Hey Jason,

See my answers to your questions below.

Q1:     Is it worth doing?

I've thought about the benefits of this previously. In my case however, I
don't think it would be worth it. Having dealt with alot of offshore
suppliers etc., we try to hedge our bets so to speak. We've been burned a
few times when a plastics shooting company doesn't give the necessary
clearances around components etc. As a result, when I model 3d components I
generally model them as MMC + 0.4mm per side and MMC + 0.2mm height. This
ensures that we get at least a minimal amount of clearance.

Another issue (which could be overcome) is the level of detail of a part.
For instance, I downloaded a model from Molex for their ZIF flex socket
(51374) that has every feature modelled to the point where it can be opened
and closed. For my purposes, this is far more detail than necessary and only
slows down my CAD system. I only need the basic outer dimensions and enough
detail for any mating parts (in the case of connectors etc.)

It would also be far more beneficial to have the models in native CAD format
rather than a generic format like .stp or .igs so that features can easily
be removed or added. I typically like to set up my models so that they can
be placed manually or used in an IDF conversion program. Therefore, I build
them using the same reference locations as used for the part footprints in
Protel. 

Q2:     What do you think is a good price for a model of the following?

I'll pass on this question for lack of experience.

Q3:     Would you use the service?

Though I think it would be a beneficial service for some, I would prefer to
keep our 3d modelling under my own control due to the uniqueness of the
issues we face. However, I can see certain situations (such as a time
crunch) where being able to download the model would be useful. I think the
need for this service would increase if the Protel -> 3d (IDF) conversions
worked better (I've trialed IDF modeller, and use Qualecad, but only for
Protel 99SE).

Hope that helps,
Darcy Davis
Design Engineer,
Dynastream Innovations, Inc.









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