This paper presents an infrastructure that integrates a haptic interface into a mainstream computer-aided design (CAD) system. A haptic interface, by providing force feedback in human-computer interaction, can improve the working efficiency of CAD/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems in a unique way. The full potential of the haptic technology is best realized when it is integrated effectively into the product development environment and process. For large manufacturing companies this means integration into a commercial CAD system (Stewart, , 1997, “Direct Integration of Haptic User Interface in CAD Systems
,” ASME Dyn. Syst. Control Div., 61, pp. 93–99). Mainstream CAD systems typically use constructive solid geometry (CSG) and boundary representation (B-Rep) format as their native format, while internally they automatically maintain triangulated meshes for graphics display and for numerical evaluation tasks such as surface-surface intersection. In this paper, we propose to render a point-based haptic force feedback by leveraging built-in functions of the CAD systems. The burden of collision detection and haptic rendering computation is alleviated by using bounding spheres and an OpenGL feedback buffer. The major contribution of this paper is that we developed a sound structure and methodology for haptic interaction with native CAD models inside mainstream CAD systems. We did so by analyzing CAD application models and by examining haptic rendering algorithms. The technique enables the user to directly touch and manipulate native 3D CAD models in mainstream CAD systems with force/touch feedback. It lays the foundation for future tasks such as direct CAD model modification, dynamic simulation, and virtual assembly with the aid of a haptic interface. Hence, by integrating a haptic interface directly with mainstream CAD systems, the powerful built-in functions of CAD systems can be leveraged and enhanced to realize more agile 3D CAD design and evaluation.