MCAD Tech News (#330)

12 Jul, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

First Look Review:
Autodesk Inventor Professional 2013

3D modeling software aligns more closely with AutoCAD, offers an enhanced user interface, and now comes with cloud-based services.

By Bill Fane

The most significant new items in Autodesk Inventor Professional 2013 are also new in AutoCAD 2013, which is part of Autodesk's master plan to have all its programs look, feel, and operate as similarly as possible. In this review, I'll begin and end with the two updates that will probably attract the most attention, and fill the space in between with some of the less splashy but still noteworthy changes.


It's hard to miss the first new feature, because the new Welcome screen is all you see when you launch Inventor Professional 2013.

Do you feel welcome? The new Welcome screen in Inventor Professional 2013 mimics that of AutoCAD 2013.
Do you feel welcome? The new Welcome screen in Inventor Professional 2013 mimics that of AutoCAD 2013.

The Welcome screen is divided into three sections: Work, Learn, and Extend.

Work. This section gives quick access to buttons that create new files, open existing files, and let you customize the default template files. This latter button brings up a small dialog box with two sets of radio buttons that let you set measurement units and drawing standards for new files. This can now be done at any time — not just while you are installing the software.

Learn. This center section contains links to a series of interactive tutorials, including Getting Started and What's New. There is extensive user support and training in a variety of formats and from a variety of sources, including local user groups, Autodesk University, and possibly your dealer. Autodesk maintains a discussion forum that is actively monitored by Autodesk employees, and the new searchable online Wiki Help functionality means that help is constantly being updated with user input. There are also several independent chat forums.

Extend. The final panel lets you connect to Autodesk Exchange, where you can find a number of add-on apps. To quote the Welcome screen, these apps are "powerful, fun, and help you get your job done faster!" Many are third-party products; some are free. Read more »

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


Growth is the Goal at Solid Edge University 2012

In its avid pursuit of more users, Siemens PLM Software is spending more money on development and offering more ways to consume its mechanical CAD solution.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Growth was the unofficial theme of Solid Edge University 2012, held June 11–13 in Nashville, Tennessee. During the general session, Karsten Newbury, senior vice-president and general manager for Mainstream Engineering Software for Siemens PLM Software, reported that the number of attendees and speakers at the conference was double that of the Solid Edge ST4 Global Launch Event held in 2011. Newbury said the company has recognized the value of users meeting with and learning from each other: "It's no longer a question. It's an annual event; we're going to be having this every year."

In addition to burgeoning user event attendance, the company also touted growth in its Solid Edge investments and user base. "In the last couple of years, our development staff has grown by 20% [and] our sales team by 300%," said Newbury. "All of these things are aimed at growing the business and growing the community." In the first half of this year, he continued, the number of Solid Edge licenses in the United States grew by 40%. Tony Affuso, chairman of the board of Siemens PLM Software, said, "If you look at the percentage of growth [in 2011], we outpace SolidWorks and Autodesk."

While actively pursuing traditional licenses, Siemens PLM Software is also expanding its user base through other means. Newbury reported that the free student version of Solid Edge, launched last October, has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. The company also began providing 45-day free trials of Solid Edge last year — an offering which has led to thousands of purchases, said Newbury. In addition, Solid Edge Design1 was rolled out in November to provide members of Local Motors' design community, the Forge, with a low-cost 3D CAD option. Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Introduction to SolidWorks Plastics
July 24, 2012
11 a.m. ET
Viewers of this Fisher-Unitech webcast will learn how to evaluate manufacturability of their designs, eliminate mold rework, improve part quality, and accelerate time to market. Read more »

Solid Edge Fundamentals
August 14–17, 2012
Huntington Beach, California
Geared to the mechanical designer, this course introduces the concepts of part, sheet metal, and assembly modeling in the design process. Read more »

Capture 3D Measurement Innovation 2012
August 21–23, 2012
Costa Mesa, California
Capture 3D's fifth biannual Measurement Innovation Conference will focus on how companies are improving their design, production, and manufacturing with innovative 3D measurement technology. 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


Quick and Easy All-in-One Video Tips: Something for Every CAD User!
Cadalyst's All-in-One video tips, sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation, combine three useful tips into one quick video. Host Curt Moreno, the Kung Fu Drafter, shares advice on topics ranging from resumes and training to xrefs and sheet sets. Watch the videos »

Are Intel's CPU-integrated GPUs Good Enough for CAD? (Part 1)
Intel had been promising that its latest generations of graphics-enabled CPUs would make CAD professionals think twice about paying extra dollars for a discrete graphics card on their next workstations. And it appears those promises are holding true ... not in dramatic fashion, but valid nonetheless. Read the CADspeed blog post »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Use Peer Pressure to Enforce Standards
A simple peer review process can help your users develop pride in the quality of their work. Read more »

Update Your CAD Management Plan
Is your office in the midst of a summertime slowdown? Don't twiddle your thumbs — use that downtime to evaluate tasks, problems, and your methods of coping with them. Read more »

Add Matching Dimensions with Lightning Speed
Let's say you're working on someone else's drawing, and you need to add one or more dimensions. Who knows what the settings are for those dimensions — and who wants to take the time to find out? Watch the video »

First Look Review: NEC MultiSync EA243WM
LED-backlit 24" LCD monitor offers energy efficiency, professional features, and good design. Read more »

First Look Review: HP Z1 Workstation
Distinctive all-in-one system has it all — and it all fits inside a 27" display. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition