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MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
CAD Data Formats
Transferring data from one system
to another!
MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Exchanging Data between
Systems
Conventional Method Neutral File Method
Figure from: K. Lee, “Principles of CAD/CAM/CAE Systems,” Addison-Wesley, 1999
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MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Neutral File Formats
• 2D wireframe drawing:
– DFX
– DWG
• 3D surface model:
– IGES
– VRML
• B-Rep solid model
– STEP
– IGES
• Solid with history:
– none!
• Other product life-cycle data
– STEP
MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Data Translation Problems
1. Different representation of same data
e.g. Circular_Arc_Rep1: x
c
, y
c
, R, θ
1
, θ
2
Circular_Arc_Rep2: x
c
, y
c
, x
1
, y
1
, x
2
, x
2
2. Incomplete Mappings
e.g. one system only uses lines and arcs, other system uses only
NURBS curves
3. Systems have different tolerances for
computations Can result in missing faces
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MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
DXF format
This format is for 2D Drawings
• Introduced for users of AutoCAD, it is a text
(ASCII) file that can be read and modified
in a text editor.
• Because of the popularity of AutoCAD it
has become a de-facto standard.
MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Initial Graphics Exchange
Specification (IGES)
This format is for drawings, surface models,
and solid model data.
• It was developed in 1979 by a Committee
of large companies, under contract from
the U.S. Air Force.
• It can be in text or binary format.
• Not as good as STEP for solids.
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MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
STandard for the Exchange of
Product data (STEP)
General standard that applies to all product
life-cycle data.
History:
1983 – The Product Data Exchange Standard (PDES) is
started in the U.S.
1984 – STEP is started by the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO).
1985 – PDES joins STEP.
Now – STEP is expected to become the primary standard
for the U.S. armed forces and U.S. companies.
MAE 455 Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
STandard for the Exchange of
Product data (STEP)
• Parts 203 and 214 of STEP (ISO-10303)
are for (B-Rep) solid models.
• The format looks like:
ISO-10303-21;
HEADER;
FILE_DESCRIPTION((''),'2;1');
FILE_NAME('/home/mefac/bettig/sdrc/dogbone.stp','2001-12-11T21:04:35',('User'),('SDRC'),'I-DEAS Master Series
8','UNIX','Yes');
FILE_SCHEMA(('AUTOMOTIVE_DESIGN { 1 2 10303 214 -1 1 5 3 }'));
ENDSEC;
DATA;
#10=(NAMED_UNIT(*)PLANE_ANGLE_UNIT()SI_UNIT($,.RADIAN.));
#11=DIMENSIONAL_EXPONENTS(0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0);

#1359=CARTESIAN_POINT('V36',(530.600000000000591,8.600000000000874,
5.785214E-13));
#1360=VERTEX_POINT('V36',#1359);
Header info. start
Part info. start
Object #, type
and parameters