Composing SolidWorks Content With 3DVIA

Last week I was in L.A. for 3DVIA Composer training and I wanted to take a moment to outline how this tool can complement a company using SolidWorks for their product design. For those of you who have not heard of 3DVIA Composer it is a content creation tool that is a conduit between the CAD tool and the document authoring tool like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign. 3DVIA can read in a number of file formats including SolidWorks, PRO/E and Catia and allow a non-CAD technical writer to take the 3D content and build high resolution raster graphics, technical illustrations and interactive 3D animations. This content can then be embedded into the document authoring tool as an object or pushed out to a video or website for true 3D documentation and interaction with the desired audience. Many of the CAD tools like SolidWorks have tools to create images and renderings as well as animations. The content that 3DVIA builds can add features like balloons, labels, interactive buttons allowing a step by step assembly instruction to be created as well as more complex viewing tools like dynamic sectioning and the Digger! The Digger is one of the tools that definitely makes 3DVIA turn heads. This tool has a subset of tools that will allow you to "peel" layers away from an assembly known as the Onion Skin, similar to doing a dynamic break away section. It also has an X-Ray feature that can control the transparency of the objects that are being "seen through". Tools like this can completely transform the way that products are communicated to the people that use them or maintain them. Because 3DVIA Composer reads CAD data directly, it also has the ability to automate the update process as changes occur in the CAD model. This is where much of the time savings can be found. Change is a constant! The ability to make a change in a design and propagate that change throughout the design efficiently is the key to successful product development. One of the most impressive features about 3D VIA was how quickly it can be learned and how it can enhance the documentation creation process. This product is in no way a replacement for any tools that most companies already have but a way to speed up the process of documenting CAD data. Many companies still do a fair amount of 2D documentation and 3D VIA can increase the efficiency of that process as well as paving a way for a future with utilizing 3D documentation. I recorded a full podcast of this tool and the different modules 3DVIA has to offer in episode 141. For more information about 3DVIA Composer please visit their webiste or you can visit which is their blog and podcast site! ~Lou