KOMPAS-3D v8 (First Look Review)31 Jan, 2007 By: Ron LaFon
3D parametric solid modeling software.
KOMPAS-3D v8 is a capable and sophisticated 3D mechanical design application that provides a framework for 3D parametric solid modeling. Developed by the ASCON Group in Saint Petersburg, Russia, KOMPAS-3D previously was available only in a Russian-language version, but Cad-alyst got its hands on the relatively new English version. With the depth of features offered by KOMPAS-3D, this review can serve only as an introduction.
The bundle Cadalyst received included KOMPAS-3D and KOMPAS-Graphic, a 2D drafting and design application. Both programs are up-to-date applications with the kind of features one would expect in a modern design application. KOMPAS-3D includes support for unlimited layers, xrefs, intelligent dimensioning, standard parts and centerline, as well as a full range of standard drafting tools that operate in the metric measurement system. KOMPAS-3D is expandable via add-ins; several special-purpose add-ins are available.
The interface is particularly well designed and easy to use, and the application is very responsive. Users can work in 2D and 3D simultaneously, and tools are arranged well for easy access. An extensive help system provides immediate help, and online help and user groups are readily accessible.
KOMPAS-3D imports a number of standard CAD file formats, including DWG, DXF, IGES, SAT, STEP and Parasolid, so it works well in mixed-design environments. KOMPAS-3D's file export formats include DWG, DXF, IGES, SAT, STEP, Parasolid, VRML and, interestingly, the SolidWorks eDrawings format.
A number of symbol libraries, plug-ins and add-ons are included with KOMPAS-3D V8, among them AEC, electrical/HVAC, furniture, manufacturing, mechanical/plumbing and vehicles. With its support for the import formats noted above, several third-party symbol libraries also are available.
Product modeling in KOMPAS-3D can be carried out by various methods: down-top modeling (using finished components), top-down modeling (designing compo-nents in the context of a specific design), modeling based on a layout outline drawing (such as a kinematic diagram) or a combination of modeling methods. These capabilities let users create easily modifiable associative models.
The system requirements for KOMPAS-3D V8 are a personal computer based on Intel-compatible processors running under either Windows 2000 with SP2 installed or Windows XP with at least SP1 installed. Minimum requirements are at least a Pentium II 450MHz processor and 128MB of RAM, with at least an SVGA graphics card and 4MB of video memory. A CD-ROM drive is necessary for installation, as is at least 100MB of free hard drive disk space. A mouse or 3D navigation device is required for operation. As with most major design or visualization applications, hardware requirements increase with the complexity of the tasks to be performed; better performance will result with systems that have more than the minimum requirements. A USB hardware dongle is used for security.
Current optional add-ons for KOMPAS-3D include a BOM (bill of material) application that works with both KOMPAS-3D and KOMPAS-Graphic; an animation application; Photorealistica, a rendering and visualization application; and Universal Mechanism Express, a kinematic and dynamic analysis application.
The pricing for KOMPAS-3D V8 Plus, which includes the 2D KOMPAS-Graphic application, is $3,200 for the basic bundle, with various add-ons available at an extra charge. The initial purchase price includes one year of updates. KOMPAS-Graphic is available separately for $1,530. Additional years of upgrades, support and train-ing for KOMPAS-3D are available for $870 each. Training is available in English at the nearest ASCON training center. Quantity discounts are available for larger instal-lations, and pricing does not include shipping charges.
For more information about KOMPAS-3D or KOMPAS-Graphic, visit the ASCON Web site at www.ascon.ru/english/. The Web site has downloadable demo versions of the products, including some add-ons, for test drives. If you're in the market for a capable 3D parametric solid modeler, KOMPAS-3D is well worth a look.