A Closer Look At 3D InterOp And 3D ACIS Modeler Release 23

Today Spatial released the twenty third version of 3D InterOp, its 3D data exchange libraries, and 3D ACIS Modeler, its 3D modeling kernel. From the release notes of this version I see that are some pretty neat enhancements. One of them made me say to myself, “At last!”.

The 3D InterOp SolidWorks Reader is being replaced with a new reader based on native SolidWorks libraries.

Spatial is owned by Dassault Systems and so is SolidWorks. So it has always amazed me that Spatial has to reverse engineer the SolidWorks native file format instead of having SolidWorks simply hand them their libraries. Its just didn’t make any sense to do that. But with R23 Spatial customers will now be able to read SolidWorks files using the authentic libraries from SolidWorks.

Earlier versions of 3D InterOp needed the original CAD system installed on the computer for their translators to work in some cases. This was because 3D InterOp used to hook into the libraries of the CAD system. But in R23:

New 3D InterOp translators are available for the Parasolid, SolidWorks, and Unigraphics NX file formats which do not rely on the availability of 3rd party software products. These new “Direct” translators are available in addition to the existing translators for these formats. Developers continue to have the option of leveraging native libraries if they are available.

Which means if 3D InterOp is asked to read a NX file and it has not been specifically told to use the direct translator or the Parasolid based translator, it will sniff around the computer and look for pskernel.dll, the Parasolid library. If it finds one, it will use it to do a Parasolid-based translation. Otherwise it will use Spatial’s libraries to do a direct translation.

Many of you who are users of CAD software and not developers may think that this implementation detail is the developer’s problem and you shouldn’t be bothered by it. True. However, these options are often configured in the settings of your CAD product and it helps to know these things and how to change them. As many of your know, data translation problems can drive you crazy and ruin a perfectly nice work day.

R23 of the 3D ACIS Modeler also has some nice new features and improvements. One of them what peaked my interest is seeded feature detection which involves detection of a feature based on a single face (the seed face). Here is a video showing this feature.

This will be helpful to ACIS based direct modeling systems like KeyCreator, SpaceClaim, IronCAD, etc. Developers of these products can now use the new API’s of 3D ACIS Modeler to quickly detect features like protrusions, depressions, blends using the API methods api_detect_protrusion, api_detect_depression and api_detect_blends respectively.

Click to enlarge

The reason I’m telling you this is because as a CAD user you should know who to thank when these things work in your CAD system. And who to curse when they don’t. 😉



3D ACIS Modeling

3D InterOp

If you are a developer and wish to try out these libraries products Spatial offers a 90 day evaluation.

Spatial has an excellent blog called Developer 2 Developer.

Spatial has a dedicated support team. But I have found many solutions to my problem on their forums called  Faces & Facets.


  • Comment

    similar to croe.

  • Dmitry Ushakov

    Thank you for this post Deelip!
    I’ve just translated it to Russian: http://isicad.ru/ru/articles.php?article_num=15512

  • Francis

    Keycreator already has the “face logic” technology. Isn’ it the same thing ???

    • Yes. I’m pretty sure theirs is way advanced since I believe feature recognition is the foundation of their direct modeling methodology.

      What this does is make it easier for other people to do the same thing instead of writing the code on their own.

  • Sandeep

    Is it really true that earlier versions of Spetial requires CAD systems to be installed? Because we were using R18 for reading Catia file geometry even though Catia is not installed on the machine.

    • Only some of the InterOp readers need the host CAD system. For CATIA InterOp uses the libraries from parent Dassault Systemes.

      • Ray Bagley

        Deelip – great article. If I may clarify about the CAD systems question: 3D InterOp has always allowed end users to import native CAD models without the presence of a CAD system – CATIA (V4 and V5), SolidWorks, and others. A few of our translators did require the *application developer* to license an additional library from a third party in order to make their application with InterOp complete, but this never caused the *end user* to require a CAD system of any type.

        Ray Bagley
        Spatial Corp.

  • snowendless

    which one would be used by InterOp if I have more one PSKernel.dll??? This may happen when I install UG NX and SW.

    • I guess it takes pskernel.dll in the order it appears in system path