MCAD Tech News (#310)

23 Jun, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk Suites Are More than the Sum of Their Parts

New product packages offer powerful programs at great discounts — but do they make sense for you?

By Bill Fane

This year, as always, Autodesk released new versions of its numerous software products. What was unusual this time around, however, was the introduction of a variety of software suites, which group the individual 2012 releases into bundles appropriate for various types of CAD users.

Right off the bat, this development generates a number of questions. Let's start with "Are these suites really beneficial?" The answer to that question is "Yes ... or no." If you need to "sell" your designs to clients, to customers, or to management, then the answer is "Yes." If you are designing things like factory layouts, consumer goods, industrial machines, buildings, cars, boats, or airplanes, then the answer is still "Yes."

On the other hand, if you are designing things such as punch press die sets or electrical schematic diagrams for clients or for in-house use you probably don't need photorealistic real-time animations or free-form sculpted surfaces, so you can skip the rest of this article and go read Lynn Allen's latest article instead.

Suites for the Sweet

Now let's go back and take a look at the Autodesk suites to see what species of critter they be. I'll admit that when I logged off at the end of the media webcast that introduced these new offerings, I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.

I was underwhelmed because they seemed to be just a simple bundling of existing products. The concept behind them is that many companies use more than one Autodesk product — or at least with Autodesk's current emphasis on "digital prototyping," they think that more companies should be using multiple products. Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.


Dynamic Helpers Shorten the Solid Edge
Learning Curve

On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial: With these handy aids, you can stay productive while transitioning to a new system.

By Russell Brook

Learning a new CAD system can be a daunting task — especially if you are already familiar with another system. Switching software to accommodate a technological shift or a new job can mean a dip in productivity while you learn your way around the new program.

To help you transition from 2D to 3D or from other 3D systems, Solid Edge provides dynamic helpers, so you can be productive while you learn. They automatically switch off as you go, becoming less obtrusive as you gain more experience. Helpers in Solid Edge consist of the start-up screen, tool tips, command tips, Command Finder, and more.

Controlling Helpers

Let's start by pointing out where to toggle helpers on and off and control how they behave. This is helpful if you want to reset the helpers for a new user or switch them off altogether on a clean install (or after an upgrade, if you are an experienced user). Read more »

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Russell Brook is the Solid Edge product marketing manager for Siemens PLM Software global marketing (Velocity Series).


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Knowledge Capture with Digital Manufacturing
June 28, 2011
11 a.m. ET
CPDA will host this free webinar to explain how digital manufacturing can help companies leverage engineering learning and improve product quality. Read more »

Experience the Power of tsElements for SolidWorks
July 6, 2011
11 a.m. PT
This webinar introduces a new add-in that enables designers and engineers to transfer designs from Rhino and subdivision surface modelers to SolidWorks. modelers. Read more »

27th Annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference
July 25–29, 2011
Phoenix, Arizona
The Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC) features technical presentations by industry experts, advanced workshops, and seminars along with an exhibition hall filled with providers of metrology systems. 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


Twitter Chat with Lynn Allen Today!
Join Cadalyst for a Twitter chat with Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen (@Lynn_Allen). We'll discuss mobile design collaboration and the latest tools for editing, viewing, and sharing AutoCAD files on the go. The chat will occur on Thursday, June 23, at 4 p.m. ET. Follow the conversation at #dellcad and jump in! Read more »

Show Me the Money
Gain management support for your ideas by presenting them in terms of the dollars they'll save. Read more »

Bentley Unveils AECOsim Family of Information Modeling Software
Interdisciplinary applications aim to improve building design, analysis and simulation, and LEED compliance management. Read more »

Circles and Lines: A Perfect View
After years of requests, AutoCAD users' wishes come true with the Transparency property for objects and layers. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference Crosses the Pacific
The "by users, for users" event arrives in North America — and brings some Australian traditions along with it. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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