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Alibre Design Expert: the CAD system that includes everything you need to go from idea to manufacturing.

Alibre Design Expert is a professional 3D MCAD software for individuals and small to medium sized businesses.

3D Modeling for Mechanical Design

3D modeling for mechanical systems is the core competency of Alibre Design. Create complex parts from scratch or by using existing or imported parts as a reference. Assemble them together to create a final product, and evaluate the physical and motion characteristics.
3D Part Design
  • Learning at your fingertips - Find easy access to information about the tools in Alibre Design Expert by hovering over any icon.
  • Fully parametric design - Everything in Alibre Design is parametric – driven by dimensions you specify. Beyond precision, a huge advantage of parametric modeling is that you can easily change the design by modifying the dimensions. You can also use the built-in Equation Editor to set up complex relationships, or import data from Excel to drive the design.
  • Infinite complexity, easily - Create parts of any complexity with advanced modeling tools. The features in Alibre Design Expert are geared for the design of mechanical systems. Lofted parts allow you to achieve more organic shapes and transitions.
3D Assembly Design
  • Drag and drop assembly creation - To put parts together into a mechanical system, simply drag parts onto other parts using intelligent snapping. The correct constraints are automatically applied, and you can modify them on the fly. When you're done, the assembly will move like it would in the real world.
  • Exploded Views - Create exploded views using the auto-explode tool or by manually exploding your assembly. Publish exploded views into a 2D drawing, or into an animated 3D PDF so others can walk through assembly or disassembly step by step.
  • In-context part creation and editing - From within an assembly, you can create new parts or edit existing ones using other parts as a reference. Using a technique known as top-down design can speed up the design process by creating parts in the context of an existing assembly.
  • Analyze your design - Using tools like Interference Detection, you can quickly find problems and fix them before the first prototype. You can also find the combined physical characteristics of your model, such as its weight.

2D Engineering Documentation

Precise, crisp 2D documentation is the language of manufacturing. Alibre Design Expert offers a highly customizable, expansive tool set to ensure your design intent is conveyed correctly.
2D Drawings
  • Documentation is always up to date - 2D documentation including views and dimensions updates automatically when you make changes to the 3D model, ensuring your documentation is always consistent and up to date.
  • Comprehensive communication - Robust and customizable documentation tools allow you to quickly communicate design intent. With 10 view types and dozens of option-filled detailing tools, it's easy to create professional manufacturing documentation that meet the style and visual requirements of your organization, client, or supplier.
  • Document assembly and disassembly - Include exploded views with bill of materials callouts to document assembly instructions. Shaded views bring the color of the design into the document, making it easy for non-technical stakeholders to understand.
  • Real time, context sensitive options at your cursor - Save time and be sure you're getting what you want with realtime previews of your modifications. Clicking most kinds of objects in the 2D environment will provide you with appropriate options right at your cursor.

Sheet Metal Modeling

Robust and economical, sheet metal provides an astonishing array of uses for mechanical design applications. Alibre Design Expert has a dedicated sheet metal module with tools specific to this design process.
  • Dedicated sheet metal tools - All the sheet metal tools are found in Alibre Design's dedicated sheet metal module, bringing everything you need into one place.
  • Lofted Transitions - Create complex transition parts using the Lofted Flange wizard. Rectangle-Rectangle, Rectangle-Circle, and Oval- Oval end conditions are supported, along with positioning and angle end conditions.
  • Flat Patterns - Create instant flat patterns with a single click. You can also unbend and rebend bends during the design process, and send flat patterns to a 2D drawing for output to fabrication.
  • Convert parts to sheet metal - Sometimes it's easier to get the basic shape of your part or enclosure using regular part modeling tools. Other times, you may have an imported sheet metal part with no design history. In both cases, you can leverage Alibre Design's sheet metal conversion wizard. Select which areas of the model should be bends, and the rips are automatically applied.

Photorealistic Rendering

Alibre Design Expert comes with technology powered by Keyshot – the easiest to use product rendering solution available today. One-click transfers of your models into Keyshot makes it easy to make brochures, sales materials, and website images. You can also explore material and color choices.
  • Keyshot for Alibre Design - Alibre Design Expert comes with a standalone rendering tool called Keyshot for Alibre Design.
  • Transferring 3D models to Keyshot - Either export a native Keyshot .BIP file, or use the Render button to initiate a live-link session with Keyshot. Any time you make changes to a 3D model in Alibre Design Expert, you can press the Render button to update the model in Keyshot automatically, without needing to reassign materials. This version of Keyshot can only open BIP files generated from Alibre Design.
  • Huge drag-and-drop material library - Keyshot comes loaded with over 640 photorealistic materials that you can drag-and-drop right onto your model. Categories include Cloth & Leather, Gem Stones, Glass, Lights, Liquids, Metal, Mold-Tech, Paint, Plastic, Stone, Wood, and several specialty categories. You can easily modify any material, changing various sliders and color options to get the perfect look.
  • Always real-time rendering - Your design is always rendering using Keyshot's real-time raytracing. This means you get a good feel for how the model will look at all times, instead of having to wait for a render to finish. This allows you to be highly interactive and explore many different possibilities quickly. The longer you leave the render without any changes, the better it will look. Or, you can decide to render out the finished image at any time.

Using Mesh Data

Data comes from lots of places. Scans, downloads, you name it. Alibre Design Expert makes it simple to incorporate mesh data into your solid modeling workflows by allowing you to import, reference, build off, and convert mesh data inside a solid modeling environment.
  • Import mesh models into Alibre Design - Alibre Design supports the import of OBJ, STL, 3DS, PLY, and WRL. You can import a mesh into any 3D workspace. Alibre Design's mesh import is not a general purpose mesh cleanup tool – your mesh should be clean prior to import if you plan on converting it to a solid. "Clean" mesh generally means the mesh density is reasonable, the mesh is "water tight", there are no duplicate vertices, etc. Many 3rd party tools provide mesh cleanup tools. The conversion operation is highly sensitive to the nature of the mesh, and as a result may not work on every mesh.
  • Convert a mesh to a solid-organic - There are two conversion types: organic and mechanical. Organic conversion is suitable for scans, or any model that was not designed in a CAD system. You can convert a clean mesh to a solid body, and then perform regular operations on it, allowing you to incorporate interesting design components into your work.
  • Convert a mesh to a solid-mechanical - Using the mechanical conversion type, Alibre Design will attempt to find common model features such as flat faces and holes. If successful, these features will be merged together to form a simple, clean representation of the model. This process is extremely dependent on mesh density and geometry, and will not work for all mechanical meshes.
  • Use a mesh as a reference for a new design - Any mesh can be imported as a reference, even if it cannot be converted to a solid. Using a mesh as a reference allows you to visualize how the model will interact with the real world. Your mesh could be anything, such as a scan of a machine, body part, or space. You can also perform boolean operations on solid bodies with meshes, allowing you to "imprint" the mesh geometry onto a solid model.
  • Snapping to mesh data - In a part workspace, when you enter into Sketch Mode, the mesh will automatically go into a section view on your sketch plane. You can access the cross section of the mesh for snapping sketch figures. In this workflow, you can recreate cross sections of the mesh in sketches, and then perform regular modeling operations on them to recreate a part.

Interoperability

Rarely is anything done in a silo these days. Being able to work with a wide variety of file formats is important, and we've got you covered.
Import Formats
  • STEP
  • IGES (3D)
  • SAT
  • 3DM (Rhino3D)
  • DWG (2D)
  • DXF (2D)
  • BMP, GIF, TIF, PNG, JPG
  • STL, OBJ, PLY, 3DS, WRL
  • Autodesk Inventor (Expert only)
  • Pro/ENGINEER/Creo (Expert only)
  • SolidEdge (Expert only)
  • CATIA (Expert only)
  • Parasolid (Expert only)
  • SolidWorks (Expert only)
Export Formats
  • STEP
  • IGES (3D)
  • SAT
  • DWG (2D)
  • DXF (2D)
  • BIP
  • EMF
  • 3D PDF
  • STL
  • SolidWorks (Expert only)
  • Parasolid (Expert only)
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