MCAD Tech News (#239)

30 Apr, 2008

Siemens PLM Charts New Course

New Synchronous Technology will bring non-parametric,
non-history-based modeling to NX, Solid Edge.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photoLast week, Siemens PLM Software announced a new approach to CAD software that it calls the biggest MCAD breakthrough in a decade: Synchronous Technology, a form of non-history-based design. That's a pretty heady claim, and one that won't get real support until the company discloses details about the new methodology in May. The announce-ment was more a teaser than a demonstration, but nonetheless, the concept and its implications were intriguing. (For an overview of the Siemens announcement last week, refer to "Siemens Breaks Free from History," by Cadalyst's Kenneth Wong.)

Synchronous Technology will be integrated into the next versions of Siemens NX and Solid Edge, shipping sometime this summer. With this move, Siemens PLM Software is the latest MCAD company to jump on the bandwagon purporting the advantages of non-history-based design.

Mechanical CAD 101
Before we examine Synchronous Technology, I'd like to take a brief look at the MCAD technology that preceded it: direct modeling -- or really, direct model editing. Here, modeling is free of history as parametric constraints. Direct modeling has been offered in other CAD applications for a few years, including IronCAD, SpaceClaim, and those from Kubotek (formerly Cadkey) and CoCreate (now part of PTC) -- as well as UGS (now Siemens PLM Software) with NX 5, which, interestingly, offers both history-based and non-history-based design approaches.  Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


Cadalyst Labs Review: Caligari trueSpace 7.5

By Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

A lot of 3D modelers are out there on the market. There's practically one for every field: architecture, engineering, gaming, and art. Some modelers serve only their niche, and others cross over to other disciplines to become bigger players. One such modeler is trueSpace 7.5 from Caligari. Caligari is the first to tell you that trueSpace 7.5 is not really a CAD program. The company prefers to position it as a complement to CAD.

Back in 1985, trueSpace started on the Amiga platform. (Oh, come on, you remember those computers. My older brother swore by them. I opted for a PC.) As you know, just as VHS won the video-format wars over Betamax, the PC beat out most of its competition. (Note that this is not a comment on the relative merits of Windows versus Mac versus Linux versus anything else.) But rather than fold up and die with the platform, trueSpace switched over to Windows and is very popular today. I've watched it for many years. It has always been a very interesting product with a loyal following. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Autodesk Experience Tour
Through June 26, 2008
Various U.S. and Canadian Cities
These sessions promise to show how to visualize, simulate, and analyze the real-world performance of your ideas; optimize and improve designs before creating anything; and achieve higher-quality designs in less time. Read more »

Los Angeles AUGI CAD Camp
May 21, 2008
Los Angeles, California
AUGI CAD Camp, Los Angeles, offers a variety of courses as well as opportunities to network and browse the exhibit area. Read more »

LMS Test & Simulation Conference
May 28-29, 2008
Troy, Michigan
LMS's annual Test & Simulation conference focuses on test and simulation in the areas of noise, vibration, durability, and kinematics and how they relate to real-world engineering issues. Read more »

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