Looking for CAD software

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by yzedf, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. yzedf macrumors 65816

    yzedf

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    Hi all,

    Anyone know of good professional grade CAD software for OS X? I need something that can output to 2D flat files, such as .pdf .dwg and .dxf

    I would also like for it to be able to create self executable .igs files (different from .iges).

    I plan on buying a 12" iBook/PB in the next few weeks, and I would like to know what will be required.

    Thanks,
    yZEDf
     
  2. DisgruntledArch macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    CAD software for Mac

    I use Vectorworks, although I'm not sure what you mean by professional grade; it isn't Autocad or Microstation, by any means, but in many cases, that's a good thing. I've also heard good things about Archicad, but I haven't actually used it. VW can import dwg/dxf files (I use it at an office to shuttle 2D files between Autcad) and has 3D capabilities, although I use FormZ for that. Apparently, one can run Autocad on a Mac via Virtual PC; you can probably find more if you run a search in the forums.
     
  3. spinner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota
    #3
    You can run AutoCAD via VPC but its horribly slow. I would definitely check out VectorWorks and ArchiCAD both are very good alternatives.
     
  4. yzedf thread starter macrumors 65816

    yzedf

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #4
    thanks for the input.

    G3 vs G4 is not an issue i take it?
     
  5. Fender2112 macrumors 65816

    Fender2112

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    I've used Vector Works since way back when it was BluePrint 3.0. I don't know what you'll be using it for but it's very flexible. I use it occasionally to to design house plans and the wall tool alone sold me on the software. It's 3D features are nice for rough design and intagrate well with other 3D apps such as Form Z if you want nice polished renderings. For the price, it's a really great CAD software.

    One thing to keep in mind is the need for plot drivers. Vector Works does NOT include plot drivers. You'll get these with your plotter or you'll need third drivers such as MacPlot. MacPlot will allow you save as a plot file that can be taken to a printing/plotting service bureau.
     
  6. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #6
    no no! please take my advice... I have trained in AutoCad, used vector Works, but again and again I find the Powercadd http://engsw.com/ is the all around best software.

    here in my office we have been practicing Architecture for years on it... and are awaiting the OSX version any day now.

    so at least demo it... hell the price is right (about $500 a head), and lets you do more drawings, quicker, easier & better looking than anything in Autocad or vactorworks.

    oh- that whole learning curve thing? through it out the window, with powercadd a person can be trained how to use it muh quicker than anything else.

    check out there site...http://engsw.com/ and look all the sampole drawings
     
  7. yzedf thread starter macrumors 65816

    yzedf

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #7
    What I mean by professional grade is not in the architect sense. I don't care about how easy it is to add trees or shrubs, or that I can add pictures/scans or change fonts. That is not my focus.

    I am looking in the Mechanical Engineering sense. Nuts/bolts/screws as well as plastic parts such as fan blades/enclosures/fasteners and bent wire parts/stampings etc.
     
  8. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #8
    ummm, yeah, this has all that and a barrel of monkeys too....

    the fan blades you may have to draw your own, and then put them in a library (to easily be reused at a whim)

    but it does everything else you were describing... and when you mention adding trees and srubs as if that's all we can do.....

    well, this software may be a little more advanced than you can need, I mean, HVAC system design vs. full 3D or 2D renderings and technical drawings are another world in entirely. You should check out Omnigraffe, that may be about your level
     
  9. yzedf thread starter macrumors 65816

    yzedf

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #9
    In the PC world a lot of our customers use Solid Works...

    http://www.solidworks.com/

    Looking for something along those lines, just not so junky to use.

    the CAD program has to be able to render 3D objects, create 2D flat files for easy exporting (pdf or igs), and be able to take measurements off of, for a production like environment.
     
  10. joed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Budapest, Hungary
    #10
    I've used ArchiCAD for about 5 years or so.

    It's a fantastic programme and very easy to use. It's also pretty good at importing/exporting dxf/dwg files.

    ArchiCAD 8 has just been released, but have yet to really use it!

    Though I think Vectorworks will be cheaper. Not sure though. I've only have used Minicad (before it became Vectorworks) a little so can't really compare the two.


    James.
     
  11. TMay macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #11
    if you are doing mechanical or product design..

    you want parametric solids, and AFAIK, the only OSX native package is Cobalt from Ashlar-Vellum, which is based on Spatial Technologies ACIS kernel, though it uses PTC's Granite kernel for translations. I have Vellum Solids 2000 on a powermac, use it daily, and may upgrade to Cobalt, though probably not until 2004. It seems to be popular with Industrial Designers. Another OSX package, SolidThinking, seems to be oriented towards Industrial designers as well, though I don't think it has parametric capablilities at this time.

    My personal choice is PTC's (Parametric Technology Corporation) Pro/Engineer Wildfire which (based on their Granite kernel) is XP/UNIX/LINUX compatible, and includes a major UI rewrite giving it parity with SolidWorks in the one area that Pro/E was notably deficient. I am in the process of upgrading my Pro/E to Flex IIIc, which is a bundle loaded with advanced engineering analysis options, and including, in my case, the Complete Machining upgrade from Advanced NC.

    SolidWorks is also an excellent parametric package, and popular, though it is PC only (originally a spinoff from ex-PTC employees, no UNIX; owned now by Dassault (CATIA) and based on EDS's Parasolids kernel).

    Please note, that in the mechanical world today, Product Life Cycle management has superceded MCAD as the buzz word of choice. It is also conceivable that there will be X11 ports of PLM packages once the 970 based PowerMacs arrive. PTC has the capability to fill this niche, and has even expressed minor interest in providing an entry level package (Pro/Desktop).

    Last, though not least, each of the packages that I have described starts in the $5k to $6k range, with maintenance in the area of 12 to 20 percent per annum by package value. Not cheap!
     
  12. Tomasz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Location:
    Berkeley, California
    #12
    I too have been looking for those CAD programs... but, i just wound up buying a PC for the engineering programs, and am happy.... sort of.

    Unless there is a specific need to use a mac, or just be different, try cobalt. Ashlar-Vellum seems to be the closet program to solidworks, that runs on mac.

    If you are doing ME work, solidworks is really good (although it has as many bugs as windows....). ProE/M are more sophisticated, but, I'm not really sure what you are going to be doing with these programs. Some of the CAD companies will provide you with a working demo.... so try them out.

    Let us know what you decide.
    Tomasz
     
  13. jbob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #13
    Concepts V3

    Concepts V3 is due for release any time now. A pre-release beta is available from the Concepts forum www.csi-concepts.com/conceptsunlimited. It's the closest thing to SolidWorks on the Mac and is damn good! Well worth checking out!
     
  14. TMay macrumors 68000

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    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #14
    concepts unlimited

    jbob,

    Thread revived from the dead!

    Am now using Concepts Unlimited as I crossgraded from Vellum Solids. Also upgraded my VectorWorks to 11.5, though is now at 12. Both are on mac. Plus, there is a Concepts 3D product via TurboCAD for mac.

    PTC has a Industrial Design package on mac (and PC) called Pro/Concepts at Version 3.
     
  15. nichos macrumors 6502

    nichos

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Fl
    #15
    Yeah, i was looking at it, and noticed the user who started of the thread is banned:eek:
     
  16. jbob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #16
    TMay - interesring. Why do you use Vectorwerks when Concepts Unlimited does all the 2d necessary too? What does it bring that Concepts Unlimited does not? Also TMay - it be interering to hear your experence high and low of Concepts Unlimited as I am potential buyer. Many thanks
     
  17. TMay macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #17
    Actually, I'm always running into issues where Vectorworks does a better job importing DWG/DXF files, plus, Vectorworks has broad capabiities (more architectural, not that I need that especially) so, it's worth it to keep it around and the upgrade cost is generally about $250 to $300 per version(cheaper than an Adobe CS2 upgrade). Still, most of the reason I keep upgrading is that I have had it since early MiniCAD days. Vectorworks is under $1000 where I think Concepts Unlimited is about $4000, but, I would check on those prices.

    Concepts Unlimited is, as I am finding, quite good for a mechanical design, as long as you don't require more than simple assemblies, which it accomplishes with layers. It really shines for its ease of use, especially with surfaces. Its niche is industrial and conceptual design, and the rendering is very hig quality. For what it does, it is a bargain.

    (Ashlar-Vellum Cobalt was previously my choice on the mac, but, I found, at least at the time, the development was very slow, so I'm glad I was able to switch).

    The real glitch in all of this is that I also have built up a pretty complete suite of Pro/Engineer Wildfire over the years (Flex 3C which is their high end bundle, plus Advanced Structural and Thermal Simulation, Complete NC, Pro/Concept, Expert Framework, and Tool Design Option (mold and die), currently at the 2.0 level.

    I also have a fairly complete GibbsCAM package for programming my machine tools (including surfacing, 4th axis and lathe) which is how a generate my income.

    My plan has been to take time to get proficient at Wildfire, a fairly difficult and time consuming undertaking, so that I can use its analysis and parametric capabilities for design of products that I want to manufacture in the future. But, the above package is very expensive and there is yearly maintenance on the Wildfire (about $10K a year) and GibbsCAM (about $3k a year).

    So, setting aside the estimated $13k in maintenance/upgrades for CAD software a year that I have to pay for (easy when there's lots of work, not so easy when things are slow), the real value of Concepts Unlimited is that you can be using the bulk of its considerable functionality very, very quickly.

    I would recommend that you download the demo of Concepts Unlimited and try it out, plus, go through some of the stuff on the forums to see what some folks are accomplishing.

    Now, I'm not a SolidWorks user, but, a lot of my engineering contacts use it, and like it, so, if you need more capability than Concepts Unlimited, you should check out both Solidworks, and the entry level Pro/Engineer Wildfire. The url below also has an educational version of Wildfire plus Structural analysis that is openly available to professionals for personal use

    http://www.journeyed.com/home.asp

    Note that files are incompatible between the full version and the educational version.

    Sorry for the rambling, but, I figure you should be advised of some of the options available.
     
  18. jbob macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #18
    thanks TMay .. let me know how you find the new Concepts version please
     
  19. bib macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #19
    Hi

    Have downloaded the current beta. I went from an older beta-No new features but smoother running. According to their forum they are soon to release Version 3 of Concepts Unlimited. I was wondering how you are getting on with it in a working environment. I am very impressed, but I haven't got deep into it and I wonder where the pitfalls lie
     
  20. howesey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    #20
    I did a CAD module at university last year using CATIA. Grat piece of software, and it is the industry standard like Photoshop is to images and Quark is to DTP.

    Full version may be a little expensive as it's over £300,000? Something along those lines.
     
  21. TMay macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #21
    bib,

    Happy to see that you are keeping up with the betas. Each seems to be better than the last. I've been downloading the latest betas, but, I haven't really had time to kick the tires yet. The new library is really going to be nice.

    I took on a high priority prototyping project for a local foundry, a customer of which was requiring a lot of prototypes, on short notice, the second batch of which I finished after very little sleep in the last couple of days. A lot of that time I spent programming surfaces in GibbsCAM on the fly ( a few features and operations at a time rather than a substantially complete program) without much margin of error. Only a few little gouges which is not bad for the circumstances. I might get some production from this project as well.

    Otherwise, I'm splitting my time between CU, Wildfire (I'm hitting the tutorials hard, and GibbsCAM. I have some easy time tomorrow, so, I'll probably do some more Wildfire practice, and then a couple of hours with the newest CU beta. What's interesting is that as I get more proficient with machining surfaces, it becomes a necessity to be able to modify them. Hence, the CU.
     
  22. bib macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #22
    TM .. some Q's

    I think I'm assuming right that Wildfire (ProE) is strictly PC only

    How do your ProE files come thru to Concepts, ok ?

    Are you using CU on a PC or a Mac , and are there notable differences ?

    When you have such an expensive tool as ProE, why would you use the relatively cheap Concepts ?

    Do you know of and have you tried any of the other Mac based tools like Solidthinking, Ashlar or FormZ and are they worth consideration for manufacturing design?

    Thank U TM
     
  23. TMay macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #23
    good questions

    Wildfire (Pro/Engineer) is PC, Unix and Linux. It's possible that I can run Wildfire in the future on an Intel Mac Pro (under Vista or Virtual PC).

    Wildfire is way more powerful than CU, but, since I was a previous Ashlar user, there isn't much of a learning curve for CU. An upgrade to CU 2 made sense at the time and I prepaid for the 3.0 upgrade. There are still reasons to use CU even after I gain proficiency at Pro/Engineer and Pro/Concept, though I imagine that it will be mostly to view and modify customer files prior to import into GibbsCAM. For my own widgets, and engineering, I would prefer to stay all Pro/Engineer, though again, that isn't in the near term.

    The difference between CU and Pro/E is that Pro/E (I have the high end Flex 3C plus extras) has the capability to do just about anything imaginable and that's where I want to end up. The problem is that since I make my money machining, it is difficult to get the time to get proficient at software other than what I require to get my machining done. That's the catch 22 that I'm trying to work around.

    I don't know anything about SolidThinking or Form-Z, but, I would consider them to be more equivalent to CU than to Pro/E.
     
  24. TMay macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Location:
    Carson City, NV
    #24
    forgot

    I don't notice any differences between the CU on a PC and CU on the mac, and, I use them interchangeably. I prefer the mac environment over XP, but who knows, Vista may be a welcome addition when it comes out.
     
  25. bib macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #25
    thanks TM for all your help. we're evaluating CU3 right now and we're liking the features / price. ProE etc, even Solidworks is not in our range. this thing does most moderately tricky stuff pretty well. I find the history tree hard to navigate but the whole associativity thing is pretty neat and works well
     

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