HOOPS Exchange Helps Shapr3D Create a Frictionless User Experience for Its Innovative 3D Modeling Tool
“HOOPS Exchange lets us focus on the value that we feel we uniquely can deliver to our users, because HOOPS Exchange has already solved a lot of the other big challenges for us.”
Seb Cachia, VP of Product, Shapr3D
Shapr3D is a company with an ambitious goal: bringing CAD into the 21st century. The company first launched its namesake application in 2016 as a 3D modeling app for the iPad. Since then, the company has brought Shapr3D to macOS and Windows desktops, creating a powerful yet intuitive multi-platform CAD tool for industrial designers, engineers, product managers, manufacturers, and other design professionals.
“The CAD space really hasn’t changed that much in the past 30 years, even as a lot of other software verticals have completely reinvented themselves to better align with the way that people work today,” explained Seb Cachia, VP of Product, Shapr3D. “Mobility, ease of use, not being tied to a desktop device – all of those concepts are really quite standard in most other software spaces. We believe that the people who are designing the physical world around us deserve that kind of experience too.”
Shapr3D is making good on that promise by delivering a comprehensive range of functionality for CAD workflows, all within the same application. The product encompasses everything from powerful but intuitive 3D modeling, to realistic real-time visualization, to easy creation of 2D manufacturing drawings. Additionally, a cloud-based sync feature ensures that users can effortlessly access any of their designs, on any device, at any time.
“A customer can use Shapr3D to work on a model on their desktop computer at the office, continue modeling on their iPad on the train ride home, and then open up their laptop at home and continue working on that same model,” said Cachia. “It's just a continuous experience in that regard.”
Shapr3D knew, however, that all this functionality would be limited in its capacity to support today’s CAD workflows if it couldn’t easily work with a multitude of different data formats.
“At the end of the day, product design is a very collaborative workflow,” said Cachia. “There might be designs of existing components that you want to pull into the larger product you’re making. Or, maybe you want to use a previous iteration of a product that someone else created as a starting point for creating the next iteration. There might even be a scenario where you’re designing tooling and you need the initial product design file to get started.”
“Obviously, not everyone uses the same design tools or file formats,” said Cachia. “Shapr3D needed to be able to accommodate this diversity – and that’s where components like HOOPS Exchange come in.”
Increasing CAD interoperability reduces friction for end users
Developed by Tech Soft 3D, HOOPS Exchange is a software development kit that provides import of over 30 CAD formats through a single API, enabling developers to build fast and accurate CAD data translation into their products.
The wide range of 2D and 3D CAD formats that HOOPS Exchange is able to support enables Shapr3D to deliver a seamless user experience to end users, removing workflow barriers.
“Basically, HOOPS Exchange reduces friction for our customers,” said Cachia. “They can import and edit models created in popular 3D modeling tools like SolidWorks – and they can also export high-quality CAD models, which can then be imported and further processed in any CAD system.”
For Shapr3D, choosing to use HOOPS Exchange rather than developing CAD data translation functionality in-house made perfect sense, given their limited headcount and their status as a relatively new startup.
“We’re a small company,” said Cachia. “We could spend multiple months reinventing the wheel, tackling something like data translation – but we’d rather tackle the CAD problems that haven’t been solved yet. HOOPS Exchange lets us focus on the value that we feel we uniquely can deliver to our users, because HOOPS Exchange has already solved a lot of the other big challenges for us.”
Choosing to go this route has helped Shapr3D differentiate itself from other offerings on the market and stand out in a competitive space.
“There are other 3D modeling apps available for the iPad, and there are other easy-to-use, intuitive CAD applications for the desktop, but most of those don’t have any industrial-grade technologies under the hood; for example, users can’t actually import or create solid models with them or 3D print the designs they create,” said Cachia. “We might be easy to use, but we're not a toy. Shapr3D is actual industrial-grade software that's compatible with leading CAD software , and that’s thanks to HOOPS Exchange.”
Cachia concluded, “We’re not interested in innovation for the sake of innovation. We’re interested in looking at the real-world workflows of our customers and then trying to enable those workflows in the most frictionless and seamless manner possible. HOOPS Exchange is playing an important role in helping us make that happen.”
Industrial design; manufacturing
Company sought to create an innovative 3D modeling tool for today’s CAD workflows
Needed to support diverse variety of CAD formats
Small company had limited in-house resources to devote to CAD translation
HOOPS Exchange provides fast and accurate read and write support for a wide variety of 2D and 3D CAD file formats
Create powerful yet intuitive multi-platform 3D CAD tool with support for commonly used CAD formats
Focus on unique value proposition of Shapr3D rather than diverting company resources and limited headcount towards data access functionality
Bring a differentiated CAD product to market that stands out from competitors with its combination of industrial-grade capabilities and ease of use