MCAD Tech News (#278)

25 Mar, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

AutoCAD 2011: A Look at What's New

There's a new version of AutoCAD in town, and it's sporting an updated UI, improved 2D and 3D functionality, and much more.

By Robert Green

Today Autodesk announced the latest version of its flagship 2D/3D CAD software, AutoCAD 2011, and there's a lot to talk about. In this article, I'll provide an overview of the significant new features. You might also want to read "AutoCAD 2011 for the CAD Manager," as well as my Cadalyst Labs Review of the new version in the Spring 2010 edition of Cadalyst magazine, which goes on sale later today.

Armed with this information, I hope you'll be on your way to determining if AutoCAD 2011 is the upgrade for you. Enjoy!

User Interface

AutoCAD 2011's user interface is similar enough to prior versions that most recent AutoCAD users should feel comfortable with the new additions after a few minutes of exploration. New features include:

  • A return to the dark model space tab with a new graph paper-style grid.
  • Navigation controls are now docked along the right side of the screen.
  • The quick-access toolbar now includes a pull-down menu for selecting the current workspace.
  • A new ribbon pull-down menu controls how detailed you'd like ribbon panels to be.

Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Robert Green performs CAD programming and consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is the author of Expert CAD Management: The Complete Guide. Reach him via his web site.

KeyCreator Version 9

History-free 3D modeling software can give you an edge in producing manufacturing-ready models.

By Joshua Stollar

Cadalyst didn't approach me to write this review; I went to Cadalyst first. I am so passionate about KeyCreator that I want to spread the word. I wanted to tell more people about KeyCreator after realizing two things. First, I read a post on the KeyCreator discussion forum and realized I am not the only one who has a passion for this software. Second, customers and suppliers alike often approach me to help accomplish their modeling tasks — that's how I know I have great software.

Because I use KeyCreator every day, I see the advantages of the software firsthand. With all the talk lately about direct model editing, I believe users should take a hard look at their current software to make sure it is exactly what they need. Can you produce manufacturing-ready models, and do so in a timely manner? Can you complete changes — big or small — with ease? How much time do you spend studying or learning the history tree or recreating a model from scratch because you don't have the tool necessary to interact with the model? In my role as the casting engineer for an aluminum sand foundry, KeyCreator and its direct-modeling approach give me an edge in performing all these tasks.

KeyCreator is a great example of a history-free modeler. It offers users a clean interface, extreme flexibility, effective tools, and the speed to complete any task, among other things. Another notable feature of KeyCreator is its interoperability, which I will discuss in more detail below. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Webinar: Office2PDM Data Management
March 31–June 23, 2010
Various times
This webinar from Extensible CAD Technologies, offered on four different dates, will discuss how to interact with the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Vault directly from inside of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Read more »

Rapidform Success Conference 2010
April 20–23, 2010
San Francisco, California
This customer and partner training event will focus on how to apply the latest 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and quality inspection processes to research, development, manufacturing, and quality-control processes. Read more »

May 18–20, 2010
Anaheim, California
Attendees at the RAPID/3D IMAGING conference, a Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) event, will be able to evaluate materials and machinery, compare processes, talk with industry experts, and make contacts. 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


Free Cadalyst Benchmark: Evaluate Your Hardware Performance
Evaluate the performance of your workstations running AutoCAD (2000-2010) using the Cadalyst Benchmark Test c2010. Use our free download to compare your hardware with the latest systems on the market today, or compare performance before and after a system upgrade. Sponsored by Intel.

Choose the Best Monitor for CAD
CAD 101: Arm yourself with these solid fundamentals as you set out to find the consumer- or professional-grade LCD display that's right for you. Read more »

Autodesk Subscription, Part 6
Q&A Series: How many users can have access to Subscription Center? How do I set this up? Read more »

Arrival of the Desktop Supercomputer
Nehalem workstations offer a strategic advantage we haven't seen in years, and now — yes, now — is the time to ramp up. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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