So I want to do the following. Is there a CAD program that would suit this?

I have an engineering analysis code (3rd party, commercial) that does various things to a 3-D model. However, the input to this code is done by text file. It is seriously tedious to create. Also, the output from this code is a text file, again, seriously tedious to understand.

I want to create the model in a CAD program. Then I want to write a program to convert the CAD program's file to the format required for the analysis code. Then I want to write another program to take the results from the analysis code and over-lay them on the model in the CAD program, and re-import to the CAD program.

Features I know I need

  • Must be 3-D.

  • Must give clear specs on the format of its save file. Or alternatively, have the option to do a full save in a format that it does give a full spec. I want to read/write its native format files in my own programs.

  • Must allow the overlay of information on the 3-D model. An example might be temperature maps on the shapes.

  • Must allow specifying that overlay information in the CAD program, and save it in the save file.

  • Must be able to specify the material in each object, preferably from an extensible catalog.

  • Must be able to specify objects with some indicator of some kind. This will get transferred to the analysis code to indicate what it should do with that object. For example, it might indicate that the object should be tracked for temperature reporting.

Nice to have

  • It would be nice to have the ability to mark points or surfaces with some kind of marker that can be transferred to the analysis program. These would be independent of the shapes in the model. This is very useful in the analysis code. For example, it could indicate a place a virtual thermometer should be placed.

  • It would be nice to have an extensible interface so I could write some code to support the creation of models for the analysis code. I think what I am asking for here is an API.


It does not have to be free, or even cheap. But there has to be some way I could have it be available, somehow, with my (hopefully) commercial product. Maybe I will have to tell my clients they need to buy the CAD program separately, for example.

Operating system: Primarily MS Windows. If some really great CAD program exists only on other platforms I might be enticed over. For example, we have Linux aplenty in the office.



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