Author Topic: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?  (Read 1098 times)

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Offline Uky

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A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« on: June 08, 2022, 10:48:04 am »
Greetings forum,

Looking for a good, free, working STEP-file viewer.
Have so far tried FreeCAD but it hangs. Others found on the internet are trialware
or requires some sort of subscription/license cost.

No need for any editing. Just viewing.

 

Offline Feynman

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2022, 10:53:30 am »
I use DesignSpark Mechanical for viewing STEP files. However, you have to create a DesignSpark account (no cost).
 


Offline kripton2035

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2022, 11:59:54 am »
designspark is very painful because you have to update it almost everytime you launch it (in my case)
and it refuses to launch if you don't update...
so I use freecad, but did not notice any problem for step files...
 

Offline Feynman

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2022, 06:24:39 pm »
Hmm, strange. My DesignSpark Mechanical never asks for an update.
 

Offline Gribo

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2022, 06:55:39 pm »
I think Solidworks E-Drawing can open .Step files, if not, then Autodesk TrueView is also an option.
I am available for freelance work.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2022, 09:12:43 pm »
Hmm, strange. My DesignSpark Mechanical never asks for an update.
I use it on a mac, may be it's not the same ?
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2022, 10:18:26 pm »
I use FreeCAD to open them. Its free as in beer, and lightweight. I wouldn't recommend actually modelling something in it, feels like flying a spaceship where all the controls are hidden and you don't have instructions. I couldn't even figure out simple things like recolor a model. But for opening and looking at something its good.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2022, 06:15:41 pm »
Yes, FreeCAD does the job for viewing STEP files (and other formats). But yes, its UI is uh... not sure how to qualify it. :-DD
Even just exporting to some other format is not always a picnic.
 

Offline jc101

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2022, 08:03:39 pm »
Hard to beat eDrawings from Solidworks, https://www.edrawingsviewer.com
I use it on Mac and PC
 

Offline gamalot

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Online KE5FX

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2022, 09:07:46 pm »
FreeCAD may seem to hang, but in most cases it's just taking forever to process the file without bothering to provide the slightest clue to the user.  If you let it sit there for a minute or two, it will generally come back to life and let you view the model.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2022, 09:19:19 pm »
FreeCAD may seem to hang, but in most cases it's just taking forever to process the file without bothering to provide the slightest clue to the user.  If you let it sit there for a minute or two, it will generally come back to life and let you view the model.
Indeed. For bigger files it can halt for 15 or 20 minutes but it will come back. It is a known problem to the developers; it has to do with how FreeCad goes through all the objects in an inefficient way. I'm not sure whether the developers have fixed this in newer versions or not.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2022, 10:34:57 pm »
FreeCAD is indeed quite sluggish when loading, but during modelling it's reasonably doable, except for some operations. Working with a sketch with several hundreds of constraints for example is a real pain, but once the sketch is finished and a pad is made, it can work quite decently with the generated 3D object.

Starting FreeCAD is also a pain. I consider FreeCAD still in early development (It's just version 0.20 at the moment, and V1.0 is traditionally regarded as the first stable version fit for general use (Inkscape also took a long time to get there...) I have a thorough dislike for those very slow loading Appimage containers, but the're easy to distribute and they "work" (sort of), and FreeCAD is being developed by a quite small group of active people.

I have never seen 20 minute load times for FreeCAD, but a few minutes is quite possible. One of the longest was a STEP model of an SMT PnP machine I found on the 'net.
... And during those load times My Ryzen 5600G is running on a single thread of it's 6 core / 12 thread capability. Even though multi core processors have been common for 10+ years now, programs that make effective use of them are still not as common as you'd hope.

 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2022, 08:19:53 am »
I don't think I experienced that with FreeCAD. Though I was only opening STEP files that are maybe 50MB or less.
But I had similar feedback of exported PCBs from other Mech. designers . Their expensive tools took hours to open and process the STEP files that came from Altium.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2022, 08:42:38 am »
I don't think I experienced that with FreeCAD. Though I was only opening STEP files that are maybe 50MB or less.
But I had similar feedback of exported PCBs from other Mech. designers . Their expensive tools took hours to open and process the STEP files that came from Altium.
Interesting. I have a similar problem with Orcad Allegro. It produces huge step files even without including the PCB traces. Even Solid Works can't handle a 600MB step file. There should be a way to optimise a STEP file but I never found a tool that could.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2022, 09:11:08 am »
I don't think I experienced that with FreeCAD. Though I was only opening STEP files that are maybe 50MB or less.
But I had similar feedback of exported PCBs from other Mech. designers . Their expensive tools took hours to open and process the STEP files that came from Altium.
Interesting. I have a similar problem with Orcad Allegro. It produces huge step files even without including the PCB traces. Even Solid Works can't handle a 600MB step file. There should be a way to optimise a STEP file but I never found a tool that could.
I made a variant that doesn't have all the small parts, and export that.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2022, 11:50:36 pm »
I once wanted to add a 3D model of an RJ-45 connector.
It was a 58MiB Step file, I opened it, concluded it looked nice and then deleted it again.
 

Offline Uky

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Re: A good working free STEP-file viewer that is NOT on-line?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2022, 04:41:30 pm »
Thanks all who replied.
I got some good suggestions.

Have been using Cadence orCAD/Allegro for ages even before Cadence introduced STEP-file
mappings and display but I have not encountered STEP-files that are several hundreds of MB
in size.
 


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