This paper presents new applications of the Web-based 3D visualization technology in collaborative product development. Three software prototypes are developed with the technology for non-designer to interact with product model without the need of CAD tools. The first system allows the end customer to configure individual components of 3D assembly with a regular Web browser. It provides a simple approach to collecting the customer’s voices. Next, an integration framework is implemented that enables synchronous communications between CAD and on the shelf software tool of 3D visualization. Peer-to-peer design collaboration is thus realized. Finally, this research proposes a computation mechanism for online modification of design features based on a STL model. A Web 3D catalog is developed for customization of real industrial parts using the proposed mechanism. The implementation results of these prototypes indicate that Web-based 3D visualization is an effective interfacing technology to facilitate 3D information sharing for most product-centric activities in a simple and cost-effective manner.

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