Face To Face With Catia - Online Article

Introduction to computer added design

Apart from the theoretical aspects of CAD, here we are going discuss about the major features of Computer Added Design. The software on which we are going to discuss is CATIA. As we know that in today's world there is lot of need of analysis and it is quite impossible to manufacture a model and perform the testing on that, by any company or manufacturer. Its not only time consuming but expensive and infeasible to perform so much of experiment on it. So these modeling and analysis soft wares help a lot in performing testing and getting the result without any physical material and energy loss.

Basically, CAD design is divided into three parts:


These designs have following feature:

  1. Need for recognition.
  2. Name of problem.
  3. Synthesis (Optimizing).
  4. Analysis (Mathematical calculation).
  5. Evaluation.
  6. Presentation.

CAD models are of three basic types :

  1. Wire frame.
  2. Surface.
  3. Solid.

Introduction to CATIA

CATIA is software developed by DASSAULTS SYSTEM, a French company. It is a completely re-engineer next generation of CAD/CAM/CAE. CATIA has four platforms in which first two are basics, third one is the student level i.e., for educational purpose and the last i.e., fourth one is for industrial purpose (manufacturing purpose).

CATIA stands for Computer Added Three Dimensional Interactive Applications. CATIA P3V5R14 indicates the CATIA platform 3, version 5 and revision 14. CATIA serves the basic design task by providing different workbenches. The different workbenches of CATIA falling under mechanical design are:

  • Sketcher workbench.
  • Part design workbench.
  • Wire-frame workbench.
  • Assembly workbench.
  • Drafting workbench.

These are some of the basic workbench under which a model can be created.

System requirement for CATIA

  • System Unit: An Intel Pentium III & IV based work station running MS2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional.
  • Memory: Minimum 256 MB of RAM is required for CATIA usage.
  • Disk Drive: 4GB of disk drive is required.

Bi-directional associability of CATIA

CATIA has different work benches and the bi-directional associative that exists between all the workbenches if CATIA is automatically reflected in other workbenches. e.g., suppose you modify dimension of a part in part design work bench that change will be reflected in assembly design work bench automatically.

Extension of different modeling parts are as follows:

CAT product: It is a file extension that is used for the files created in Assembly Workbench.

CAT part: It is a file extension associated with all the files that are created in the Sketcher, Part, Wireframe & Surface design workbench of CATIA V5.

CAT drawing: This file extension is associated with all the files created in the Drafting workbench.

Specification Tree

The specification tree keeps a track of all the operations that are carried out on the design. The specification tree appears on the upper left side of the screen, when you start any file under any design workbench.


The compass is used to manipulate the orientation of part assemblies or sketch. You can also orient the view of surface & wireframe. It always appears on the top right corner of the geometry.


These are the logical operations that are performed on the selected elements to define the size, location & alignment with respect to other elements or reference.

  1. Geometric Constraint: These are the logical operations that are performed on sketched body to define their size & position with respect to other elements e.g., distance, angle, semi major axis.
  2. Assembly Constraint: The constraints in the assembly design workbench are the logical operations performed to restrict the degree of freedom of their components and to define its precise location and position to other components of the assembly. These are -
    1. Coincidence constraint.
    2. Contact constraint.
    3. Offset constraint.
    4. Angle constraint.
    5. Fix constraint.Quick constraint.

Understanding the function of mouse

  • The left mouse button is used to make a selection of dragging window or by selecting a face, a surface, a sketch or object from the geometry area.
  • The right mouse button is used to invoke the shortcut menu.

Starting a new file in CATIA

When you start CATIA, a new product file with the name Product1 is displayed on the screen, close this file and start a new one in the part design workbench by choosing:

File> Close, from the menu bar the start screen of CATIA V5 is displayed.
Start> Mechanical Design> Part / Sketcher.



As soon as you choose this Part or Sketcher option, a small dialogue box appears on the screen asking for the part name, by clicking ok you can continue.

A part design work bench screen opens up, with the specification tree, origin and compass as default.


From this you can go to the sketcher for two dimensional modeling by selecting any of the planes you want to work upon and then clicking on the sketch icon.

Then the Sketcher workbench invokes and you can continue your modeling for two dimensional designs. Like the screen below.


Now, by using different toolbars you can sketch different figures like by using profile toolbar you can sketch circle, rectangle as shown in figure below.


In next tutorial I will show how to represent a typical two dimensional figure by using other toolbars like operation etc.

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