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Low and behold. SpaceClaim, the company slapping the history out 3D modeling just launched SpaceClaim Engineer 2012. As the name implies it’s for Engineers only. Just kidding, it also works for people who write ‘Engineer’ on a piece of paper with crayon and tape it to their chest. Features? We talked with Blake Courter, co-founder of SpaceClaim, last week and got the squeeze on the new capabilities coming to the 9th version of the direct modeling app.

SpaceClaim Engineer 2012

According to Mr. Courter, SpaceClaim Engineer 2012 has a focus on speed. I’d agree. SpaceClaim 2012 takes geometry manipulation to the level of liquid butter, making older version look cold and chunky. If you recall their last version, they slide deep into the sheet metal pool adding a lot of new functionality there. They add a few more sheet metal enhancements with this version, but that’s definitely not the best part. The coolest bits of SpaceClaim 2012 are the new SketchUp functionality that allows you to automatically convert faceted geometry to solid geometry and a slick Hole recognition option that not only allows you to detect holes, but also update them.

Some other notable features include a Windows shell extension that allows you to view your model in Outlook and Explorer and the addition of some very nice 2D/3D curve repair tools that make importing, repair and modeling up sketch geometry so painless, it should be illegal in most countries.

Here’s the quick list of all the newness in SpaceClaim Engineer 2012:

  • New SketchUp conversion detects regions where SketchUp’s approximated, facetted geometry was derived from analytic surfaces such as cylinders and cones, and automatically replaces them with precise geometry.
  • Multiple solid editing capabilities, such as cone manipulation, surface pivoting and distance-by-angle chamfers, extend SpaceClaim’s lead in direct modeling.
  • Smart tools for manufacturing, such as recognition and editing of standard holes, make SpaceClaim increasingly practical for machine shops and detailed design.
  • Significant performance improvements to large parts and drawings further confirms that SpaceClaim is the fastest 3D direct modeler available.
  • A new lightweight viewer and Microsoft extensions that allow viewing of models from compatible programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Explorer, as well as from a new standalone application.
  • JT with PMI export, in addition to existing capabilities, makes SpaceClaim the most comprehensive JT editor on the market today.
  • Detailing improvements including exploded views, aligned and unfolded sections, arc length dimensions, text fitting and alignment tools, and BOM templates let more users create detailed drawings in SpaceClaim.
  • A new set of 2D and 3D curve repair tools facilitate working with existing drawings and wireframe data and converting them to solid models.
  • Several sheet metal enhancements representing unprecedented depth, including mitered flanges, faster unfolding, weld tabs, and improved identification and interaction with sheet metal features.
  • Environment reflection and textures enable users to work interactively on more realistic looking models.
  • Usability improvements, such as improved selection rendering and reduced selection flashing, make it easier to work on large models.
  • Flexible configuration and IT-friendly options facilitate large rollouts to corporate, government, and educational customers.
  • Improved interoperability with support for KeyShot 3, Creo 1.0, SolidWorks 2012, and Inventor 2012 ensures compatibility with data from colleagues, customers and suppliers.
  • The improved batch file translation utility now supports all formats that SpaceClaim can read and write.
  • Expanded API coverage now includes access to more sheet metal parameters, drawing view renderings, and advanced mass properties.

To get some eyes on what’s new in SpaceClaim 2012, they’re holding a webinar, Wednesday March 21st, to highlight the new features.

This image depicts a global Marine (Australia) 16 meter aluminum catamaran with Austmarintech-engineered propulsion, power generation, and plumbing systems in the context of a wide variety of imported 2D and 3D CAD data.

The new SketchUp functionality in SpaceClaim 2012. the chairs of the left were opened without automatic clean-up, revealing the underlying facets. The ones on the right show the results of automatic clean-up, with clean cylindrical and NURBS geometry.

Filed under: CAD

  • What makes SpaceClaim different than many other CADCAM companies is that they  continue to add as well as to fix basic core functionality. This compares very favorably to what SolidWorks does which is add new features and not fix their basic CAD tools that have been badly broken for many years.

    It’s too bad CAM vendors aren’t pounding at SpaceClaim’s door begging to OEM license SpaceClaim because SpaceClaim is the ideal host for a CAM product. I’m no fanboi but I love using SpaceClaim and I love their approach to development.

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

  • hpvd

    all these new features sounds great 🙂
    and examples/videos can be found on spaceclaim’s website.

    beside this: has anyone already seen the new
    “Environment reflection and textures … more realistic looking models” ?
    especially none technical customers like the “solidworks realview” look…

  • Josh M

    Yes, you can see it in the intro video when you go to SpaceClaim.com. Definitely presents better than the pastels 🙂

  • Josh,
    SpaceClaim 2012 version looks more pleasing to the eyes as they seem to have improved the rendering. Importing and repairing Sketchup models is a big plus.

    From the POV of an addin developer, they keep exposing additional functionality in their API which is very good. I am sure, more addins/plugins will be released in coming future.

    P.S: We shall be releasing our addin for motion and dynamic simulation inside SpaceClaim 2012 (http://www.solidsmack.com/cad-design-news/sc-motion-simulation-spaceclaim/) very soon.

  • Josh M

    Cool to hear Rajeev. Thanks.

  • Steve M

    SE and Creo focus much more on their core functionality than SW does so I don’t know how you can say SpaceClaim stands out of the crowd anymore than other CADCAM companies. It’s just SW from 1998, it will probably even be called SolidClaim in 2020. It’s easy to look clean and slick when you don’t have much functionality.

  • Lets examine your claim: “It’s just SW from 1998”.

    SolidWorks could not rotate a reference geometry coordinate system in 1998. It can’t rotate a reference geometry coordinate system today.

    SolidWorks has no real direct modeling tools in 1998. It has no real direct modeling tools today.

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

  • Steve M

    What you just said has absolutely nothing to do with my comment. I was not comparing specific functionalities of the software. I have to work with SW every day, I’m very aware of how much, and why, I don’t want to work with it every day. I was comparing the life cycles of the software and their developers approach to developing their product, particularly how in 1998/99/00 SW was getting all the same praises you’re giving SpaceClaim; “continue to add as well as to fix basic core functionality” for example.
    If you don’t want to be treated like a fanboy then don’t start sentences with “I’m not a fanboi”.

  • I work with SolidWorks everyday as well. Using SpaceClaim allows me to be a lot more productive with dumb models and it allows me to design fixtures much faster, especially when I know up front that there are going to be major changes to how the part is held. SpaceClaim makes SolidWorks much easier for me to tolerate because SolidWorks refuses and has refused to fix many of its geometry tools that are broken and have been broken for years.

    I stand by everything I wrote and the corrections I made to your inaccurate statements about SpaceClaim.

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

  • Here is a video that shows just how much work SpaceClaim has done to improve core functionality in SpaceClaim 2012:


    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

  • CAM is going to be available that runs inside of SpaceClaim. It’s called SpaceNC and you can read about it here: 


    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA