think3 Unveils free2Design In China
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think3 Unveils free2Design In China

Initiative offers free 2D software and new community user site in developing countries

BEIJING, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- think3, a leading supplier of product development solutions and industrial design today announced free2Design, a bold initiative to empower designers, engineers, manufacturers and students in developing countries such as China with the legal and licensed use of its 2D software for free. , where downloads are available now at no cost, is also a rich community user site where people can share electronic design tools, techniques and industry information to foster an open and creative dialogue about product development. In addition to China, free2Design is being offered now in English for other developing markets such as India to participate in the program. Other languages will be added over the course of the next year.

"We're leveling the 2D software playing field in the developing world with proven and supported 2D production tools," said Joe Costello, CEO of think3. "Countries like China, whose low manufacturing cost structure made it virtually impossible to afford the very CAD software they require to do business, now have a free source for licensed and supported software that legitimizes their product development globally -- they are truly now free to design."

"Manufacturers here are moving from 'made in China' to 'designed and made in China,'" said Costello. "Every time we convert a pirated seat of software for a legitimate and licensed one, we're helping businesses here investing in their future as a respected global player in product design and development. The free use of our licensed and supported 2D software gives engineers and designers here the needed tools to not only compete, but just as important, innovate." To put this in perspective, it is estimated that more than 10 million people in China alone are using illegal seats of CAD today. As a member of the World Trade Organization, the Chinese government is pursuing new ways to ensure intellectual property rights are respected and software, such as CAD, is obtained legally.

think3's free2Design mechanical CAD software provides users a production- proven set of capabilities for creating 2D documentation based on think3's 2D products and services used by thousands of small to mid sized manufacturers around the world for the past 15 years. It is a fully-featured 2D solution with more functions that industry standards like AutoCAD(R). In addition, it has also import and export DXF/DWG format capabilities that make it compatible with AutoCAD.

2D software features alone would not be enough to improve dramatically productivity -- the difference is adding in a rich user experience that allows users to interact and learn together.

"free2Design is much more than just free software," said Costello. "We are establishing an online design community in China where people can both learn and contribute. It's about sharing and exchanging new applications, ideas and opinions. It's about being part of something bigger."

The community site provides an immediate source of information and interaction for registered users that include:

    * Free and immediate access to all API development examples, libraries of
      symbols and drawing examples -- free for registered users to upload or
      download content
    * A variety of community-driven documents that include getting started,
      documentation, tips and tricks, help and frequently asked questions
    * Online training that includes downloadable self training material and
    * Forums that support general product and industry discussions
    * Industry or CAD-related news that users can contribute to as well
    * User Opinion Surveys

"Our design and engineering students can now learn the fundamental techniques for product design with a tool that they can continue to use after graduation at no cost, which is something they haven't had access to before now. It's liberating for them," said Professor Lu Guodong, who teaches at the School of Mechanical and Energy Engineering at Zhejiang University. "Online social networks are the natural way young people talk to each other today - free2Design offers our students both a social and professional Web community where they can create new relationships, share design ideas and get practical tips on projects or jobs."

As free2Design users become more proficient, think3 also offers an easy and integrated upgrade to 3D, industrial design capabilities and full PDM/PLM capabilities to support the Product Lifecycle as a whole.

About Zhejiang University

Under the direct administration of China's Ministry of Education, the new Zhejiang University is a comprehensive university with fields of study covering eleven branches of learning, including: philosophy, literature, history, education, science, economics, law, management, engineering, agriculture and medicine. The university has 115 specialties for undergraduate studies, and it is entitled to confer master's degrees in 312 programs and doctoral degrees in 237 programs.

About think3 Inc.

think3 is a leading supplier of product development solutions to mid-sized manufacturers worldwide and provides innovative, next generation industrial design solutions for the industrial design industry. Customers include Honda, Mazda, Buell Motorcycles, BMW, Alessi and Michael Graves Design Group. Overall, the company enables more than 5,000 manufacturers to achieve dramatic gains in competitiveness and profitability by optimizing their product development process. think3's best-of-class products, services and unique business delivery model lower manufacturers' risks and remove barriers to successful implementation. With headquarters in Cincinnati and offices throughout Europe, Asia and North America, the privately held company has been leading innovation for more than 20 years. For more information, visit

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