To Top

HOOPS Exchange Versus CAD Exchanger

By Robert Tadlock • 
August 14th, 2023

Choosing a CAD data translation SDK is a complex process where the wrong decision can cost you a huge amount of time and development resources. As a result, we believe in empowering you to make the best decision for your unique use case. In this space, HOOPS Exchange and CAD Exchanger represent two very different options in the CAD data translation process. 

HOOPS Exchange is a capable, long-tested, premium-tier product from an established company with a ton of experience. CAD Exchanger is a budget-friendly newer player in the market, one that has done a great job of establishing its own niche amongst more experienced companies. Both (unusually for this market) have transparent pricing, and we will combine this with an examination of their features to help you determine which is right for you.

HOOPS Exchange Versus CAD Exchanger: Supported Formats

Formats HOOPS
CAD Exchanger
(At Ultimate Tier)
3D PDF Read/Write*
*With HOOPS Publish, included
3DS Read Read
3MF Read/Write Read
ACIS Read/Write Read/Write
CATIA V5 Read Read
CATIA V6 (3D XML) Read Read
Collada Read Read/Write
DWF Read X
DWG Read Read
DXF Read Read/Write
FBX Read/Write Read/Write
glTF Read/Write Read/Write
IFC Read Read/Write
IGES Read/Write Read/Write
Inventor Read Read
JT Read/Write Read/Write
OBJ Read/Write Read/Write
Navisworks Read X
NX Read X
Open CASCADE X Read/Write
Parasolid Read/Write Read/Write
PLY X Read
PRC Read/Write Read
PTC Creo Read Read
Pro/E Read X
Revit Read Read
Rhino Read Read/Write
Siemens NX Read Read
Solid Edge Read Read
STEP Read/Write Read/Write
STEP XML Read/Write X
STL Read/Write Read/Write
U3D Read/Write Read/Write
USD X Write
VRML Read/Write Read/Write
X3D X Read/Write
C3D X Read/Write

HOOPS Exchange Capabilities and Pricing

HOOPS Exchange is a premium-tier, generalist engineering SDK with a specialty in 3D data for visualization. This product is perfect for those looking for a comprehensive engineering-focused toolkit. Where CAD Exchanger offers a budget alternative for those in specific niches, HOOPS Exchange will offer a level of feature scale, polish, and professional experience CAD Exchanger cannot match.

When compared directly to CAD Exchanger, the minimum cost sits between their Enterprise and Ultimate Tiers. Because of this, we compare HOOPS Exchange’s features relative to what you get at these pricing levels.

Unlike CAD Exchanger, all HOOPS products including HOOPS Exchange have one pricing tier, with the exact amount you pay dependent on an array of factors. These include your needs, use case, and distribution model. The price contains two components: a Partnership Fee and a Distribution Fee. 

The Partnership Fee is $33,000 USD per year, and the Distribution Fee has a minimum of $20,000 USD per year, based on your revenue. The exact model of your distribution fee can be a Revenue Share by a percentage of sales, various types of Flat Rates, or a royalty per user/seat. Tech Soft 3D will work directly with you to find what fits your specific business model best. We have a detailed discussion of our pricing available below.

HOOPS Exchange supports more formats than even the highest tier of CAD Exchanger, with digital construction/BIM and MCAD being notable areas of superiority. HOOPS Exchange supports Navisworks, and has the capability to write 3MF, both areas lacking by CAD Exchanger.

HOOPS Exchange Supported formats

If you are interested in a more comprehensive breakdown of supported formats and capabilities for each format supported by HOOPS Exchange, that information can be found in the documentation below.

Beyond scope, HOOPS Exchange offers best-in-class speed and import success rates for a host of formats, including Tier 1 formats like CATIA V5, CREO, NX, and Solid Edge. HOOPS Exchange often requires less memory for conversions than even other premium CAD translators. Files can be minimized using lossless compression, producing files as much as 100x smaller than the original CAD file.

HOOPS Exchange is built around supporting engineering workflows and handles large assemblies, single objects with large triangle counts, Product Manufacturing Information (PMI), advanced materials, and engineering-specific geometry. Where CAD Exchanger does support PMI for some formats at its lower tier, it costs extra at these levels

Support for broader construction data, with higher file success rates is a key benefit for HOOPS Exchange, especially when compared directly to CAD Exchanger. This includes read support for Navisworks and far more experience with Revit than its competition.

CAD Exchanger does not support Navisworks at the time of writing, according to their website, support is “coming soon”.

Notably, HOOPS is an entire product family of toolkits, directly supporting a host of engineering markets and workflow. In the HOOPS family, this includes HOOPS Visualize for desktop, mobile, and other native applications, HOOPS Communicator for 3D web visualization, and  HOOPS Publish for 3D PDF generation. HOOPS Exchange also integrates with other Tech Soft 3D offerings, including CEETRON CAE tools, as well as other 3rd party tools (including Polygonica)

With HOOPS Exchange, you can expect fantastic integration with any of these products, as well as strong integration with Siemens Parasolid. Tech Soft 3D resells the leading solid modeling kernel. With the new bridge between HOOPS Exchange and Polygonica, the latter has access to more file types and a much richer data model when used together.

HOOPS Exchange is also a specialist in the AR/VR market. Unity 3D announced its plans to use HOOPS Exchange for its CAD import needs. Unreal, Nvidia, Epic Games, Adobe, and Oracle are other testimonies to the capability of this product in 3D visualization space.

HOOPS Exchange supports the ability to do many basic CAD inquiry functions, including::

  • Computing the surface area of faces

  • Comparison of geometry

  • Cutting sections

  • Point cloud comparison to surfaces

  • Collision detection

One of the most important features of any Tech Soft 3D product is the Strategic Technology Partnership. Buying HOOPS Exchange gets you far more than access to some code and community resources: Tech Soft 3D supports you through the entire development, deployment, and active lifecycle of your product. Notably, the distribution fee does not apply until you ship your product.

The support you get from HOOPS exchange is by developers, for developers. Through updates, implementation support, comprehensive documentation, and a strong community forum, the team is dedicated to helping you get to market in as little time and with as little headache as possible. HOOPS Exchange offers public roadmaps, allowing you to plan ahead in your development cycle. HOOPS Exchange consistently supports format upgrades faster than CAD Exchanger, within 90 days for most cases.

Overall, Tech Soft 3D’s experience in this market is a huge selling point for HOOPS Exchange. 25 years of experience, seeing hundreds of millions of files through hundreds of applications has led to a polished, robust API that a newer player simply can't match. HOOPS Exchange has such a high success rate because of this experience.
CAD Exchanger is a young company with somewhat limited features and support. While they are a capable budget option in their niche, if you are looking for more reliable, comprehensive features, HOOPS Exchange is going to be a better fit.

Bottom Line:

HOOPS Exchange is a premium-level CAD data translation tool, with a breadth of experience and features that a budget option is going to be unlikely to compete with. On the flip side, HOOPS Exchange has one (albeit very flexible) pricing tier: if this is far outside your budget, this may be a non-starter for you and your organization.

A key part of the benefits of HOOPS Exchange comes down to the company experience and Strategic Technology Partnerships. Developing with SDKs is complex, time-consuming, and resource intensive, and the support and knowledge base offered in tandem with a more complete product will make a huge difference for many organizations.

Ultimately, if you're looking for an engineering-focused comprehensive product, HOOPS Exchange is going to be a great choice to consider. While CAD Exchanger is well-suited to building prototypes, for full-scale commercial development, HOOPS Exchange is going to be a far better fit for most use cases.

If you're interested in learning more, follow the link below.

CAD Exchanger Capabilities and Pricing

The biggest selling point of CAD Exchanger is the price, though this requires a more detailed breakdown. Unlike many products in this space, CAD Exchanger has publicly available pricing, allowing us to do an accurate breakdown.

CAD Exchanger breaks their SDK into multiple subscription versions: Lite, Pro, Enterprise, Ultimate, and A-la-Carte. The price point ranges from anywhere from $6,000 USD to up to $100,000 USD or more, depending on the price you chose. Each tier has its own included format support, markup and PMI support, and support expectations. 

Lite Pro Enterprise Ultimate
Starting at $6,000/year Starting at $15,000/year Starting at $40,000/year Starting at $100,000/year
Basic features Adds PMI, Mesh Decimation, and NURBS Recognition Adds CATIA, Creo, Solid Edge, and Revit
B-Rep Simplification
All formats, features, and operating systems

They also offer perpetual licensing. Titled the same, pricing ranges from $9,600 USD to $160,000+ USD. For these plans, support is required to be purchased separately.

Overall, where your needs land on this pricing model is likely going to determine if this product is a viable option for your organization. At lower price points, it can be a cost-effective way to get the handful of specific features, formats, and capabilities you need. If your use case demands more than this, the product becomes less of a contender.

As shown in their table below, their support for CAD and BIM formats is severely limited at lower tiers.

Proprietary CAD and BIM Formats Lite Pro Enterprise Ultimate
Catia V6 (3D XML) X X
PTC Creo X X
Revit X X
Siemens NX X X
Solid Edge X X

Enterprise, Ultimate, and even the Pro plan are going to cost similar to or more than premium products in this space. Common premium options include HOOPS Exchange and 3D InterOp, by Spatial. Both are going to be more capable, polished, and offer a level of professional experience that CAD Exchanger simply can not match. The breakdown below shows their import/export capabilities at their highest pricing tiers.

Format Import Export
B-Rep ACIS, CATIA, Creo, IFC, IGES, Inventor, Parasolid, Solid Edge ACIS, IFC, IGES, Parasolid
Mesh 3D XML, 3D PDF, 3DS, 3MF, Collada, FXB, gITF, OBJ, PLY, PRC, STL, U3D, VRML, X3D 3D PDF, Collada, FXB, GITF, OBJ, STL, U3D, USD, VRML, X3D,
Mesh +

If you are looking for a direct comparison of HOOPS Exchange and 3D InterOp, check out the link below.

For those looking for comprehensive CAD and BIM support, CAD Exchanger is unlikely to be a good fit. On the flip side, their Mesh format support is impressive, even at lower pricing tiers.

This flexible pricing model supports a strong host of features in specific niches. Some notable features include support for Mesh Decimation and BREP simplification, along with capable viewing support for shading models, point clouds, PMI, and measurements. These show a capability of handling basic 3D and engineering use cases, and the command-line interface is well suited for quick implementations of basic conversions. C#, C++, and JavaScript development languages are supported.

The lower cost point and being a younger company come with a series of drawbacks that may cause other products to be a better fit. Founded in 2014, their developer team has been moving quickly. As a result, their product may lack some of the quality, polish, and general reliability that come with more established tools. Support inconsistency has also been a struggle, especially with their quick growth. 

As discussed in the HOOPS Exchange section, CAD Exchanger does not offer public roadmaps or visibility regarding upcoming formats. When making an investment in an SDK, many companies are planning for the next 5-10 years, and this lack of transparency can be an issue. Support of different formats can be inconsistent across different versions.

As a result of their smaller team and less experience, CAD Exchanger tends to be behind HOOPS on releases for yearly format updates.

CAD Exchanger lacks some supporting features for CAM and CMM markets and has limited format support for Digitial Construction. They do not offer support for Revit, Navisworks, 3MF writer, and STEPXML reader at the time of writing.  

Bottom Line:

CAD Exchanger exists in an interesting niche of the CAD Data Translation SDK Market, especially when compared to HOOPS Exchange. These two offerings are going to serve companies with different feature needs, budgets, and organizational goals.

As a newer player, CAD Exchanger lacks the experience, size, and capabilities of the more established player in the market. For those looking for comprehensive, polished features, this may not be the product for you. Their higher tier pricing competes with HOOPS Exchange and 3D Interop by Spatial, yet will fall behind both in performance.

Where CAD Exchanger shines is in its lower pricing tiers. If you’re looking for a somewhat limited feature set, and have a likewise smaller budget, CAD Exchanger is going to be a strong option for you to consider. When making your purchase choice in this case, be clear about exactly what you need, what your development support needs are, and your organization's priorities. If they fall within CAD Exchanger’s offering, this is a worthwhile contender.

If you’re looking to learn more about CAD Exchanger, download their brochure below.

HOOPS Exchange Vs. CAD Exchanger

Overall, HOOPS Exchange and CAD Exchanger serve the same market in very different ways. The difference in price, feature set, experience, and support makes this a somewhat asymmetrical comparison.

CAD Exchanger can offer lower-budget teams with specific needs a way to start their development. While they do also have higher pricing tiers, once you start paying that level of money, it's hard to see many reasons to choose them over HOOPS Exchange or even 3D InterOp. 

Whether HOOPS Exchange or CAD Exchanger is right for you is going to come down to which of their niches fits your needs better. Another big player in the market is 3D InterOp, by Spatial. If you are considering this option, we have a full breakdown of this product compared to HOOPS Exchange below.

Return to Blog ⇾