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.
The FBX format, also known as FilmBox, is a flexible file format that finds extensive use in the entertainment industry for storing 3D models, animations, and associated digital assets. Created by Autodesk, it is commonly employed in video games, movies, and VR applications. FBX files act as comprehensive repositories, preserving essential details such as 3D shapes, textures, animations, and more.
CAD Exchanger can import any FBX files and export FBX files of version 7.2, 7.4, and 7.5 in Binary and ASCII format. Such support includes:
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One of the major advantages of this format is its versatility and compatibility. FBX files can be easily shared and utilized across various softwares, making it convenient for collaboration between designers and game developers. FBX guarantees effortless transfer and utilization of 3D models and animations across diverse software environments.
FBX files store a wide range of information related to 3D assets, providing a comprehensive solution for content creators. This format allows you to store geometry, textures, animations, lighting, materials, and more in a single file. This comprehensive data storage capability simplifies asset management, ensuring that all the necessary components are packaged together and can be easily accessed or modified as needed.
One of the drawbacks of FBX is that it is a proprietary file format owned by Autodesk. This means that the specifications of the format are not publicly available, making it more challenging for third-party developers to create software that fully supports FBX. While Autodesk provides an SDK for FBX, the closed nature of the format can sometimes limit interoperability with certain software applications.
FBX files can sometimes be quite large, especially when they contain complex geometry, high-resolution textures, or numerous animations. This can pose challenges when it comes to file storage and transfer, particularly for projects with limited bandwidth or storage capacity. Files may require additional time and resources for processing, potentially impacting workflow efficiency.
While the complete specification is not publicly available, Autodesk provides an SDK Programmer's Guide that allows developers to work with FBX files and access the necessary information.
This file format itself does not require any specific sub-extensions, as the ".fbx" extension alone is sufficient to identify the file as an FBX file.
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 .fbx file you want to open. Then select it and click "Open". Once the import process is complete, the .obj file should be loaded into the software, allowing you to view and interact with the 3D model and associated data.
FBX was initially developed by Kaydara, a Canadian software company, in the late 1990s. The purpose behind creating FBX was to provide a universal file format that could facilitate the exchange of 3D content.
In 2006, Autodesk, a leading software company, acquired Kaydara and took ownership of this format. Autodesk continued to develop and enhance this format, expanding its capabilities and compatibility with their various software applications such as Autodesk Maya and MotionBuilder. With Autodesk's support and resources, FBX gained even more traction and became widely adopted in the industry.
Throughout its evolution, FBX has expanded its capabilities to encompass an extensive array of features. These include geometry, textures, animations, cameras, lights, materials, and more. As a result, it has emerged as a widely accepted format for exchanging 3D assets, not just within Autodesk software, but also across diverse software applications from different vendors.
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