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Dassault Systemes DraftSight Q&A

By Jim Romeo

Aaron Kelly
Aaron Kelly, senior director of the DraftSight brand.

To understand what Dassault Systemes’ DraftSight is all about, DE spoke with Aaron Kelly, senior director of the DraftSight brand. Here’s how our conversation went:

DE: Can you describe some of the applications of DraftSight?

AK: Two popular applications are for industrial equipment design, and for architecture and construction. A part, for example, may be designed with DraftSight and subsequently used by other applications to produce that part.

DE: What is the relationship between DraftSight and SolidWorks, and how do the two partner together?

AK: DraftSight, like SolidWorks, is a Dassault Systemes product. A key value that DraftSight delivers for SolidWorks is providing the opportunity to develop a relationship with 2D CAD users in hopes that when those users are ready to move to 3D, they will consider SolidWorks.

In addition, DraftSight fills a great need for many SolidWorks customers who need the ability to share DWG files and want access to a professional-grade CAD product to do so. Plus, SolidWorks customers can save money by choosing DraftSight over another 2D CAD option.

DE: You have cited examples on your website of how DraftSight is used by non-profits around the world. Do you have relationships with non-profits?

AK: Not officially. But we are finding that many are finding out about us and using our product, and we are finding out about them.

DraftSight uses DWG files, and therefore may interface with many different software applications.

DE: Can you tell us more about how DraftSight was used by a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Papua New Guinea?

AK: David Hall is a civil engineer on assignment for a New Zealand economic development agency. It is an organization similar to the American Peace Corps. Hall and his wife were assigned to a small province called West New Britain in Papua New Guinea. Most in the region live rurally and have no plumbing. Hall collaborated with a NGO called “Live and Learn.”

Before leaving for Papua New Guinea, Hall searched the Internet for a convenient drawing program that would work on his Mac laptop, and he found DraftSight.

Hall used DraftSight to aid in the installation of basic water supply systems, to provide water in taps within the village and relieve the women and children of the daily chore of fetching water, often from miles away. He also used it to facilitate construction of ventilated “longdrop” toilets as a sanitary alternative to the current practice of using the bush or beaches as bathrooms.

DE: In your view, what are some things that DraftSight offers that may not be offered in higher-end, licensed software?

AK: It allows access to a free, standalone, professional-grade product available to download at DraftSight.com. In enables open access to an active, online community where users can ask questions about the product and get answers from technical support reps, as well as other users.

It’s downloadable from the web. It’s only about 70MB. It is available in 14 languages, with English being the primary language. Other popular languages are French, German, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian and Portuguese.

DE: In your view, what do design engineers need in engineering design software nowadays? How do DraftSight and SolidWorks help provide this?

AK: Users need compatibility to share files or collaborate across their company and business partners. They need software that is easy to use. They need software that is accurate. SolidWorks and DraftSight are compatible with many file types–and millions of people are using these two software products, so it is easy to find others that may have one or both of these products.

SolidWorks is an innovator in ease of use for 3D design, and DraftSight enables users to work in familiar 2D workflows. DraftSight and SolidWorks offer accurate drawings that can be shared with others.

DE: Do you see any trends in developing engineering design software?

AK: I am not sure we will see a trend in software development of engineering software like DraftSight. It is an enabler for customers to shift their engineering software spending from 2D-focused software to 3D-focused software.

Looking at DraftSight as a DWG-file based system, though, we may see more emphasis on engineering CAD products using DWG files more.

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@deskeng.com.

About Jim Romeo

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@deskeng.com.