Bound Brook, NJ--For the first half of 1998, whenever Robert L. Berger of Product Development Consulting started a new project, he began designing in IronCAD. Berger, a beta-tester for the 3D modeler from Visionary Design Systems (VDS) in Santa Clara, CA, found the software to be an excellent tool. "There is nothing easier and nothing faster at quickly visualizing ideas," he says.
As a medical product development consultant who specializes in industrial design, Berger used IronCAD to design a laboratory pipette, a machine for a pharmaceutical company, as well as an infusion device. Because IronCAD was still in beta testing, Berger only used it for the front end of his projects.
The key difference between IronCAD and other software he has used, Berger says, is that the methods the program uses to create and edit geometry are more visual. "If you are a person who thinks visually, this is an excellent program," he says. "You touch a shape on the surface of an object and move it and it knows to stay on the surface. Exact x, y, and z coordinates and sizes happen after basic visual operation has taken place. This comes the closest to having a block of wood or clay on the table, taking your tools and [physically] reshaping it."
Berger appreciates IronCAD's IntelliShapes(reg), which are pre-made shapes with parametric data associations. IronCAD also offers SmartSnap(reg) and TriBall(reg), which are drafting assistants that aid in the precise placement of solids within a model. A user can quickly drag and drop shapes around and perform operations on them, the company says. Another feature is Face Modeling, which allows a user to touch a surface and type in the angle he or she wants with respect to the rest of the object. The object transforms to that angle.
Another helpful feature, says Berger, is the preview function that enables users to look at the result of a modeling operation before committing to it. "The software has the appearance of being so simple that you don't think it will do what you need, but it does," he says.