Shapr3D "Components"?

Sure… I understand the the underlying paradigm for the structure of a design can limit the implementation options. What I think is important to keep in mind is the use case and how to accommodate it.

Along those lines, I’ll add that one thing I often do in a design is draw a component used many times first without a lot of details - e.g. a simple box of the correct dimension so I can continue to work on the big picture - and then come back later to add required details which sometimes depend on what I learn fleshing out the complete design. Without this capability, probably the only way to do that is to draw a simple box, and then later detail one of them and copy/paste into the other locations of the design (and then hope I don’t make changes and have to do that again). This is still laborious, but probably the fastest and least error prone option. For sure, when I learned to use components in this way, my productivity in SketchUp went up by a big factor.

FWIW, I am a particle physicist designing experimental apparatuses, and use these tools to make conceptual sketches to pass on to designers and engineers using SolidEdge/NX. Sketchup worked “OK” for this, passing things through dxf and AutoCad, but Shapr3d has the potential for much richer interaction with those teams.

This is also the case in my architectural designs where, say, I have a timber framed roof with 50+ identical rafters. A change in the design might then require each and every rafter to be individually altered (in many instances it’s not as simple as deleting them all and going down the pattern route with the new rafter shape).

This would be a much appreciated feature.


I would really love to have a “Library” where to pick from for the components I use the most… like screws, nuts, bearings, etc etc.


Just having a way to organise designs in folders and then easily import/copy individual bodies from one design file to another with a defined insertion point would be very handy.

We could then create our own component libraries in a design and drag and drop bodies into working designs as we need them.

Another interesting feature of components ( in some CAD software ) is that they have parameters.
As an example when you insert a screw you can define head type, length, thread type, material etc. Like that you limit significantly the number of components you have to search to find what you want.

Hi Akis,
you are mixing up the concepts of components (parts and assemblies), parametric modelling and configurations in your post.

  • Components are fully independent from parametrization - the guys from Shapr3D do not need to implement parametric modelling in order to realize components.
  • Parametric is (usually) needed in order to realize configurations, but configurations do not come automatically with parametric (Alibre Atom 3D for instance is parametric, but has no ability for configurations - I guess by intent, these guys like selling more expensive licenses for that).
  • That you find things easier with configurations is a myth - as long as there is no database telling you what kind of configurations are inside a file, extensive usage of configurations will cause a huge mess instead.
  • Too extensive use of configurations (that applies especially for standardized parts like screws you end up having hundreds in your assemblies) is also bad for the performance, because configurations blow up the file-size and fill the RAM faster as you like.
  • In combination with PDM-Systems configurations are also problematic in most systems, because you would need to check out a file for adding an other Configuration, checking it in again and all referencing assemblies are now having a need for rebuild - even the already released ones. Thats why we don’t use configurations for realizing different articles in our company (a M6x30 also has different purchase-data that is also hard to handle in configurations).
    I hope these insights are helpful.
    Cheers Matt

That’s a great summary Matt, thank you.

Thank you for clarifying Matt, indeed I mixed the concepts. FYI I’m starting now to “play” with mechanical 3D design. My experience comes from electronics and electrical CAD. There we work a lot with “components” and I miss the concept here.

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You’re welcome.
I hope you have a lot of fun on your journey to mechanical design. :wink:

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McMaster Carr