particularly for legacy systems and situations where basic geometric exchange is the primary requirement.
SOLIDWORKS is a proprietary format, used by the SOLIDWORKS software, a professional 3D CAD software application. It utilizes the file extensions ".sldprt" for part files and ".sldasm" for assembly files. In this format, all the necessary geometric information, features, dimensions, constraints, and other design data are stored to represent and document a 3D model.
CAD Exchanger can read files from version 2004 to version 2023. Such support includes:
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The SOLIDWORKS format contains comprehensive design information. It includes not only the 3D geometry of the part or assembly but also feature history, dimensions, constraints, materials, and other design parameters. This level of detail allows for easy modification, analysis, and collaboration within the SOLIDWORKS ecosystem.
SOLIDWORKS is a widely adopted CAD software, and its proprietary format is supported by various CAD tools, engineering applications, and manufacturing processes. This compatibility ensures seamless data exchange and collaboration between different stakeholders, such as designers, engineers, and manufacturers. Using the SOLIDWORKS format facilitates effective communication and streamlines the workflow throughout the product development lifecycle.
The SOLIDWORKS format is proprietary, meaning it is owned and controlled by Dassault Systèmes, the company behind SolidWorks. As we wrote above, this format is widely used in engineering and manufacturing, but there are still softwares and tools that do not support SOLIDWORKS, due to its proprietary nature. While SolidWorks does provide options to export to various standard formats like STEP or IGES, the main challenge is that neutral formats do not contain all the design information, but only the final result of the design process. Also, there may be challenges in maintaining full fidelity and compatibility when working with other CAD systems.
Managing a large number of files when working with complex models can become challenging, especially when it comes to transferring data. Some files can be lost or deliberately hidden. Without all the files together, the user only has an approximate model geometry in the form of a polygonal mesh, but all design information, including the exact geometry, is missing.
The file extension ".sldprt" is used for SOLIDWORKS part files. They are the building blocks of assemblies and are created and modified within the SOLIDWORKS environment.
For assembly files, SOLIDWORKS uses the ".sldasm" extension. Assembly files represent the coming together of multiple parts into a larger, functional unit. They are essential for visualizing and analyzing the interaction between different components.
Drawing files in SOLIDWORKS have the ".slddrw" extension. These files contain 2D representations of parts or assemblies. They enable the generation of design documentation suitable for further usage in product lifecycle, in particular they serve as blueprints for creating physical parts.
SOLIDWORKS also utilizes template files for creating new documents. Template files have the extensions ".prtdot" for part templates and ".asmdot" for assembly templates. These files define the default settings, styles, formats, and other parameters for creating a new part or assembly documents.
Additionally, SOLIDWORKS features a library feature functionality that allows users to create reusable design elements. Feature files for library features use the ".sldlfp" extension. These files define specific features that can be applied to parts or assemblies, saving time and effort by enabling the reuse of complex or commonly used design elements.
To open this file, you will need a compatible software application, for example, CAD Exchanger Lab. Launch the software and navigate to the 'New file' option. Browse your computer's directories and locate the file you want to open. Then select it and click "Open". Once the import process is complete, the file should be loaded into the software, allowing you to view and interact with the 3D model and associated data.
The SOLIDWORKS format history dates back to the early 1990s when SolidWorks brand was founded by Jon Hirschtick. The goal was to create a user-friendly, parametric 3D modeling software that would revolutionize the CAD industry.
In 1995, the first version of SOLIDWORKS was released, introducing a groundbreaking approach to 3D modeling. As SOLIDWORKS gained popularity, it expanded its capabilities and introduced new features with each subsequent release. The software focused on improving design efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration.
In 1997, Dassault Systèmes, a renowned software company, acquired SolidWorks Corporation, bringing SOLIDWORKS into its product portfolio. The SOLIDWORKS format has become a standard in the CAD industry.
Today, SOLIDWORKS remains one of the most widely used CAD software packages, serving millions of users worldwide. Its continuous development, integration with other technologies, and commitment to user-friendly design have solidified its position as a leading CAD solution in the industry.
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