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April 18, 2013
News - 3D Models of SparkFun Par…
about 2 years ago
The .stp file does not have color encoded into it, but it could and Creo supports the capability. When there are no colors in the STEP file, some systems like IDA-STEP Viewer assign different colors to different parts and geometry. Other systems leave it grey, like FreeCAD and apparently Solidworks.
Good point, my bad. Probably should have been posted somewhere else since the comment regards what Sketchup is capable of, and why. FYI, I talked to the Sketchup folks about a year ago in terms of adding PMI features for mechanical CAD, but they were more interested in adding features for architects. Now that Trimble Buildings bought Sketchup and Vico (also from Boulder), they will likely continue to focus on the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry where they make money. The free Sketchup can be used for things other than it was intended, like mechanical CAD concept modeling, generating tessellations for additive manufacturing, etc. But if you need precise geometry, mechanical assembly data management, and Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (a subset of PMI), you need mechanical CAD tools. FreeCAD can do the first, and is working on the second. Commercial mechanical CAD tools like Solidworks and Creo mentioned in this discussion can do PMI to varying degrees. Sketchup (and Blender), cannot and probably will not ever be able to do any of them.
Sketchup’s format is tessellated, so it does not natively support NURBS/BREP for exact geometry and topology like mechanical CAD tools. Sketchup also does not support the ASME or ISO standards for Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) annotations. Sketchup was intended for architectural modeling, but it is suitable for some mechanical concept modeling applications. The free Sketchup version is convenient, but you can get NURBS/BREP and tessellated file format support with FreeCAD.
STEP was designed to replace IGES. IGES has not been updated since 1996, and IGES implementations have incompatibilities, as you discovered.
Checked the STEP file for pcDuino with a validator, the free IDA-STEP Viewer Basic, which was able to view the geometry and get the assembly information. FreeCAD loads it much faster because it does not validate the file to the STEP schema, and was able to view the geometry. FreeCAD does not have assembly capability yet, but it can convert the STEP file to STL. Don’t know what the issue Altium has with the STEP file.
You can find a listing of vendor’s STEP translator coverage here
Many other mechanical CAD packages like Solidworks, Solidedge, Autodesk Inventor, Spaceclaim, Rhino, etc. can handle STEP files. However, they or their STEP technology provider may not keep up with advances in STEP if they are not a CAX-IF participant, so I recommend validating their STEP exports. Can you post an Altium export to a STEP file?
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