AEC Tech News (#278)

7 Oct, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

User Review: Bonzai3d v2

The 3D modeling tools you need are simple, powerful, and a snap to learn.

By Mark A. Donohoe

When it comes to 3D solid modelers, Bonzai3d v2 from AutoDesSys may be one of the newest kids on the block, but don't let its age fool you. This little program's heart and pedigree descend directly from its older sibling, the powerful and capable Form.Z 3D modeling and rendering solution. Think of Bonzai3d as the best parts of Form.Z wrapped in a new way of thinking.

As a software architect, I'm not the typical user of 3D modeling software. In my work I design custom software, from retail titles to home automation systems to mobile-based games and puzzles for platforms such as iPhone and Android. I also like to model for pleasure — for example, small furniture pieces such as custom speaker stands for my home theater. So when I looked for a 3D modeler, I made a checklist of 10 must-have features, including the ability to quickly frame out beveled models, print directly from the working area, display advanced labeling for model documentation, and export in open-source formats. In addition, the software had to be as easy to use as a 2D program. Every affordable product I found offered only a few of these features, and most were simply too complex. But then I found Bonzai3d. It included 9 of my 10 must-haves right out of the box, plus some capabilities I hadn't considered.

Usually software this complex comes with a steep learning curve, but Bonzai3d, which is available in Windows and Mac versions, has one of the fastest learning curves of any modeler I've experienced on any platform. This ease of use is thanks in part to a large assortment of excellent, free online video tutorials that demonstrate various aspects of the program. These tutorials are so effective that I was able to create my first spec-ready model for those speaker stands within half an hour, all without cracking open the Help file once. When I did have questions about more advanced features, technical support was nothing short of top-notch. Read more »

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Mark A. Donohoe is the owner and CEO of IntuoSoft.

NVIDIA Expands Quadro Line with Mid-Range and Entry-Level Graphics Cards

New Quadro 2000 and 600 round out the family of graphics solution offerings launched earlier this year.

By Cadalyst Staff

NVIDIA has made two additions to its Quadro line of professional graphics solutions based on the company's Fermi architecture: the mid-range Quadro 2000, with 192 NVIDIA CUDA processing cores, and the entry-level Quadro 600, with 96 CUDA processor cores. Released yesterday, these models join the Quadro solutions NVIDIA launched earlier this year: the high-end 4000 and 5000, and the ultrahigh-end 6000. (Cadalyst Labs reviewed the Quadro 5000 in July.)

NVIDIA reports that the Quadro 2000 ($599 MSRP) delivers 1.5 times the geometry performance of the previous Quadro graphics processing unit (GPU) mid-range solution and uses the new NVIDIA Scalable Geometry Engine technology to deliver higher performance across leading CAD and digital content creation applications such as SolidWorks and Autodesk 3ds Max.

Nick Iwaskow, manager, Alliances, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks, said, "With our expected certification of the Quadro 2000, SolidWorks anticipates the newest Quadro solutions will empower designers and engineers with the finely detailed geometry, real-time simulation and analysis, and high visual fidelity they demand." Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Fall 2010 BIMForum
October 14–15, 2010
Atlanta, Georgia
The BIMForum's mission is to facilitate and accelerate the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) in the AEC industry. This meeting will focus on whether real-world evidence substantiates the claims that BIM leads to higher performance in design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Read more »

AVEVA World Summit — Americas
October 18–20, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
The theme for the 2010 AVEVA World Summits is Engage — Inspire — Deliver. The event will include strategic presentations from AVEVA and key industry specialists, plus customer case studies examining the challenges that AVEVA technology has met. Read more »

Greenbuild 2010
November 17–19, 2010
Chicago, Illinois
Organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, this international conference and exposition presents sustainable building design practices and products, including more than 100 educational sessions, LEED workshops, and tours of local sites. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


CAD Manager's Survey 2010 Now Open!
Robert Green has launched his annual CAD Manager's Survey, and all CAD managers are encouraged to participate. The multiple-choice survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey results will be revealed in forthcoming issues of the CAD Manager's Newsletter.

First Look Review: Contex XD2490 24" Scanner
Wide-format scanner is a high-quality choice for technical users who work with D-size documents. Read more »

Available Now: DWG Files to Go
The new — and free — AutoCAD WS extends AutoCAD to the cloud, allowing drawings to be shared and modified via the web and mobile devices. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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