Case Study: New CAD Tools Make Adding, Creating 3D Printing Parts Easier


Tech Soft 3D, leading provider of software development tools and 3D PDF solutions to the engineering software industry, announced that many of their partners looking to add 3D printing capability to existing products or develop new innovative ones are using HOOPS software development toolkits and Polygonica in lieu of developing the technology in-house.


Software development toolkits from Tech Soft 3D provide world-class technology with key capabilities such as CAD translation, visualization, modeling, and mesh processing – capabilities that are incredibly difficult and costly to develop. By leveraging the Tech Soft 3D SDKs, additive manufacturing software developers get rock-solid functionality in their applications much more efficiently and cost effectively than developing it in-house.


“As 3D printing transitions from prototyping to commercial-grade production, it’s increasingly clear that robust software is a critical part of addressing real-world workflows,” said Ron Fritz, CEO of Tech Soft 3D.  “We’re pleased to be providing so much of the core software that is helping drive the professionalization and innovation the market is seeing in 3D printing software.”


One of the hardest problems facing the additive manufacturing industry is how to get quality manufacturing data into their systems. STL files have traditionally been used but are extremely problematic and error prone. By directly reading both native and standard CAD file formats, products can increase their ease-of-use and ultimately their print quality. HOOPS Exchange is the powerhouse toolkit that does this for hundreds of engineering specific applications including many in the 3D printing market.


3D printing is starting to incorporate traditional engineering techniques into their workflows like using geometry dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), computational engineering analysis (CAE), and metrology for quality control. HOOPS Exchange excels at supporting these advanced workflows with data accessed from the original CAD files.


Even though direct access to CAD files is becoming more prevalent for 3D printing, there are still a tremendous number of existing STL files used and countless applications that depend on them. Tech Soft 3D has partnered with MachineWorks to offer Polygonica, the market-leading mesh healing toolkit, alongside HOOPS components. Polygonica has powerful mesh healing capabilities and many other mesh processing tools specific to 3D printing workflows. Adding Tech Soft 3D’s HOOPS graphics engines, HOOPS Visualize for desktop and mobile, or HOOPS Communicator for web visualization, makes an extremely powerful platform for rapid product development.


According to a SmartTech market report, 3D Printing has a market size of $294 Million and will grow over 150% in the next four years. This growth isn’t going to be all in traditional manufacturing industries like aerospace, automotive, and consumer products. The same SmartTech report projects that by 2021 almost 30% of the additive manufacturing software market will come from application-specific tools, primarily from the dental and medical markets. These vertically focused software solutions require a high level of customization and provide great opportunity for new companies to emerge with specialized software.


Products from Tech Soft 3D for developing Additive Manufacturing software include:

  • HOOPS Exchange: Read in 20+ Native CAD formats – Catia V4/5/6, NX, CREO, SOLIDWORKS, SolidEdge, Inventor, STL, STEP & IGES – used to provide fast, reliable CAD data access to engineering applications
  • Polygonica from MachineWorks: Toolkit for mesh processing – quickly repair, simplify, offset and Boolean – everything needed to prepare meshes for 3D printing
  • HOOPS Visualize & Communicator: High performance 3D graphic engines for desktop, mobile and web applications – visualize engineering data on any device, anywhere
  • HOOPS Publish: 3D data publishing for native 3D PDF, 3MF & STL, HTML as well as standard CAD formats; allows for 3D print export, creating smart reports and archiving 
  • Siemens Parasolid Modeling Kernel: Convergent Modelling enables combining of meshes and boundary representation (BREP) to support advanced CAD/Additive Manufacturing workflows – being used to build Additive Manufacturing product of tomorrow


Customer Success

Sculpteo, and many other 3D print service bureaus, use HOOPS Exchange to quickly and accurately load 20+ different CAD file formats without the need for additional CAD software. HOOPS Exchange greatly increases ease-of-use and project success rates for their customers’ orders.


“STL files are not sufficient for manufacturing. Reading CAD files was necessary. Even if we don’t traditionally use 3rd party software, the best option was to license HOOPS Exchange. It was a fast integration, gave great performance and amazing results. With HOOPS Exchange we get access to the BREP which helps identify features, something we couldn’t get from STL. All of this is very important and contributes to a good user experience. Additionally, we can import dimension and tolerance information, which will be useful in the future.”  - Clément Moreau, CEO


Renishaw chose Polygonica for its dental 3D Printing software. Key features used include mesh repair, Boolean operations, and simplification.  Polygonica is growing in popularity for use in the highly specialized dental and medical markets.


"We chose Polygonica because its solid modelling and mesh healing capabilities are second to none.” - Bryan Austin, Director and General Manager, Renishaw Dental Products

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