SpaceClaim 2011+

Last week SpaceClaim’s Blake Courter (Co-Founder and Director of Customer Development) and Justin Hendrickson (Product Manager) gave me a briefing on SpaceClaim 2011+. I don’t yet have access to this new version. So this blog post is merely about what they said and what I think about what they said.

This slide pretty much sums up the “What’s New” part of SpaceClaim 2011+

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These are the enhancements with respect to the SpaceClaim API which has reached version 8

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I have been following SpaceClaim ever since the company came into existence. Right from the start the company has been trying to position its product as a companion to other CAD systems. Back in 2007 in a post titled “SpaceClaim – Real Or Marketing Strategy?” I commented on a SpaceClaim white paper:

Spaceclaim seems to be targeting what they call the “extended development team”, who, according to the author, are “those responsible for downstream functions from manufacturing to field engineering, as well as upstream functions involved in conceptual design and engineering.” So that leaves out the “product designers” who, according to the author, are “highly-specialized CAD operators using a parametric modeling system like Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, CATIA, NX or Inventor.”


I have seen this happen earlier. When McNeel launched Rhinceros they started out by marketing Rhino as a “companion” product – companion to a user’s existing CAD system, mainly AutoCAD. I guess they realised at the start that asking someone to dump their existing CAD system all of a sudden and adopt theirs was not an easy things to do. The “companion” tag allowed them to slowly push Rhino into the user’s workflow.

It looks like SpaceClaim’s marketing has decided to finally let go of the “companion product” tag. Through this slide Blake tried to convince me that SpaceClaim is all over the place and it is actually displacing other CAD systems.

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For those who are interested in what the SpaceClaim customer cross section looks like here is a slide in Blake’s presentation that will give you an idea.

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I am extremely curious to know which kind of people fall in the “other” section. How many of them are from the DIY and Maker space? When Blake was at the slide above explaining how SpaceClaim was displacing other CAD systems, I mentioned to him that there was a fourth market segment to the left of the low-end. I asked him if SpaceClaim was interested in getting into that space like Autodesk is with 123D. He replied that his company was more interested in catering to engineers at the moment and would consider looking at that market if it found suitable partners.

Well, that’s a shame because in my opinion SpaceClaim is the perfect tool for people in that segment. And there are a lot of them out there. I can understand SpaceClaim’s hesitation to enter to that market because the people there are extremely price sensitive and if SpaceClaim releases a stripped down version of their direct modeler at a low price or give it away for free, they run the risk of cannibalizing their current offering. However, it is interesting that Autodesk doesn’t see things that way.

  • SN_India

    Agree, I think SpaceClaim must try to cater the needs of every segment and grow with the users otherwise time is slipping and soon other vendors with Direct modeling tech will enter this fourth market segment with stripped down versions.

  • Anonymous

    They were dumb to kill their ‘style’ stripped version.  I would bet many more people have $1k to spend in this economy than many multiples of that.

    • Anonymous

      it was killed cause no one was buying it. Thats what the founder said and it’s mentioned in one of the articles here at deelip.

  • Tijs

    Nice article. I agree with Deelip that SpaceClaim is not really focusing on product designers. As a product designer at a company where Solidworks was replaced by SpaceClaim, I deal with the downsides of this history free CAD system every day. Especially the poor functionality of the blend tool and splines.
    I really hope SpaceClaim starts focusing more on the product designer now that SpaceClaim is starting to replace other CAD systems. Because we are already thinking of switching back to Solidworks…

    • Hi Tijs,

      I wanted to make sure that our support team was helping you out.  They have many tricks that might help you with more complex geometry. Perhaps you even have some good examples to help R&D continue to push the envelope.  Please be in touch at blake (at) spaceclaim (dot) com.  

      Direct modeling technology is quickly evolving. I believe that SpaceClaim is leading the way.  Real-world customer data, not toy parts, are what have gotten us where we are.  I encourage you to stay involved and make sure that we address your needs sooner rather than later!

      (Director of Customer Development at SpaceClaim)

  • Cam

     we are contemplating a change to try and solve some of the large assembly issues in SW, does Direct Edit make more sense, part file size I assume is smaller ( no feature tree) so less overhead for large assembly’s, maybe all drawings could be saved in one file?
    We have looked at Solid Edge, nice but $$$$$ we may look at Spaceclaim as an addition to SW only using SW for very detailed work or if one of our guy’s dosn’t want to change (doubtful) Dose anyone have experience with Spaceclaim or Topsolid drawing files and large assemblies (5000 parts)?

    • Hey Cam, I can help with an answer for TopSolid.  In fact TopSolid 7 has little difficulty with assemblies at or above 5000 parts. The reason for this is that TopSolid 7 has been newly rewritten to take full advantage of all of the modern hardware and OS improvements that exist.  It is a native 64bit app.  For example, the link below shows a kinematic animation down with our core product.

      If you would like to learn more about TopSolid, just fill out an info request on my site and I will be more than happy to talk to you about the product line.

    • Try reading your data into SpaceClaim and see how it feels.  Should be fine on a modern x64 machine, unless every part is also extremely complex.

    • Francis marcoux


      I’m using Keycreator 2011 . Keycreator is using history free modeling – direct modeling technique since the Cadkey days in ’80’s . The software is in the MCAD market however (not the same market as SpaceClaim)

      I never worked with assembly containing more than 900 parts so I don’t know much about large assembly. 

      Give it a try.

  • Jeff Kunkler

    I commented on Ralph G’s Upfrontezine already but feel compelled to chime in here too.

    What is Spaceclaim thinking regarding how they are handling overseas sales?!

    The quote for ONE seat of Spaceclaim came to $11,450 USD!!! (I have the quotation from the Spaceclaim reseller provided by the Spaceclaim website should anyone want to see it.) The extension for ProE translator added another $2000.

    Regardless of the ridiculous pricing (I can get two full seats of creo for that price, which has more capabilities than Spaceclaim) I did evaluate the software. While it is easy to use there is no way I could use it in our work flow. Our company does consumer product design and engineering, doing class-A surfacing, Plastics and metal parts and electro-mechanical device design. 

    use it to strip down models for analysis? Creo can strip features like Spaceclaim. Direct modeling? there is a very useful subset of direct modeling tools right within the parametric version of Creo.  Surfacing? SpaceClaim = fail.

    Taking into account the rip-off pricing and the fact that there was no response from SpaceClaims U.S. side when I forwarded my concerns to them, I gotta kinda think that maybe it should be named SpaceLame?

    Again, just  my 2 cents and your results may vary.

    • Hi Jeff,


      I am sorry to hear that you had
      that experience.  We have no record of such a quote, but that number appears to be in a different orbit from our actual pricing. 


      We do have a new distributor in
      China, and I would be happy to put you in touch.  The best way to reach me
      is blake (at) spaceclaim (dot) com if there’s anything else I can do.




  • Guest

    Spaceclaim is the true lipstick on a pig. Pig being the old MCAD  features like extrude and simple sweeps. Its Easy to use because it only offers lower end functionalities offered by any other MCAD application with a simple interface which gets confusing for everything other than a push face to extrude.

  • d3print

    SpaceClaim did it again with new version, I don`t understand the hopeless resistance from other MCad users ;).

  • Cam

    Looks like we don’t have the budjet for any new cad this year, Spaceclaim,Keycreator,topsolid and Rhino seem to be similar. Solid edge seems to be a cross between those and solidworks. PTC seems to be headed toward Edge. I was hoping to add some simplicity, flexability and reliability to our SW. Spaceclaim looks like it would do that. I found out our assemblies are normally less than 1500 parts but we still have problems putting together 15-20 sheet drawing packages and the mate flipping in assemblies drives us crazy SW2010 sp2.1

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  • Parametric Sucks

    SpaceClaim cost from the French Reseller was $12.5 K in South Africa – No way, there are not even mirror functions on part/sheet metal assemblies! A big must have. In AD I did a 2500 Part assembly, but unfortunately the assemblies with history based cad’s, the “updating” is terrible waste of time in drawing sheets. If these parametric cad’s can get that sorted out in terms of less time/production time wasting, it will be ok. I wish parametric CAD’s wil give a indication of their Sheet Dwg update times for xxx amount of parts as an indication basis. Or better, they must have all a “Standard” design and with different “difficulty” levels have a comparison platform. With of course a comparable PC base platform. Otherwise I will opt for Kubatec and if Spaceclaim get themselves sorted out, Spaceclaim. But SpaceClaim is too expensive for a still “developing” CAD.

    • Hey there,

      Any chance you could send a copy of that quote to blake (at) spaceclaim (dot) come?  It seems high, although it may be possible to configure it that way with all the options.  

      Also, we now have  mirrored assemblies.  By the way, have you seen the sheet metal lately?


      • MySchizoBuddy

        have you figured out why is your product being sold at such high prices contrary to your claim. 

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