AcceliArch with AcceliCAD (First Look Review)

31 Jan, 2008 By: Ron LaFon

Low-cost architectural add-in offers big value.

Many Cadalyst readers will be familiar with ArchT from Autodsys, an easy-to-use, add-in application for creating construction drawings and architectural models. ArchT has been available for IntelliCAD and AutoCAD for some time, but the recently released AcceliArch (formerly called ArchT 2008) works with IntelliCAD v6.2 and later, as well as with Autodsys' low-cost AcceliCAD application. The latter combination provides capabilities that are comparable to AutoCAD with AcceliArch, making it a low-cost and flexible alternative that is DWG-compatible and can be used either alongside or in place of AutoCAD.

AcceliArch for AcceliCAD includes some features — such as sections, elevations, 2D projections, and the automatic assignment of rendering materials — that previously were available only in the AutoCAD version. Other new features include a curtain-wall object that allows the creation of fenestrations of mullions containing both glass and doors. The AcceliArch Styles Toolbar lets users easily create and modify walls, windows, doors, and other objects.

Among the other enhancements in this release is the ability to overlap a window or opening across two walls and to create tapered walls with varying width. It also has a new toolbar user interface.

AcceliCAD itself is a low-cost CAD application that offers DWG compatibility and a command set and interface that are similar to AutoCAD, allowing it to fit easily into an AutoCAD-centric work environment. AcceliCAD's native file format is DWG, so when you open a file there is no conversion or data loss.

 AcceliArch with AcceliCAD
AcceliArch with AcceliCAD

You'll also find LISP support in AcceliCAD, as well as SHX fonts, PAT hatch patterns, MNU menu files, STB and CTB print styles, and model space and paper space. Those familiar with AutoCAD will get up to speed quickly using the application. Additionally, you'll find support for xrefs, layouts, and commands that work the same as those in AutoCAD. AcceliCAD also includes features that AutoCAD doesn't, such as floating prompt menus and dimension-driven editing and bonus features such as quick dimensions, layer management, block tools, and text tools.

With two applications such as these, both of which have very deep feature sets, it's impossible to touch upon more than a few highlights. Therefore, I recommend a visit to the Autodsys Web site for additional information. I can say, however, that you get a lot for very little cash outlay.

Coupled with AcceliCAD, AcceliArch provides a low-cost alternative that is DWG compatible and can be used alongside or in place of AutoCAD.
Coupled with AcceliCAD, AcceliArch provides a low-cost alternative that is DWG compatible and can be used alongside or in place of AutoCAD.

The system requirements for AcceliCAD are a PC with an Intel Pentium or faster processor and at least 256 MB of RAM, although 512 MB or more is recommended. AcceliCAD runs under Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. You'll also need 200 MB of free disk space for a full installation and a CD-ROM drive if installing from a CD. AcceliArch requirements are similar, requiring 120 MB of hard disk space for a typical installation and, of course, a supported host application such as AcceliCAD.

AcceliArch for IntelliCAD 6.2 and AcceliCAD 2008 with an electronic PDF documentation, but no support and maintenance, is available for $799. A version with annual maintenance and support contract is $999. AcceliCAD 2008 is available for $375 or for $475 with priority support and upgrades for one year and electronic PDF documentation. Five-license packs also are available with or without the annual support and maintenance contract. Upgrades from previous versions are available.

Autodsys' Web site also provides access to a CD with demo versions for evaluation.

With its extensive capabilities, flexibility, and low cost, the combination of Autodsys' AcceliCAD and the Acceli- Arch add-on is a winning combination. Highly Recommended.

About the Author: Ron LaFon