CATIA: CAD Software

CATIA is computer aided design (CAD) software widely used for industrial parts design.

Catia 3D printing software
Catia 3D printing software


CATIA is powerful professional 3D software. Unlike other 3D software programs, CATIA software is not based on a mesh approach but a modeling approach using curves (NURBS). It is the most accurate modeling technique that exists.

This distinction makes CATIA one of the most widely used software programs globally, especially in industry, where 3D files serve as a reference for machine tools. Several thousand aeronautics, automotive, rail transit, and architecture use it.

What is CATIA used for?

For these same reasons, CATIA software is suitable for modeling parts for 3D printing. In fact, to create an object, the 3D printer refers to the 3D file sent to it, so this file must contain clear information. CATIA enables you to create these files and provides tools to correct files with geometric inconsistencies. This makes 3D printing easier with CATIA

To learn more about creating a 3D file for 3D printing, please refer to our page about repairing files for 3D printing, as well as our modeling tutorials for 3D printing. You can also download our eBook “Repairing your file for 3D printing”.

CATIA also allows you to test the modeled object’s resistance to the physical constraints it will need to support (its weight, the action of another part on the thing, etc.). This, combined with the solidity verification provided by Sculpteo, lets you double-check that your 3D print will not break. 

CATIA Features:

  • Social Design Environment
  • Global Collaboration
  • Instinctive 3D Experience
  • Capture Manufacturing Process Intent
  • Cross-Discipline Development
  • Product Modeling
  • Unbreakable Relational Design
  • Systems Engineering
  • Advance Surface Modeling
  • Engineering
  • Integrated Multidisciplinary Approach
  • Product Design and Styling

CATIA Benefits:

The main benefits of CATIA are its disciplined system, sketching and rendering technology, engineering insights, multi-platform development, market compliance, and active collaboration. 

The difference between CATIA and AutoCAD

  • Drawing in AutoCAD is powerful and easy to create. In CATIA, creating a drawing is difficult since it is an advanced design software with engineering capability, which Mechanical Engineers typically use. 
  • It is impossible to design mechanical components with higher accuracy in AutoCAD, while it is possible in CATIA.
  • CATIA has Assembly, sheet metal design, and weldment features, while AutoCAD does not have these features.
  • AutoCAD cannot calculate lifecycle management, while CATIA can.
  • CATIA has mold design tools, while AutoCAD does not have them.
  • CATIA can perform simulations on any product. It is not possible in AutoCAD.
  • AutoCAD shows a plain and clean layout of the model; CATIA designs a model in a 3D view.
  • AutoCAD is the most preferred and is the optimum choice for 2D drafting. Its 3D modeling is considered primitive compared to CATIA, a reliable and efficient tool for 3D modeling and the most favored one for surface modeling. 


CATIA files can be exported in STEP or IGES formats as well.STL. This is the preferred file format for 3D printing. To view the list of file formats accepted by Sculpteo and learn how to export your CATIA file. STL format, you can refer to our page on Exporting files for 3D printing.

Published and marketed by Dassault Systèmes, CATIA software is not free. There is, however, a version of CATIA available to students at a reduced price.