ODA announces new SDK for open access to CAD formats

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Open Design Alliance (ODA) has announced a new initiative to develop a MCAD SDK, an open exchange framework for 3D CAD to provide open access to all major proprietary 3D mechanical formats including Dassault Systèmes Solidworks and Catia, Siemens Solid Edge, PTC Creo and more.

The alliance says that the new MCAD SDK will support geometry and product manufacturing information data through a common interface, for all supported mechanical formats, with universal visualisation for all major desktop and web platforms included.

ODA develops complete interoperability solutions for CAD and is prevalent among architects with its BIM SDKs that help provide data access, creation, visualisation, web collaboration and publishing for a wide range of engineering file formats.

“ODA MCAD SDK offers several advantages over other exchange frameworks,” said ODA president Neil Peterson. “The companies funding the MCAD SDK project will control priorities, fees and licensing terms for the developed software. As a non-profit, ODA is developing MCAD SDK at cost, as a service to the industry—that means all licensing fees are invested back into product development, instead of being diverted off to shareholders, management or unrelated acquisitions.”

Peterson added that it is committed to the MCAD SDK technology “for the long term”, saying that as the CAD market consolidates, smaller companies are being acquired and products are being retired to eliminate competition or to maximise return on investment. “ODA has a laser-like focus on development and isn’t distracted by venture-capital-inspired market activity,” he said.

“We frequently hear complaints from our members about the opaque and unfair licensing terms, often enforced by NDAs, offered by commercial component vendors. ODA has fair and transparent pricing—everyone licensing our software at a particular level pays the same fees, and all fees are published on our website.”

ODA is supported by more than 1,200 member companies, including software developers, manufacturers, government entities, AEC firms, and major retailers.


The MCAD SDK is being developed under the Strategic Interoperability Group (SIG) program and is open to any member of Sustaining level or higher.

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