Sometimes when you’re weeding through your co-workers file drawers, you’ll come across a thumb-drive with all sorts of interesting files on them. Often they’ll meet your suspicions that they’ve been messing around with other 3D file formats, but what you see is strange to you.
What could they be? How can you find out? File conversion, baby! The free, give me that bacon or I’ll have you flogged with a goat leg kind of free. A relatively new 2D/3D program on the market is makin’ it happen. DoubleCAD. DoubleCAD is from California based IMSI/Design, makers of TurboCAD.
They’ve built this 2D program to rival AutoCAD and since it’s based on TurboCAD, it brings in file conversion that’ll have you opening a slew of files you’re curious about.
DoubleCAD XT is built on IMSI/Design’s TurboCAD platform, but uses dwg read/write functions from the ODA SDK. The ODA (Open Design Alliance) is the entity responsible for developing the code-base for many of those AutoCAD clones you may have heard of. (DraftSight is one example that uses the ODA libraries that are in the ARES 2D package.) DoubleCAD is part of the ODA. Interestingly enough, their CTO and lead developer, Mauritz Botha, is the current chairman of the ODA.
That’s just a side note. What you’ll be interested to learn is that DoubleCAD also has the largest set of file compatibility options, with the very unique ability to import and export SketchUp SKP files and CGM files. These conversions are available in DoubleCAD XT for free, but the professional version is where you get more options. While you can currently download it for free to try, DoubleCAD XT Pro will cost you $695 (bundled with Corel DESIGNER® Technical Suite). It adds import and export for OBJ, 3DM, 3DS, SAT, STEP, IGES and WRL among many others, has an abundance of preset architectural tools and provides parametric constraints for geometry. Not too shabby for a free or even discount, “2D” design packaged.
Here are a couple shots of a Sketch-up file imported into DoubleCAD XT Pro. Delicious.
Car via Coolade Mercenary