Best Cad for dimensioning Step & Iges files
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    Default Best Cad for dimensioning Step & Iges files

    I just want something and I don't mind paying a nominal fee for, that I can use to dimension Step and Iges files that are sent to me or I find on RFQ sites for bidding. I have tried a few free viewers, but I don't trust them as I can't seem to get them to function the same every time. It may be me but just measuring I can get different values or nothing clicking on a dimension multiple times. If possible I would like something that on a simple drawing a handful of mouse clicks and you hint print and out comes a dimensioned drawing. Is this possible?

    I need it for no other purpose. For what I do with an extensive library of programs, cut & paste serves my needs well. Any contouring I do is 2d lathe only and I have a trig program I use for that. Just need something to read drawing dimensions on 2-axis lathe work only.

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    I've never seen or heard of any such animal that could be "trusted" short of a CAD package, but would also be interested to hear otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    simple drawing a handful of mouse clicks and you hint print and out comes a dimensioned drawing. Is this possible?

    SIMPLE ANSWER >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NO

    step and iges are just the surface\face info, nothing more, nothing less, aka DUMB!

    you will have to pick everything and apply the dimensions manually

    download fusion 360

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    Quote Originally Posted by len_1962 View Post
    SIMPLE ANSWER >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NO

    step and iges are just the surface\face info, nothing more, nothing less, aka DUMB!

    you will have to pick everything and apply the dimensions manually

    download fusion 360
    I understand that part. I just want the simplest for picking and applying. Some I have tried don't seem to work very easy.

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    This could be done in several different cad/cam softwares. However, you're not gonna be able to get anything off the shelf. There would be some custom coding needed in order to get your desired results. On top of that, as with any automation, cost wise you'll probably only be able to efficiently automate 80-90% of this. Still better than nothing though.

    So, you would need a cad or cam package that does expose the api and specifically the dimension aspect of the package. You would then need someone to create the application. This could be a simple 4hr or a comlex 80hr job. Fusion does have api exposed but I don't know if the dimensioning is part of that. I have not spent much time automating any aspect of it. Could be a cheap way to experiment but keep in mind a custom application only works with the software it was designed for. You couldn't port this to other software.
    Solidworks, Mastercam, etc are all possibilities for an application like this as well. Probably not worth while to purchase one of those to experiment with but if you already have a seat it's definitely the path to go down.

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    Maybe I should rephrase the question. If you want to dimension IGES & STEP files with the most ease and reliability for the buck, what would you choose? I have no other uses for whatever I buy. As far as what software I own. What I use for trig is called "Arm Chair Machinist" I bought it from an ex-coworker who wrote it 30 years ago. Still have the original floppies. I just Googled and found out the guy died this past June.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Maybe I should rephrase the question. If you want to dimension IGES & STEP files with the most ease and reliability for the buck, what would you choose? I have no other uses for whatever I buy. As far as what software I own. What I use for trig is called "Arm Chair Machinist" I bought it from an ex-coworker who wrote it 30 years ago. Still have the original floppies. I just Googled and found out the guy died this past June.
    Maybe post an example of the before and after so we're on the same page. I was replying to this point you made in the original post
    'I would like something that on a simple drawing a handful of mouse clicks and you hint print and out comes a dimensioned drawing'

    If all your looking to do is calculate angles with trig, there's no need to do any of that when dimensioning in cad. As mentioned above, just go get Fusion and start clicking.

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    Fusion360 can do what you need I think FreeCad should be able to do it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Maybe I should rephrase the question. If you want to dimension IGES & STEP files with the most ease and reliability for the buck, what would you choose? I have no other uses for whatever I buy. As far as what software I own. What I use for trig is called "Arm Chair Machinist" I bought it from an ex-coworker who wrote it 30 years ago. Still have the original floppies. I just Googled and found out the guy died this past June.
    Download FREECAD for free, read the manual and find out that if you import a STEP/IGES file you can view or print
    the file as a 2-Dimensions plan, with all different views"Front/Top/Bottom/Angle" including dimensions,
    so to your original question, yes it is possible !

    Jack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    Maybe post an example of the before and after so we're on the same page. I was replying to this point you made in the original post
    'I would like something that on a simple drawing a handful of mouse clicks and you hint print and out comes a dimensioned drawing'

    If all your looking to do is calculate angles with trig, there's no need to do any of that when dimensioning in cad. As mentioned above, just go get Fusion and start clicking.
    What I want to be able to do is open a STEP file and be able to create something similar to a PDF file to work from. Does that make sense? Like in the day when a draftsmen drew up a dimensioned blueprint.

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    I still use a very old version of Surfcam, that dimensions acceptably well.

    I also use Cadkey99, that's an excellent package for dimensioning, and simple to learn. Also imports stp and igs files reliably.

    Cadkey might have released at one time a free standalone drafting package.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    What I want to be able to do is open a STEP file and be able to create something similar to a PDF file to work from. Does that make sense? Like in the day when a draftsmen drew up a dimensioned blueprint.
    Yes, makes sense. Any cad/cam software can do this. Sounds like you don't have any modern cad/cam now so just go get fusion.
    I was under the impression you wanted to automate the entire process of importing a model, apply dimensions to it, and then create the print.

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    OneCNC can automatically dimension a model. While it is geared towards CADCAM, I think you can get just the CAD module called Cad Creator. This will also permit you to play with solid modelling yourself. They give you the import convertors for iges, step and solidprt (plus more) and these are updated annually. Probably $1500 for Cad Creator and you should contact them for a trial to see if it suits you. Or find someone who has a version you can play around with. I know that 30 day trials expire way too quick if you don't get around to using them right away.

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    Looks like I have 5 suggestions to look at so far, thanks guys!

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    One potential problem would be internal threads. Since there is no feature history in a step or iges file, the part will have a plain hole unless someone went to the trouble to model the threads. You would need the drawing with the thread call-out unless you make an assumption based on the modeled hole size.

    For that matter, external threads too.

    Something to be aware of.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill in PA; 03-20-2019 at 05:43 PM. Reason: added more info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in PA View Post
    One potential problem would be internal threads. Since there is no feature history in a step or iges file, the part will have a plain hole unless someone went to the trouble to model the threads. You would need the drawing with the thread call-out unless you make an assumption based on the modeled hole size.

    For that matter, external threads too.

    Something to be aware of.

    Bill
    Thanks for the heads up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in PA View Post
    One potential problem would be internal threads. Since there is no feature history in a step or iges file, the part will have a plain hole unless someone went to the trouble to model the threads. You would need the drawing with the thread call-out unless you make an assumption based on the modeled hole size.

    For that matter, external threads too.

    Something to be aware of.

    Bill
    Shhh! That's our human secret to prevent AI from taking over. Just imagine that whatever Skynet builds, the bolts aren't going to screw in

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    I don't think the product exists anymore, but CNC Software sold a Mastercam 2D geometry only seat that would do what you wanted (minus the automation). It was unadvertised did not require a dongle and was only $500. I don't even remember the name anymore.

    Might be worth a call to a dealer to see if they still have a similar product. It was awesome.

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    FreeCAD can do it, but last time I tried it was too buggy to be useful.

    but free is always worth a shot!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by avongil View Post
    I don't think the product exists anymore, but CNC Software sold a Mastercam 2D geometry only seat that would do what you wanted (minus the automation). It was unadvertised did not require a dongle and was only $500. I don't even remember the name anymore.

    Might be worth a call to a dealer to see if they still have a similar product. It was awesome.
    Mastercam Design


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