All You Need to Know About CATIA for 3D Printing

Published on November 4, 2023 by Aysha M.

Today, there are many different types of 3D modeling software for different types of users, from beginners to professionals, depending on their needs. CATIA (Computer-Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application) software is a complete multi-platform solution for computer-aided design, manufacturing, engineering, 3D printing and PLM (product lifecycle management). Marketed by manufacturer Dassault Systèmes, the software is ideal for design, manufacturing and analysis. Furthermore, like Solidworks, the program features powerful parametric modeling and photorealistic rendering tools. However, CATIA offers more advanced functionality for surfaces and modules for different industries.

CATIA was developed in the 1970s, initially for the in-house needs of Dassault Systèmes teams, notably for the development of the Mirage fighter aircraft. Conceived therefore for the aerospace sector, it is a complex and reliable tool for many industries. From its inception to the present, the Dassault Systèmes team has continued to innovate and improve the functionality of the software until it reached the most recent version of CATIA (V5-6R). Today, the applications for which the software is most widely used are: engineering and systems engineering, design and construction. This makes it an ideal tool for industries such as the aforementioned aerospace sector, as well as the transportation, naval, automotive, construction industries and, without a doubt, it is one of the most widely used CAD programs in additive manufacturing.

CATIA was initially used to design the Mirage fighter aircraft

The Features of CATIA

CATIA is capable of creating parametric and non-parametric 3D models. The program is compatible with Windows, Solaris, IRIX and HP-UX. CATIA is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. Like most design software that is compatible with 3D printing, t allows models to be exported in STL format so they can be sent to the 3D printer. If you have earlier versions of the program, Dassault Systèmes provides tools to convert the files to be compatible with the most recent versions. In addition, the software is available in two types depending on the functionalities required: CATIA V5-6R and CATIA 3DExperience.


The latest version (CATIA V5-6R2016) is characterized by improved user productivity and ease of use. It also offers high compatibility with other versions and a smoother transition to 3DExperience. This version also offers a superior collaboration experience where teams can cooperate using a “plug and play” virtual reality screen to interact with the product. Users can take advantage of more than 80 enhanced features such as room design, Generative Shape Design applications and more.


The version V5-6R of CATIA.

CATIA 3DExperience

Another version of the software is 3DExperience CATIA, which is similar to the previous one, but with the additional integration of other Dassault Systèmes brands such as Simulia, Delmia and Enovia. This allows for, thanks to the ecosystem created by Dessault Systèmes, the combination of design, manufacturing, simulation and product optimization in a single platform. This is another reason why CATIA is an ideal software for designing 3D models and parts for additive manufacturing.

For example, 3DExperience CATIA offers the ability to view models without having to install additional applications and to save designs in the Cloud, which contributes to ease of use and enriched experience. With the recent update, CATIA R2023x offers enhancements and new features to take design to the next level and further improve collaborative virtual design, design creativity and product innovation.

CATIA’s various applications form the core of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions to meet industry needs. Users also have access to a community where they can discuss and exchange information and ideas about CATIA and their projects. The various CATIA applications form the core of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions to meet the needs of the industry. These programs revolutionize the way companies design, develop and bring new products to life. To purchase one of the CATIA versions, you learn more about the licenses and different versions on the Dassault Systèmes website HERE.

Photo Credits: Dassault Systèmes

What do you think about this software? Would you use it? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, all the latest news in 3D printing straight to your inbox!

The 3 comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Dear Aysha,
    Congratulations for your article, in addition CATIA has evolved into a new platform named 3dexperience and for your reference, in our daily work we use it to design and develop consumer packaged goods.

    Best regards, Agustín Acuña

  2. Sunil vijaykumar says:

    It helped me to know more about the software tool . Thank you.

  3. Gagan Kumar says:

    Can you please tell me that CATIA or solidworks which is best.

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