Update: Just an update… I’ve got the overview with my thoughts up on what project lightning turned into… PTC Launches Creo

Whatcha think now?

There’s a peculiar odor of CADmospheric ions in the air and all the blustery bits of activity are swelling up over the US East Coast. Tomorrow, October 28th, PTC will reveal their plans to “define the course of CAD for the next 20 years.” They’re calling it “Project Lightning” and since revealing their plans for the future of design at the PTC/User conference last June, some people are kinda wondering what it’s all about.

We’ll be at PTC headquarter for the reveal, dishing out any of the good stuff, but will it live up to the future-defining hype? If you know what Project Lightning is, what do you think? If you’re not familiar with the idea behind Project Lightning, hit the jump to learn a little more.

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What Does Project Lightning Do?

If you go by the videos shown on the Project Lightning page, the overarching problems with CAD programs PTC aims to blow, burn, lick, punch and smash into oblivion are:

  • Hard to use CAD
  • Teaching idiots
  • Complexity
  • Managing configurations
  • Messing with your design
  • Using Multiple CAD formats

“Project Lightning will eliminate this need for a company to mandate a single paradigm, by offering a set of solutions on a common platform, giving each user the flexibility to invoke whichever modeling paradigm is best suited for them and the task at hand. Project Lightning will solve this problem by rationalizing these two methods with a simple, robust PLM backbone that will drive the CAD model. Another dilemma confronting product developers has been the approach to assembly modeling. For relatively simple products with few variants, a pure CAD-based approach works fine. But for more complicated products that may have many hundreds of configurations, a CAD-based assembly approach is not feasible. In these cases, a PLM-based approach is required.”

Well now, will that solve all your CAD frustrations? Really though, what would that take? The tech will be shown off Thursday morning, so keep your eyes peeled.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.