CAD Tech News (#26)17 Sep, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff
The new Catchbook app makes dimensionally accurate sketching accessible — and affordable — for CAD users and nonprofessionals alike.
By Cyrena Respini-Irwin
In the early stages of the design process, when forms are just starting to take shape and various concepts are jostling for attention, many people reach for whatever's at hand — an art program, PowerPoint, even the proverbial napkin — to sketch out their ideas. At this stage, a full-on 3D CAD package may be too much tool for the job, slowing down rapid-fire brainstorms and excluding team members who lack CAD expertise.
The non-CAD alternatives, however, pose their own problems, and no one likes wasting time on effort duplication. "You don't want to create a drawing, then have to recreate it in CAD," noted Paul Brown, senior marketing director at Siemens PLM Software. "You want to get people's ideas and then be able to do things with them."
In recent years, an increasing number of software tools have been developed to improve on these options. They're typically simpler than standard CAD solutions, but better equipped for design tasks than office productivity software — or napkins. (For more information, see "Cadalyst Labs Report: Conceptual Design Software Tools.")
This fall, Siemens PLM Software will add to those growing ranks with Catchbook, a 2D sketching app for Windows-, Android-, and iOS-based smartphones and tablets. Users can create and annotate drawings; import and trace over photographs; and share their work with collaborators.
Catchbook, unlike art-focused sketching apps, also provides support for accurate dimensions that are preserved when the data is moved into a CAD program. "The key thing that we bring to everything is that underneath [the surface of Catchbook] are engines that drive proper geometry and relationships," Brown explained. "That was the gap that we saw, that's the missing link: size and scale."
When geometry is edited, Catchbook updates dimensions automatically in real time. Image courtesy of Siemens PLM Software.
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.
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