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Autodesk on subscription – news from Autodesk University

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A full report of AU will come out on Monday in AECWeekly. In a nutshell, the event really focused on yet-unreleased technology, that are in Autodesk Labs, with the exception of “infinite computing.”

Infinite computing is another word for the cloud. Tw o products for the cloud shipped in September are Green Building Studio and AutoCAD WS. GBS is a natural for this – it has terabytes of data and the cloud enables you to download it as you need it. Other technologies that will benefit from this treatment are rendering and finite element analysis in the cloud, where users will not have to maintain expensive systems to house large amounts of data.

Autodesk’s new subscription program adds value with new features to products such as infinite computing and web services. Basically, users will be able to augment their desktop with point functionality from the cloud. The model is changing in that it offers different services to different tiers of customers based on what they need. The platinum, or enterprise tier for example, will receive a rapid response feature from technical support and also support for older versions of software. The consulting team will also map their process to see how to better serve them.

Each tier will receive infinite computing as part of their package.

Low-cost CAD software

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The race is on in the low-cost CAD market – this week three of these CAD software products announced new releases. Two of them have  the option to download and try the product for a limited amount of time.

2.5D DoubleCAD™ XT Pro v3 from IMSI/Design is the newest version of DoubleCAD, an AutoCAD LT clone . It now has a Redway rendering engine to take advantage of GPU-based graphcs cards, and now supports scripting. It sells for $695 and upgrades are $199. You can learn more about this product here

VariCAD 2010 3.0 claims to offer improvements in STEP file import and includes a number of minor improvements.
To update a version of VariCAD or to evaluate a free 30-day trial version, download it here. The current version is 2010 3.02.

ZWCAD Software Co. announced the release of ZWCAD 2011 Beta software with the ZWCAD 2011 Free upgrade program. Download ZWCAD 2011 Beta here

Free downloads

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

A preview standalone version of Bentley’s Generative Components design software no longer requires MicroStation for installation. You can download it at no charge. 

Bentley’s Integrated Structural Modeling (ISM) tools -ISM Structural Synchronizer v8i (shared repository of common structural model data) and ISM Structural Dashboard v8i (manages workflows for common project types) are available for free download.


There is also an ISM Revit plug-in v8i for integrating Revit Structure and Architectural models with Structural Synchronizer v8i.

Open Source CAD programs

Friday, October 29th, 2010

While Open Source software can often start out as free, it can incur costs later on in terms of hiring developers to build and implement applications. However, it offers opportunities for creative development and customization that are sometimes not available in an out-of-the-box CAD program.


Here are some Open Source CAD programs:


Open CASCADE Technology, 3D modeling & numerical simulation

Open CASCADE Technology has been around since 1990, and is a software development platform freely available in open source. It includes components for 3D surface and solid modeling, visualization, data exchange and rapid application development.



QCAD is an application for 2D drafting, for creating technical drawings such as building plans and interiors. The source code of the QCAD community released under the GPL Open Source. QCAD works on Windows, Mac OS X and many Linux and Unix Systems.The current version of QCAD is 2.2. QCAD 3 is scheduled for release Q1 of 2011.


Cademia CADEMIA can used both by experts and occasional users. It is written in Java and runs on platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux. CADEMIA is an Open Source product of free software licensed under the GPL. “Applications of arbitrary complexity can be efficiently implemented as Plug-Ins in Java.”



BRL-CAD is solid modeling system developed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (formerly known as the Ballistic Research Laboratory, or BRL) that includes an interactive geometry editor (MGED), a ray-tracing library with support for rendering and geometric analysis, network distributed framebuffer support, an embedded scripting language, image- and signal-processing tools, and a host of additional utilities.



Data at the heart of Crossrail

Monday, October 25th, 2010

connecting_crossrail“Data is the blood that runs through cross rail veins,” said Be Inspired Conference guest keynote speaker, Malcom Taylor, P.E., and head of technical support services, Crossrail. “It is at the heart of what we’re doing in crossrail.”


Crossrail was also the winner of the Be Inspired Award in the category “Connecting Project Teams,” winning over two other Crossrail fnalists.



GRAPHISOFT: ARCHICAD download 30-day FREE trial
Bentley: Microstation Trial
TurboCAD pro : Start at $299 - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.

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