CAD Central

30 Nov, 2007 By: Kenneth Wong

PTC Unshackled from History

PTC's pending purchase of CoCreate for $250 million may not change CAD history, but it's bound to break it. Mark Halpern, Gartner's research director and a veteran PLM commentator, observed, "[PTC's] flagship CAD software Pro/ENGINEER identifies design intent by parametrically defining features such as holes, bosses, and pockets, and capturing their sequence in the construction of 3D models. By contrast, the CoCreate approach focuses on powerful tools for directly manipulating geometry without regard for the history of model construction, empowering users to more easily edit CAD models regardless of the original authoring software."

PTC gets ready to acquire CoCreate, whose OneSpace Personal Edition features direct-editing tools that are different from Pro/ENGINEER s history-based modeling tools.
PTC gets ready to acquire CoCreate, whose OneSpace Personal Edition features direct-editing tools that are different from Pro/ENGINEER s history-based modeling tools.

The direct-modeling method, which CoCreate calls dynamic modeling, is particularly appealing for designers and engineers who must edit source files with questionable or unknown provenance, because the history — the sequence of modeling steps that produce the model — may or may not be available. As manufacturers interact with more offshore suppliers and partners, this scenario could become more common.

Halpern's recommendation for Pro/ENGINEER users: "If you have multi-CAD needs — whether internally or across the supply chain — seriously consider CoCreate's direct-model editing approach to complement Pro/ENGINEER."

PTC's purchase could prompt its competitors to snatch up other software vendors that already possess similar technologies. The newcomer SpaceClaim becomes an attractive acquisition target, because its product touts nonparametric — or direct-editing — tools. (SpaceClaim is currently running an outreach program that allows participants to download and use the software free in return for feedback on their experience. Visit

Interpreting BIM

Between June and July, AECBytes launched a BIM (building information modeling) survey. The questionnaire was designed by Lachmi Khemlani, the founder of AECBytes. The project was commissioned by Bentley Systems, the maker of MicroStation. Bentley was "interested in identifying which of the top criteria were well served by their BIM solutions and which weren't . . . " Khemlani wrote. "They were also interested in a comparative analysis of their solutions versus Autodesk's Revit BIM solutions vis-à-vis the top criteria that were identified through this survey." The results are in ("Top Criteria for BIM Solutions: AECbytes Survey Results,", but interpreting them may lead to more debates.

Revit (67.8%) emerged as the market leader, followed by ArchiCAD (31.69%), and Bentley (14.79%). Bentley, however, claims that "a quantitative analysis of the recent BIM survey showed that 58% of building professionals preferred the approach and features of Bentley BIM solutions and 38% preferred those of Autodesk's Revit. Of those with strongly preferred responses, 69% chose Bentley BIM solutions and 31% chose Revit."

Survey participants rate "full support for producing construction documents" as the top criterion in selecting a BIM solution. "Market share leadership position of the vendor" turns out to be the least important. It makes one wonder which of the vendors will be relieved, and which will be disappointed by this revelation.

Frequent Contributor Wins AU Trip

By Nancy Spurling Johnson, Cadalyst Digital Media Editor

Cadalyst has awarded a trip to Autodesk University 2007 to prolific AutoCAD tip contributor Leonid Nemirovsky. The trip is the grand prize in Cadalyst's year-long Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2007 contest, sponsored by Autodesk.

Nemirovsky was selected in a random drawing of all authors of tips published this year in Cadalyst's "Hot Tip Harry" column of AutoCAD customization tips. He received airfare, lodging, and a pass to Autodesk University, held November 27–30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Winning the trip was a huge and very pleasant surprise for me," Nemirovsky said.

Nemirovsky is a CAD technician in the Bellevue, Washington, office of Jacobs Engineering. He has nearly 30 years' experience working for engineering firms and has been using AutoCAD since 1985 — "and I love it," he said. He launched into AutoLISP programming in 1990, and in 1997 began offering his code free via his Web site, BTN (Better Than Nothing) AutoCAD,

Cadalyst contributing editor Kenneth Wong explores innovative use of technology.

About the Author: Kenneth Wong

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