MCAD Tech News (#269)

8 Jul, 2009 By: various

Cadalyst Labs Review:
DoubleCAD XT vs. AutoCAD LT


IMSI/Design claims its new, free 2D drafting tool is a viable replacement for AutoCAD LT. Is it?

By Bill Fane

Once upon a time, back in the last millennium, CAD systems were very expensive and ran on very costly hardware. It was not uncommon to spend more than $200,000 for a single seat, and those were late-1970s dollars. Needless to say, not many CAD seats existed outside the aerospace and automotive market. Then along came PCs and AutoCAD, and everything changed. It is not quite true to say that AutoCAD took over the CAD market; rather, it basically created a whole new market.

Over the years, several things happened. Probably most importantly, AutoCAD and its DWG file format rapidly became the de facto standard. Over the years, AutoCAD continued to grow, adding new power and capabilities with each release, building its position as the market leader. A number of other CAD programs have come along to challenge that position, with varying degrees of success.

Some segments of the AutoCAD user base at one point began to lodge complaints along the lines of, “Why do I have to pay for a big, full-featured, customizable 3D-capable program when all I do is flat 2D schematics?” Thus was born AutoCAD LT. Autodesk discourages people from saying that LT stands for “lite,” but that is effectively what it is.

Surprise, Surprise
IMSI/Design is one company that markets a product that competes with AutoCAD. Its flagship product, TurboCAD, is well regarded and has a very loyal user base. But early this year, with much fanfare (and after some struggles with Autodesk over the product's original name, A/CAD LT Express), the company did something unusual. It introduced DoubleCAD XT, taking dead aim at AutoCAD LT.

Even more unusual is the price of DoubleCAD XT. It's free. Yes, that’s right -- free. The DoubleCAD XT download gets you a full-featured, unlimited commercial license. (This compares quite favorably with AutoCAD LT's retail price of $1,200 per seat.)

IMSI/Design claims that DoubleCAD XT is "an AutoCAD LT 2009 workalike." (A version 2010 workalike reportedly is on the way.) Is the claim true? I set out to test DoubleCAD XT v1.1 against AutoCAD LT 2009. Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer and a retired instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.




Solid Edge Tutorial:
Learn Synchronous Technology at Your Own Pace

Choose the proper template to complete existing designs in the mode they began as you transition to Synchronous Technology.

By Russell Brook

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology provides a fast and flexible design alternative to traditional history-based CAD systems and allows precise dimension-driven control and design automation not found in explicit modelers. But if you are working on designs started in earlier versions of Solid Edge you probably have Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology loaded with traditional templates to finish those projects. If you are working in traditional mode but want to try out Synchronous Technology, you can. This will allow you to complete existing designs in the mode they began and move to Synchronous Technology at your own pace.

Whether you design using traditional or synchronous techniques, Solid Edge is a single system. The mode you work in is controlled by the template you choose. There are some subtle changes to the user interface, which automatically change accordingly. Solid Edge also allows you to mix and match synchronous and traditional designs. For example, you could add a traditional assembly that contains synchronous parts or vice versa. Edit a part inside of your assembly and Solid Edge will automatically continue in the mode the part was originally designed.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Webinar: Everything You Need for Large-Format Scanning

Through July 21, 2009
11 a.m. ET
During this webinar from Contex Americas, learn about the newest Contex scanning technology and scanning software, as well as the best ways to manage and access your scanned drawings. Read more »

Webinar: Working with Large-Format Scanned Drawings

Through July 23, 2009
4 p.m. ET
Once you scan your large-format drawings, what solutions and processes make it easy to edit, manage, and collaborate? See a sampling of products in this webinar from Contex Americas. Read more »

Autodesk University 2009

December 1-3, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada
Begin planning now for Autodesk University 2009. The annual AU User Conference and Exhibition brings together thousands of Autodesk users, instructors, and partners to learn and network. Registration opens August 12. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on


What’s New at


Circles and Lines AutoCAD Tutorial: A PDF Wish Comes True!
Lynn Allen shows how turning an AutoCAD DWG into a PDF has never been easier, thanks to improvements in version 2010. Read more »

Lay Down the Law on CAD Standards, Part 3
Take a diagnostic quiz and learn how to tackle problems related to standards and training. Read more »

Should You Upgrade to Windows Vista 64? (CAD Manager's Toolbox)
Operating system offers benefits for some environments, but not all. Read more »

3D Printer Buyer's Guide
Learn which questions to ask so you can choose the best possible 3D printer to meet your prototyping needs without overspending. Available free in Cadalyst’s Whitepaper Library to users who register.

About the Author: various

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!