I received an email from Tuomas Holma at CADFaster, Inc. regarding their new product called MyCADBox.
It’s aim is to be the easiest way to share CAD models for review and feedback. It syncs STEP and IGES files automatically between PC and iPad and you can share to others just by entering their email address. Our native viewer can display any large 3D model which WebGL based viewers cannot do, at least with a good frame rate.
After a simple registration process of entering your email address and picking a password I was presented with a simple looking screen with a sample STP file to view.
After clicking on it, the viewer started to show the model but I was presented with a loading progress bar that took over 1 minute to load (using a 6mbps DSL connection). I’m not sure this is acceptable for most people especially since I was simply viewing the sample model which wasn’t anything overly complex.
I did receive an update by email after my initial login from Tuomas that informed me that they are working on an update to dramatically reduce the time it takes to load a model, so that is encouraging news.
The viewer itself allows you to rotate and zoom but nothing more. The lack of features such as measure, explode, section, comment, etc makes this a fairly useless application for real world collaboration. I’m not sure who would only require viewing of a model and nothing more. I fully expect they plan on building out the features, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Uploading of files to the service seems to be a bit tricky right now. There does not exisit any means to directly upload your files from the web browser. You need to first download a client application in order to upload to the MyCADBox service. Interestingly enough, I found the web upload only at GrabCAD workbench lacking but miss the functionality with MyCADBox.
With the lack of features that truly excite me at this point, I was hesitant in downloading and installing an application on my computer that allowed for uploading of files to the service. However, after downloading the setup and installing I was able to associate STEP and IGES files with the MyCADBox app. I wasn’t sure if the program can be used with any native CAD formats like SolidWorks or Inventor. I’m suspecting not but was never able to actually use the application to try it out because it kept crashing on launch.
MyCADBox allows you to share up to 10 models at once for free and charges $9.99/month for sharing up to 100 models. They also provide a free iPad app for viewing your models.
In conclusion, I’m excited that the market for cloud based CAD collaboration is showing some diversification but am afraid that some are rushing to go live before they are truly ready. When you have to compete against the clear titans of CAD sharing like Autodesk or GrabCAD with millions in development budgets you have to bring something unique and of utmost quality in order to show the world you are worthy of the fight for attention.
I’m hoping this post gets some attention from MyCADBox and they look hard at what they are trying to accomplish with their product. I’ll certainly try it out again when they are ready.