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C3D Kernel
Demo application for Mac OS X
Demo application for Linux
Developer(s) C3D Labs, ASCON
Initial release 1995
Stable release V16 / January 27, 2015 (2015-01-27)[1]
Written in C++, C Sharp
Operating system Windows, Mac X,
Linux, Android
Platform Cross-platform,
32- and 64-bit
Available in 2 languages:
Type 3D Modeler,
3D Solver,
3D Converter,
Computer-aided software engineering tools
License Proprietary software

C3D is a geometric modeling kernel originally developed by ASCON Group, now by C3D Labs, using C++ and written in Visual Studio.[2] The C3D kernel used in software products as the component responsible for geometric model construction and constructed model control. It can be licensed by other companies for use in their 3D computer graphics software products. The most widely known software in which geometric kernels, like C3D, are typically used are computer aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer-aided engineering (CAE) systems.[3]

API of the C3D kernel

As the software development tool, C3D incorporates three CAD modules: 3D modeling, 3D constraint solving, and 3D file conversions:

  • C3D Modeler constructs geometric models, generates flat projections of models, performs triangulations, calculates the
    inertial characteristics of models, and determines whether collisions occur between the elements of models;
  • C3D Solver makes connections between the elements of geometric models, and considers the geometric constraints of models being edited;
  • C3D Converter reads and writes geometric models in a variety of standard exchange formats.[4]


  • History 1
  • Functionality 2
    • C3D Modeler 2.1
    • C3D Converter 2.2
    • C3D Solver 2.3
  • Features 3
  • Applications 4
  • Education 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7
  • References 8


Nikolai Golovanov is a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering department of Bauman Moscow State Technical University as a designer of space launch vehicles. Upon his graduation, he began with the Kolomna Engineering Design bureau, which at the time employed the future founders of ASCON, Alexander Golikov and Tatiana Yankina. While at the bureau, Mr Golovanov developed software for analyzing the strength and stability of shell structures.

In 1989, Alexander Golikov and TatianaYankina left Kolomna to start up ASCON as a private company. Although they began with just an electronic drawing board, even then they were already conceiving the idea of three-dimensional parametric modeling. This radical concept eventually changed flat drawings into three-dimensional models. The ASCON founders shared their ideas with Nikolai Golovanov, and in 1996 he moved to take up his current position with ASCON. Today he continues to develop algorithms in C3D.[5]

The most significant improvements of the C3D kernel made each year:[6]

2000: 3D solid modeling algorithms created.
2001: Geometric constraint manager implemented; data converter written to handle standard exchange formats.
2002: Associative views of 3D models added.
2003: Basic surface modeling features created.
2004: Sheet metal modeling algorithms.
2005: Manifold solid modeling implemented.
2007: Wireframe modeling added.
2008: Kinematic joints implemented for modeling mechanisms.
2009: Support for geometric model attributes added.
2010: Full-fledged surface modeling appears.
2011: Expansion to cross-platform support.
2012: Direct modeling elements implemented.
2013: English documentation localized; support for test applications added.


C3D Modeler

  • Modeling 3D solids
  • Performing Boolean operations
  • Creating thin-walled solids
  • Filleting and chamfering parts
  • Modeling sheetmetal parts
  • Designing with direct modeling
  • Modeling 3D surfaces
  • Modeling 3D wireframe objects
  • Surface triangulation
  • Performing geometric calculations
  • Casting planar projections
  • Creating section views
  • Calculating mass inertia properties
  • Collision detection

C3D Converter

Boundary representation (B-Rep):

Polygonal representation:

  • STL (read and write)
  • VRML (read v.2.0/write v.2.0)

C3D Solver

  • 2D constraint solver for 2D drawings and 3D sketches
  • 3D constraint solver for assemblies and kinematic analyses

The C3D Solver supports the following constraint types:[7]

  • Coincidence (available in 2D and 3D)
  • Align points (2D)
  • Angle (2D and 3D)
  • Coaxiality (3D)
  • Distance (2D and 3D)
  • Equal lengths (2D)
  • Equal radii (2D)
  • Fix geometry (2D and 3D)
  • Fix length and direction (2D)
  • Incidence (2D)
  • Parallelism (2D and 3D)
  • Perpendicularity (2D and 3D)
  • Radius (2D)
  • Tangency (2D and 3D)


The development environment operates using these programs:[8]

The supported programming languages include:


Since 2013 - the date the company started issuing a license for the kernel-, several companies have adopted the kernel for their products, users include:

  • KOMPAS-Builder
  • LEDAS Geometry Comparison(LGC)
  • ESPRIT Extra CAD
  • K3-Furniture
  • K3-Mebel
  • BAZIS System
  • Quick CADCAM
  • Belinda Structure
  • Renga Architecture
  • Staircon
  • under development
  • LOGOS Software [9]

Recently, C3D has been adapted to Teigha.[10][11]


Among the customers of C3D, there are educational institutions who are using the kernel for teaching students how to program with geometric kernels.[12]

See also

External links

  • Official website
  • Official ASCON's C3D web page
  • Official LEDAS's C3D web page
  • Official Skolkovo's C3D web page
  • Renga Architecture website
  • book by Dr. GolovanovThe Geometric Modeling[13]


  1. ^ "C3D Labs Introduces V16 of C3D Geometric Kernel". LEDAS Ltd. January 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ Maher, Kathleen (June 6, 2013). "Does the CAD World Need Another Geometry Kernel?". Graphically Speaking. GraphicSpeak. 
  3. ^ Wong, Kenneth (May 14, 2014). "A New Geometric Kernel from Russia". Desktop Engineering. Peerless Media, LLC. 
  4. ^ Jeff, Rowe (April 3, 2014). "LEDAS Geometry Comparison Technology Embeds ASCON C3D Kernel". MCADCafe. Internet Business Systems, Inc. 
  5. ^ Grabowski, Ralph (December 4, 2012). "ASCON interviews Nikolai Golovanov, head of C3D kernel development". WorldCAD Access. upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. 
  6. ^ "History of C3D Labs". ASCON Co. 2015. 
  7. ^ Nikolay Golovanov (2014). Geometric Modeling: The mathematics of shapes. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.  
  8. ^ "Geometric Kernel for 2D and 3D Software Developers" (PDF). C3D Labs, LLC. 2015. 
  9. ^ "Russia’s Leader in Nuclear Power Licenses C3D Kernel". ASCON. 2015. 
  10. ^ Grabowski, Ralph (September 7, 2015). "C3D kernel for Teigha". WorldCAD Access. upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. 
  11. ^ "The Present and Future of DWG". ENGINEERING. 2015. 
  12. ^ "Customers of C3D Labs". 
  13. ^ "Geometric Modeling by Nikolay Golovanov" (PDF). C3D Labs. 2015. 

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