Moving From a 2D to 3D Design World

Think3's updated software gives engineers an enhanced view of their products.

Looking to change the mechanical design world from a 2D centric environment to one that includes 3D design and elements of Product Data Management [PDM], think3 Inc. next week will announce two new upgrades to its suite of software offerings.

Extending the role of PDM to incorporate order possessing and design automation, think3 will introduce the next iteration of its thinkteam software, thinkteam 8.0.

Thinkteam enables large groups of engineers to capture, organize, automate and share product information, including standard components, documents, part numbers, bills of material and active projects.

The idea is that with thinkteam, partners, suppliers and related internal groups can quickly access relevant product information and forgo complex implementations.

In conjunction with the release of thinkteam 8.0, think3 will also release the same version of its thinkdesign software.

Thinkdesign 8.0 is a significant upgrade that incorporates 2D, 3D design and PDM into a single solution.

The bottom line with the integrated technologies is companies will have an easier time of staying on top of sophisticated product, feature and packaging combinations throughout a products lifecycle, said think3 Chairman and CEO Joe Costello.

However, most of the design work today is being done in 2D only, according to Costello, in Santa Clara, Calif.

"3D systems today have no compatibility with the 2D world and no legacy system connection. The systems are completely incompatible," said Costello. "On a single design you have to have ways to manage the data, and you want the [designs] to be integrated. Thats what customers are looking for, to be integrated with PDM, and thats what think3 is delivering."

Its also too expensive for companies to work in 3D—software ranges between $15,000 and $25,000 versus $1,200 for 2D software—and 3D has a 12- to 18-month learning curve, he said.

"The high-end guys are not re-investing in the core design space," said Costello, "and there are still huge issues with design."

To that end, teamdesign 8.0 adds new features that ease the transition from 2D to 3D, help manage the complexity of working with large assemblies and provide a more intuitive user interface.

The product is geared towards design engineers in the machine and industrial design space. Machine design customers will see significant enhancements to assembly, sheet metal, annotations, 2D drafting and the importing of 2D legacy data—a key in enabling 2D and 3D to interact.

In addition, the latest iteration of thinkdesign includes symbolic references, which allows a much higher reliability of parametric solid modeling.

Industrial design customers will notice enhancements in global shape modeling and parting plane associability with parametric solid modeling.

Thinkdesign will be available next week. Pricing starts at $1,995 per seat annually. Thinkteam is sold as an add-on to thinkdesign.