the business of cad


Issue #761 |  January 22, 2013
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In This Issue


1.ZW3D Press Briefing

   - UI and Importing

   - Sketching

   - Modeling and Assembly

   - CAM


2. Joshua Smith of Kaon Interactive

   - Readers React

3. Out of the Inbox, and our other regular columns.



ZW3D Press Briefing

Orchid Jin of ZWSOFT presented a Webinar outlining the new functions in the company's ZW3D CAD/CAM software. Formerly known as VX, the software has been owned by ZWSOFT since its 2010 release. This is the 17th release of the program, and Ms Jin said it has 300 new features along with 300 improvements.


It seemed to me that the greatest programming effort when into making the managers more flexible. Managers are like the Feature Manager in SolidWorks, but ZW3D has two: one for CAD and another for CAM.


The CAD one handles multiple sheets (drawings). It now lists alignments and tables. During the demo, I saw that it the manager now allows you to edit features, drag operations and features around the tree, and even turn parents into children. Any change can be undone.


The CAM manager now has folders, which lets you group operations, and icons that are informative (instead of uniform). Like the CAD manager, you can now drag and drop operations to change their order.


UI and Importing

Next big change is that ZW3D now handles multiple windows. You can open more than one drawing and/or model, and then switch between them with Excel-like tabs. The ribbon is cleaned up and customization is easier, apparently (this was not demo'ed). See figure 1.

Figure 1: The new user interface of ZW3D 2013

(Click image for clearer, larger version.)


The display engine is updated toOpenGL 3.0, and so rotating the model is smoother and regenerations are 24% faster. There was no mention of new translators, but STEP, IGES, and Parasolid files are imported cleaner so that there are fewer open faces.



In the sketch environment, the new Smart Constraint function automatically detects constraint types on sketches. Conflicting constraints are highlighted by color, and a palette reports the status of constraints.


The lengths of arcs can now be dimensioned, and there was reference to "direct external references" that was not explained. There is a new dimension style manager, along with centerline annotation and more ways to dimension chamfers. There is a new editor for visual control features, and a new panel for surface roughness symbols.


Modeling and Assembly

The new free wrap function lets you wrap surfaces and patterns on to faces. The example we saw placed the wrap on a lamp shade. Draggers let you interactively adjust the array on the face, such as the spacing, position, and size of array elements.

As you pass the cursor over models, a new tooltip reports the draft and thickness.



The simulation kernel in ZW3D 20133 has been upgraded to MachineWorks v7.1, allowing improvement to other areas of the CAM module. For instance, verifying very complex parts is now more stable, and the programming of contact point containment is simplified. The CAM module now supports multi-step machining in the Z direction. A new D Loop function shortens roughing time by 20%, and a new Detect function makes manufacturing safer.


The tool manager is improved, allowing you to load and save cutter data individually or as groups, and the manager makes it easier to define holders.


Beta versions of the software will become available January 23, and the software is due to ship in mid-March.




Joshua Smith of Kaon Interactive

Readers React
"CAD on small screens. Waiting on the even smaller mini projector or roll up OLED screen and the massively useful web-cad."
      - Greg Hruby
        Minnesota Department of Transportation

"Objective-C is object-oriented C. Apple gave the world OpenCL, which seamlessly marries with OpenGL, both of which are heavily written in either C99 and/or C++. AMD specifically extended OpenCL to be C++ certified after 1.1 was released. iOS fully embraces C, C++, Objective-C++, and of course Objective-C.


"The interfaces written in Objective-C consist of a small amount of code in the overall scheme of porting CAD to iOS.


"With LLVM/Clang [low level virtual machine] making life far easier for developers, it opens up a very modern compiler design for C99/C11/C++11 software development, amongst other languages. The ARM Targets in LLVM/Clang means that any serious development house isn't sweating bullets on porting from CISC to ARM's RISC. They're doing something wrong if that is their primary concern.


"CAD Programming will be a mix of C and C++, but also there is a lot of CAD written in Java, as there is in the world of heavier engineering applications such as purely scientific numerical analysis applications. Case in point: Mathematica, Ansys FEA/CFD, COMSOL, Siemens' suite of tools, not to forget MATLAB, and many others that use a mix of C/C++/Java to make it available on Windows, OS X and Linux simultaneously. Each one installs their own custom GCC/Java toolkits to boot so as to ensure their app runs without any missing shared object libraries or ABI incompatibilities.


"There is a solid history of how come it is and will become the de facto choice of corporations, globally. ARM, Intel, NVIDIA, AMD, SONY, CRAY, IBM, APPLE [obviously], GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, DoE to Wall Street and more are heavily invested in using LLVM/Clang:

"Khronos, being 100% invested in OpenGL, OpenCL, and the rest of their specs, is fully invested in LLVM/Clang, along with the likes of Adobe. Microsoft third-party developers have been pushing hard and helping get LLVM/Clang natively built and available for Visual Studio 2010 and newer.


"I'm getting off-topic with respect to language requirements on iOS being solely Objective-C but I needed to include the big picture of the C/C++/ObjC/ObjC++ Clang world with LLVM and iOS so the world is more well informed in your neck of the woods, wrt porting CAD to iOS, or to OS X natively for that matter.


"The paradigm shift to a touch UI in such a small form factor and how the interaction and ease-of-use will always be a huge hurdle for CAD, which isn't known for intuitive UIs."
      - Marc J. Driftmeyer
      ReAnimality, Inc.


The editor replies: "I did not know that Java was used so much in CAD. But then there last week's Java scare (my computer got hit, and so Java is now turned off). What effect does this have on Java-based CAD programs?"


"Thanks for finding and interviewing Joshua Smith from Kaon Interactive. I've been in the PLM space for more than 10 years now, but I know very little about the vendors who supply the underlying technology (like kernels, shaders, etc.). Your interview below was very educational for me as we proceed into the brave new world of 3D and CAD on tablets and smartphones. I appreciate your newsletter and your angle on things."
      - Jonathan Scott
       Razorleaf Corporation

Out of the Inbox

I like this better than software companies giving away license of software, which costs them nothing but gets them a tax credit: "Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. is proud to award the first Vectorworks Young Architects Student Scholarship to Gabriel Munoz Moreno. Moreno will receive a $2,500 award toward tuition and fees for his Bachelor of Architecture degree."


Siemens PLM's release of Femap V11 speeds data access by up to 25x and reduces memory consumption by up to 80%. http://www.siemens.com/plm/femap


In a carefully worded press release, LEDAS of Russia sets up a branch office in the USA. Technically, the shareholders of LEDAS establish a company named Ledas, Inc., together with their US partner, Michael Taytslin. Mr Taytslin is the former CIO of PTC.


Sometimes the headline sounds interesting, but then the body of the press release is incomprehensible, and so I cannot report on it.


And then there are the intriguing press releases that hint at some new product, like this one from ASCON Group: "ASCON today announced that they have selected the Redsdk rendering application from Redway3d for adding real-time and photorealistic rendering into a future, prospective, unannounced yet software products." [Emphasis mine.] http://www.ascon.net


Remember that ad from the ITC running in this newsletter looking for a new business development director? Robert Berry did, and he landed the gig. Mr Berry is formerly with TurboCAD and owns the CADCourse.com training site.


QuadriSpace will be releasing a mobile/cloud solution for collaborative review, instructions, and catalogs early this year. It'll have a commenting feature built into the mobile app. And that's all I know about it. We have an interview scheduled for later in the week. http://www.quadrispace.com


GRAPHISOFT releases ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2013 for smaller architectural firms. I think the idea is that there it has advanced functions missing and reads files from only older releases of full ArchiCAD, in exchange for a lower price. Comparison chart here: http://www.graphisoft.com/products/acse2013/comparison.html


Celeritive Technologies is awarded patent 8,295,972 from USPTO for ideas in its VoluMill software's ultra high performance tool path technology.


ISD Software und Systeme GmbH this week releases HiCAD 2013 and HELiOS 2013 with 3D representation, enhanced FEM interface, and new modeling and sheet metal functions. http://www.isdgroup.eu/75_news__press_services/news.410m1002-1-333.htm


On our Blogs

Here are some of the items that appeared recently on our WorldCAD Access blog at http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com:

Letters to the Editor

"I came across some interesting reading on the ARMA website. The linked ARMA Hot Topic contains much interesting information relating to cloud computing security, reliability and legal considerations:


"MAKING THE JUMP TO THE CLOUD? How to Manage Information Governance Challenges" at http://www.arma.org/HotTopic/HotTopic910.pdf .


"ARMA International is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on managing records and information – paper and electronic. Keep up the great reporting on the CAD industry."
      - Bob Rea

"I hope you are doing OK and would like to wish you and your family our best wishes for 2013, health and exciting new articles to write!"
      - Cédric Desbordes, world business development


Notable Quotable

"When we started SolidWorks people said to us, 'You're too young.' Now they are saying, 'You're too old.' :) "
      - Jon Hirschtick


upFront.eZine is published every Tuesday, except during summer and Christmas vacation. Editor: Ralph Grabowski. This newsletter is read by 11,000 subscribers in 70 countries. Your comments are welcome at editor@upfrontezine.com! Deadline for submissions is every Monday noon.


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Entire contents copyright 2012 by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide. Letters sent to the editor are subject to publication. Article reprint fee: $840. All trademarks belong to their respective holders. "upFront.eZine," "The Business of CAD," and "WorldCAD Access" are trademarks of upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity and brevity. Translations and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.


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