Can a person view those files with needing to install a CAD program?Most of the fun with these 3D software packages is the modeling...if you can run the the program, modeling is always the best part. But even here and at EMRR, fliers are encouraged to submit Rocsim files of their projects, so that others do not have to re-invent the project...and sometimes you can get into a crunch having to model all of that small stuff. This is where these next few hints come into play:
There are many websites and mfg's that are already throwing out some products that have already been modeled for you, and 3D Content Central is a site where many people in the industry have modeled many complex or tedius parts, and are sharing them...for free! (Many milspec connectors can be had here)
A favorite site of ours, the rocket community, is McMaster-Carr. McMaster-Carr provides files called step (.stp) files of many, if not all of their nuts and bolts. These are highly detailed models ready for the download. Whether you use them or not, it is fun to reverse build the item to 'see how it was made'.
If you use a lot of connection points etc L-Com and Molex provide step files for all of their connectors. Things like DB9's, RF connections, any kind of data transfer connectors are all modeled and ready for the download. These are also step files, and sometimes step files becomes corrupted on dowload. But I have never had issues with the products from these listed sites.
There are many more sites that provide models, you just have to look... Of course modeling is still the fun part; these hints might suit the novice, who would not know how to model these somtimes complex parts, or the pro, who has bigger things to model, and these step files are mere time savers, as time is money.
Note: SolidWorks and Inventor have extensive libraries for hardware etc. pre loaded, "for everything else there is McMaster-Carr" ®©
Hope this helps!
I tried out the emachineshop CAD program and it works pretty well and the tutorials are very helpful. I am going to try to view some exported file with the AutoCad program we have at work.I've seen some people post that they were looking for cad software and such. Here is a quick list I'd like to share.
For the winderz users:
Autocad Inventor 2009 LT - free for a few more months
emachineshop.com - free and pretty easy to use simple cad program
Adobe offers 30 day demos of most of their products. Illustrator is an example of one that rocketeers can use.
For the mac and PC:
Shark FX is available in a demo I think runs for 15 days.
If you use something or know of a good demo of an engineering program please post to the thread.