2D CAD data import (SVG DWG DXF)

 From:  Michael Gibson
5025.4 In reply to 5025.1 
Hi danny,

> I'm evaluating the software. Are some features not available?

All features are available in the 30-day trial version. It's just that those various formats DXF/DWG/SVG and also PDF are actually each quite complex formats to deal with.

DWG is not publicly documented by Autodesk and in fact they've even gone to some lengths to encrypt it and make it harder for third parties to deal with it. So there isn't much chance to deal with DWG directly, I would need to license an additional fairly expensive library in order to deal with this.

DXF is documented (for 2D data, not for 3D solids), and I do expect to work on a DXF importer in the future. Just in general any kind of file importer and file parser require quite a lot of work and testing to be done so I'm not exactly sure when this will happen. It's more of a priority to do a DXF _output_ first for generating 2D drawings of stuff you have created in MoI.

SVG is also pretty complex, I have not yet had a chance to read the entire spec in detail, it's something like a 500 page document. Eventually I would like to support it to but again the same as DXF it will probably be for output first.

For PDF I have a basic reader implemented, but PDF is also a quite complex format as well, the data in it is all contained in various compressed chunks with instruction streams in them and it's really not easy to deal with robustly. In the future I may license a helper library to do more robust PDF imports.

The best way to get 2D curve data into MoI would be to use the AI v8 format - that's the format for Adobe Illustrator version 8 - with v9 and later the AI format changed to be the same as PDF but the earlier format is the most simple of these different formats and should be able to be read in to MoI robustly.

Currently you will probably need to use an additional program to help you get your data into MoI, Rhino works well for that, it can handle DWG and DXF imports, and also you might look whether ViaCAD could help you get the job done as well: http://www.punchcad.com/c-12-consumer-cad.aspx

In general the focus for MoI is initially much more on drawing and creating stuff directly within MoI, so that's why 2D CAD import has not really been a big focus for it yet. I do expect to improve it and add functionality in that area in the future though, but for now you will need to use some other software in combination with MoI to get your particular job done, MoI won't do it all by itself right now.

- Michael