Getting started with CATIA

– By Pavan Bhat & Varun Kumar B (Tech Team)

CATIA (/kəˈtiə/)  ( Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application)  is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company DassaultSystemes. Written in the C++ programming language, CATIA is the cornerstone of the Dassault Systemes product life-cycle management software suite.

The evolution of this software dates back to late 70s . CATIA started as an in-house development in 1977 by French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault, at the time, a customer of the CAD/CAM CAD software to develop Dassault’s Mirage fighter jet. It was later adopted in the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, and other industries. Initially named CATI (Conception Assistée Tridimensionnelle Interactive — French for Interactive Aided Three-dimensional Design ), it was renamed CATIA in 1981 when Dassault created a subsidiary to develop and sell the software and signed a non-exclusive distribution agreement with IBM. This software proved its worth when the Boeing Company chose CATIA V3 as its main 3D CAD tool, becoming its largest customer.

CATIA finds its application in almost all technical spheres. Commonly referred to as a 3D Product Life-cycle Management software suite, it has following applications:

  • It supports multiple stages of product development (Cax), including conceptualization, design(CAD), manufacturing (CAM) and engineering (CAE).
  • Facilitates collaborative engineering across disciplines, including surface and shape design, mechanical engineering, and equipment & systems engineering.
  • Provides a suite of surfacing, reverse engineering, and visualization solutions to create, modify, and validate complex innovative shapes, from subdivision, styling, and Class A surfaces to mechanical functional surfaces.
  • Enables the creation of 3D parts, from 3D sketches, sheetmetal, composites, moulded, forged or tooling parts up to the definition of mechanical assemblies.
  • Facilitates the design of electronic, electrical, and distributed systems such as fluid and HVAC systems, all the way to the production of documentation for manufacturing.
  • It provides tools to complete product definition, including functional tolerances as well as kinematics definition.

The new CATIA V6 has modified features which are more compatible and user friendly.

  • The users of CATIA V6 get access to company’s award winning collaborative 3D environment that allows unlimited number of online people from all over the world to take part in the virtual 3D brainstorming conference. The “design anywhere, any time” strategy helps sharing the changes in design offline.
  • Real life like experience: The new CATIA V6 provides real life like working environment with new effect, materials and paint shaders.
  • CATIA V6 helps reducing the complexity of the product development by allowing integration of various approaches for developing the product within a single platform.

Through its modifications from its geniture , CATIA has emerged as a perfect tool for design applications.

Learning CATIA v5 :

1)      Get the CATIA v5 and install it on to your computer

2)      The minimum system requirement for CATIA v5 is

i) memory requirements: A minimum of 512 MB RAM is required; however, 1 GB to 2 GB RAM is recommended. The actual memory required for a particular problem will depend on the mesh, physical models that are enabled, and domain complexity.

ii) It requires an operating system of windows xp and above.

3)      There are a lot of tutorial videos on catia v5 on youtube ,so start of with all basic shapes initially and gradually move on to making different machine drawings mentioned in our  textbooks.

4)      We can also make cool looking jewellery boxes and so on

5)      So have fun learning design THE ENGINEER’S WAY.


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