Back in December, Cadkey released a major upgrade to its mid-level CAD program. GraphX is a drafting tool framed as the first of three new products for target markets.
Now we have the second installment. Cadkey Workshop launched on May 20, promising great advances for designers of molds, tools, dies, machinery, and fixtures says company president Bob Bean. It is billed as having three main strengths:
a pure geometry architecture, enabling a simple transition from drawing to modeling, and the ability to edit imported geometry
advanced assembly management and data organization, so designers can use a blend of layer-based organization tools to create file-referencing schemes. The result—flexible construction at the conceptual stage and associative updating as designs progress
dimensional-accuracy assurance, a set of tools that or highlight incorrect dimensions
Another advantage is smaller file sizes. Microsoft's Windows products are famous for their "bloat," as they soak up more of users' hard drives with each new release. But a CAD file is actually smaller in Cadkey version 20 than 19. That's because the new version is written in C++, a more efficient programming language than the original C. The difference is obvious when you compare files—a 2.3-Mbyte wireframe model in Cadkey 19 shrinks to 1.2 Mbyte in version 20. And a 66-Mbyte assembly file takes up only 57 Mbyte in version 20.
It's faster, too—that assembly file takes 14 min. to open in version 19, but just 1 min, 45 sec to open in version 20. Likewise, it takes 4 min, 10 sec to render in version 19, but just five seconds to render in version 20. Finally, Workshop boasts easy interoperability with other CAD platforms, achieved through a set of included industry-standard data translators.
One drawback: Since this release is based on all new code, users of Cadkey 19 will need to translate their legacy CAD models.
Also, this is mid-range CAD, not a parametric system. So users can't change shapes simply by stretching them; they must redraw the new form. On the other hand, Cadkey Workshop costs $3,000, including a one-year update contract. That's far lower than high-end packages, but still higher than bargain brands like Alibre.
Fifteen percent of Cadkey users work for companies in the Fortune 500. That includes the company's largest customer, Boeing, with four percent of Cadkey's business, Bean says. The plane-maker uses Cadkey for 2D designs, then links to CATIA for the 3D work.
But the majority of large customers use Cadkey for both 2D and 3D. Look at Incat, the Hobart, Tasmania-based maker of high-speed catamarans. These wave-piercing, motorized ships use sharp-hulled pontoons to achieve speeds as high as 40 mph for long-distance ferry trips like Maine to Nova Scotia, or Hyannis, MA to Nantucket.
"Those are flashy applications, but the typical user has dirt under his fingernails," says Bean. Just 30% of Cadkey users are in product design, with 70% at manufacturing companies: tool and die, machine shops, and metal stamping/fabricating.
So what's next? The third release based on the version 20 code doesn't have a name yet, but it will be a hybrid of parametric and freeform modeling, made for product design. It's due later this summer.
For more information about CAD from Cadkey, www.cadkey.com: Enter 539