Discussed during the Solid Edge ST10 release cycle, the Solid Edge Portal is a new offering from the mainstream Siemens PLM crew that allows you to upload and share your 3D models in a variety of formats.
While there’s a host of these types of services around (Autodesk has one, GrabCAD certainly does, etc etc.) this one is interesting as it provides some inspection, review and mark-up capabilities over and above pure viewing and sectioning.
The service is based on projects rather than specific sets of data. That means if you share the link for a project with someone else, they can see everything in that project – useful if you have multiple files to share – not so useful if you just want to share one model.
Also worth doing that sharing those projects also gives folks the ability to download everything inside it – that said, when you share via email, you have options to flag them as ‘view only’ or ‘view and download’.
There’s a 5Gb storage limitation is based on the data you upload’s size, rather than its size on the server. For example, while we uploaded some hefty STL and STEP assembly data, the viewable should have been pretty compact, but with one weighing in at 264Mb and the other at 360Mb, you could quickly run out of space.
File types supported include Solid Edge native data, neutral formats (including JT, IGES, ACIS, STEP and Parasolid).
Other native formats supported include Catia V4 and V5, Inventor parts, NX parts, Pro/E parts, Rhino 3dm files, SolidWorks parts – it’ll also load up DWG and Solid Edge draft files. Finally on the CAD file front, it also supports STL.
The interface is pretty spartan and considering it’s based on the pretty much industry standard HOOPS toolkit, it’s amazing how different vendors configure the UI for these things.
If you want to learn a bit more about what the system can be, the Getting Started webpage (https://solidedgeportal.sws.siemens.com/home/GettingStarted) should be available to anyone.
It’s interesting to note that the development team has made this touch computer compatible right off the bat, so if you’re rocking the surface computer or similar, you should be golden – we tried it on our own touch-based machine and the experience was pretty compelling.
In terms of browser support, it seems to like anything that supports WebGL on windows at the moment – we couldn’t get the data to display using any browsers on OSX this morning.
If there’s a caveat to the whole thing, it’s worth considering what you’re giving up when you sign in for the service – Siemens don’t even bother hiding the fact that registering for this service means you’re adding your details to their Salesforce instance.
What’s also worth noting is that when you share your project with someone else, they’re required to do exactly the same.