From Russia with CAD

Tom Shelley reports on a Russian authored 3D CAD package being aimed at European markets

Kompas 3D is a full 3D parametric CAD package, which is very robust; at least we were totally unable to crash it. And is also very competitively priced.

Produced by Ascon in St Petersburg, the current release offered in the UK is V9, although we have had the chance to experiment with an evaluation copy of V10.
It includes built in tutorials, and our only criticism is that these seem to have been written for V9. Some of the toolbar structure has been changed in V10 so it is sometimes necessary to hunt around and find the right toolbars for tasks using the 'view' command.

Support in the UK is provided by Sprut Technology, which is based in Dawlish, Devon. Dave Pearson, managing director of Sprut says: "We mainly support it online, using Net Viewer, which can be downloaded for free."

A cut down version of Kompas 3D designated LT is also available for free download. Based on V9, the main difference between it and the commercial versions is that the free version does not allow 3D assembly modelling. A demo version of the full V10 release is also available for free download, but it is without the provision to save models and assemblies. The recommended sale price is €2700. Sprut Technology is currently offering V9 for £1700.

Kompas 3D has a number of quirks of its own, some good, some less so. We like the way that working on a plane, immediately orients it into 2D, and there are easy to access facilities, such as the ability to generate spirals for springs. And we like the way the software cuts down models to an assemblage of blocks to reduce computation loads during screen rotations. However, the complex menu and toolbar structure we found to be quite troublesome. But this can also be said of some other mainstream CAD products so perhaps we should not criticise the makers for this too much.

Ascon's International marketing manager, Julia Lankinen says: "The company currently has 6,000 customers, although these are mostly Russian. However, the software is compatible with Catia and was used in the design of the Mig29 fighter aircraft. Its strengths are in machinery design and in its competitive price."

It uses its own modelling kernel, but data can be exchanged with other CAD systems. Models can be saved as IGES, ACIS, Parasolid, STEP, STL, VRML and eDrawing files, as well as 2D graphic representations. Available add-ons include Pipelines 3D, 3D Model Recognition System, Photorealistica for rendering, Universa Mechanism Express for kinematic and dynamic analysis, APM Studio FEM for finite element analysis, TraceParts Online, Animation and the eCAD Kompas 3D converter for importing 3D circuit board models from P-CAD, OrCAD and Altium Designer. The model recognition module for importing CAD models from other systems also recovers feature trees as well as geometry.

Lankinen added: "A 'Metalware' module is in preparation for working with metal profiles for construction.'


* Kompas 3D is a full, parametric CAD modelling package with some idiosyncrasies, some good, some less so

* It is robust and competitively priced

* It is available in English, German, French, Czech and Chinese

Tom Shelley

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