Oculus compatible CAD/Design software

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The Oculus Rift VR headset is now available for pre-order at $599 (Ship date of June 2016).

So, maybe the Oculus Rift isn’t necessarily intended for 3D design and product development, but VR for 3D CAD is certainly bound to happen. What software is already compatible?


@joshmings - The real question is what you and others would like to do in a VR environment?


Of course. I agree, but it’s a bit rhetorical if talking about a current software. For instance, if I was using SolidWorks, I would want to build the design, move in and out of it, see it in context, test fit and function - things that are possible now on a wee flatscreen.

For future applications though, I would say, an interactive desktop environment and a collaborative workspace environment that bridges the aspects of the entire design process.


Agree about the collaborative workspace. How would you imagine an interactive desktop environment?


I think Microsoft is headed in the right direction with the Hololens:

(In fact, I think Hololens shows the limitation of a headset like Oculus.)


i think one of the biggest advantage is that we can perceive our cad as in real world, 1:1 scale viewing and stereo view would enable us to see “product depth” better. thought i would be more interested in hololens


While I don’t think it will be how we primarily interface for CAD, I AM very excited about using it for review and context as has been mentioned.

Right now I’d love to find a viewer that can load up a STEP file, privately.
I’d REALLY love to find one for iPhone that supports Cardboard, since that’s something that would be a lot easier to keep on my desk at work and possibly bring into meetings.

Sketchfab looks to be moving in the direction I’m looking for. But I’m not sure what their import formats are, or whether you can view models without having to upload them publicly. (I haven’t had time to dig through the site yet.)


Ok, this inspired me to sign up for Sketchfab and answer some of my questions.

You can only keep a model private if you have a Pro account, that costs $10/month.

The most relevant import format I see is STL. But they DO have a Solidworks plugin for exporting.

I may sign up for a month of Pro and try it out. They have Cardboard support.


Sketchfab is a great product and their integration is growing. If quality matters, the Business account handles the highest resolution, but then that’s $29/mth. Virtual Studio is a Business Pro user with some good product examples: https://sketchfab.com/virtualstudio


It amazes me that anything related to design was left out of this article…

The Future Of Virtual Reality Lies Beyond Gaming

Those are just three ways VR will change the way we consume—and interact with—content: live sports and entertainment, social networking, and movies.

There are many other opportunities for VR to change our content. They include news (immerse yourself safely in a war zone using the New York Times VR app), retail (hunt for your next house using a pair of VR goggles), and fashion (try on a new pair of shoes in VR).

Of course most of what I’ve discussed is in an early stage. But if there’s one thing I’d love you to take away from this newsletter, it’s this: VR headsets aren’t just for gamers. There will be highly compelling VR content for sports fans, music lovers, movie buffs, news hounds—whatever type of content you’re into.


Consumerism at its best… Only thinking of how to consume stuff not how to create stuff (Design/Engineering)


I would love the possibility to use my 3DCAD (Solidworks atm) to view models in the real size. Even with lots of experience, it is still hard to get a feeling of “can one mount it”, “will it look/feel stable enough”, “deepness and feeling when standing before something”.

This would help so much, especially in showing it to non technical people.

Worth the 600$ in any way!


I’m not so sure. Once I can work in VR, I doubt I’ll want to take it off. I’ve spent just enough time in VR to know that once you’ve been “present” in your work, it’s really hard to go back to a glowing rectangle.

Yes, seeing things 1:1 is really cool, but I think the appeal goes far beyond merely practical benefits. There is something wonderfully intuitive about manipulating objects in 3D space directly in front of you. It’s not something I can express in words, but there is a visceral feeling that is different, and better.


Anxious to see the first real integration of CAD into VR/AR/MR…


HTC and Dassault partner for virtual reality



We’ll this just means is going to be ridiculously expensive…


Expensive, hard to use, proprietary, and clunky-as-hell.

I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody disruptive decides to build a design tool on a game engine like Unity or Unreal Engine, then goes bananas in the broader (non-hardcore CAD user) market. Using a game engine means you are functional on virtually any PC, VR comes free, and you don’t have to do any graphics development. Seems like a good move for somebody.