Draftsight… Limited 3D capability?

I have used Draftsight at work for several months now alongside my installation of Pro E.  Although I don’t do any “creation” of parts with this package, I generally used to open .dwg files from vendors or colleagues.  It’s done a very good job with the 2D files that I’ve been opening, but today I got send a 3D .dwg file that I assume was made with AutoCAD.  To my surprise, Draftsight opened it up with no problem!

Here are some views that it generated, illustrating that you can pan rotate the image as you please:

Draftsight 3d capability

First view

Draftsight 3d capability

Another view

I was very impressed with this, as I am with Draftsight in general.  I even tried adding a shape and extruding it (using the “extrude” text command), which worked!  For the price – $0 – you really can’t go wrong trying this package out.  After all AutoCAD LT retails for over $1000 and doesn’t include 3D capabilities (although I’m not sure if it can open limited 3D drawings like this one).

One would wonder why Dassault is literally giving away their 2D package.  According to some other web sites that I’ve looked at, it could simply be a way to encourage businesses that use 2D packages such as AutoCAD to switch to one of Dassault’s 3D packages.  If this is the case, it seems like a clever strategy.  I’m happy to take advantage of even if I do use ProE as my primary mechanical design package.

Check out my full review of Draftsight here.  Or, better yet, subscribe to jcopro.net via RSS to get updates all the time!

Update 3/31/2011 – A helpful shortcut to rotate images is control+shift+middle mouse button.  Hit those three keys and it should be self-explanatory from there.

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  1. JcoPro gets it's 400,000th pageview! - pingback on December 13, 2012 at 5:37 am
  2. Good to hear that DrafSight opens AutoCAD 3D files.

    I am using Draftsight for about a year. Cannot afford to buy an AutoCAD with price tag of US$1000.00

    I am trying to make a building PLAN to 3D. Does anyone know what are the options to make a Builidng Layout Plan easily to 3D (Front View, Side View, 3D camera view etc)?

  3. Do you have an opinion on FreeCAD? I’ve heard great things about it, but have yet to set aside the time to try it. One of the features I’ve seen, if it works, is not even on my cheap commercial CAD program.

    • I haven’t tried it, looks like it’s more of a 3D program akin to Solidworks or ProE. From the summary, looks like it works with STEP and IGES files, both pretty common standards. Given the price, it might be worth a try.

      What is the feature you’re talking about that you don’t see in your CAD package?

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