Compas and industrial CAD/CAM programs

Greeting compas community,

Recently, I’m talking with a very experienced technician/designer from the car industry. He suggested that we should learn and adapt industrial CAD/CAM software, like NX, Solidwork, or Catia. He said these programs will bring a new perspective to architectural design and fabrication. He also mentioned that in some built projects, the contractor had to redraw all the surfaces in Catia, because the surfaces from Rhino lack some key features or values.

I agree that almost every other industry uses these CAD/CAM heavily, and there must be some reasons for that. They must have already solved some issues we are facing in architectural fabrication, so why don’t we just learn the solution from them. (Their price might be a barrier, though)

Since architectural fabrication is one of the main purposes of compas, I’m curious about that do these industrial CAD/CAM software play any role during the development of the compas ecosystem?
Like, is there any feature, concept, or workflow in compas that is inspired or adapted from those industrial programs? Or, in those built projects that are aided by compas, do you have to redo part of the project with industrial software because the collaborative firms require it?

I am learning Fusion360. I found it is handy when designing end-effectors or pieces of equipment that require industrial parts or manufacturing processes. Most importantly, it is free under many scenarios. Yet I wouldn’t use it as my primary design tool if I’m doing an architectural fabrication project. Its modeling logic just doesn’t fit with the workflow of architecture design. The Rhino+Grasshopper+compas combo is still the most powerful, flexible, and affordable toolchain for my current projects, but I would like to hear some thoughts about other possibilities.

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thanks for posting!

i have not personally had the problem you are describing and was always able to deliver fabrication data with the requested precision and requirements. but, of course, that doesn’t mean the problem cannot arise in some situations.

i don’t know about NX or Catia, but Solidworks, for example, does not have a Python scripting interface and it’s file format is in (proprietary) binary format so it is difficult to interact with. therefore, currently, integrating these softwares is not on our roadmap.

however, we have recently started development on a NURBS and BRep package that should be able to function as a “part modeller”, since that is what i think you are after. the package is built upon OCC and is available here GitHub - compas-dev/compas_occ: COMPAS wrapper for the Python bindings of OCC.

it is still in early stages of development so feedback and contributions are extremely welcome :slight_smile: