Cadra Solids offers typical modeling tools and an intuitive modeling technique that substantially reduces the number of commands required to create and edit models. It brings all the tools required for nearly any solid modeling application down to a level that the everyday designer can use productively.
Modeling Performance. Cadra Solids allows for solid model creation without the need for conventional modeling commands. The operator can build or modify solid face edges (either lines or circles) by adding or copying edges in 3-D space in a manner that is akin to creating wireframe geometry.
The program relies on three tools that have made the company's 2-D product productive over the years: FlexDesign, Insight, and QuickDim. FlexDesign allows for variational dimensioning of 2-D and 3-D files. When a numerical value is modified, the part will change accordingly. FlexDesign can edit any CAD geometry, even from other CAD drawings. It can also be used to edit the geometry in Cadra.
Insight automates the creation and manipulation of geometry. For creating and placing entities, geometric placement points are automatically highlighted. QuickDim is used for making 2-D documentation of a model. With it, the operator does not have to first define the type of dimension to be placed. The database automatically places the dimensions on the drawing based on several factors.
Rendering. Three different rendering options (flat, Gouraud, and Phong) are available in five different smoothness levels. Users can set the rendering style for the normal viewing of the part independently of the render style used when rotating the part. Parts may be displayed in either shaded or wireframe mode, with the option to have hidden lines shown as dashed lines.
When a part is rotated in shaded mode, the shading is removed after the first interaction with the model, and the part is displayed in wireframe. The shade command must then be operated again to see the part shaded. This is done by either using the sidemenu or a quick key on the keyboard. I found this method adequate for most work performed.
EasyEdit. The underlying performance of Solid's creation and manipulation is based on its EasyEdit functionality. EasyEdit allows the operator to easily create and manipulate edges, faces, and vertices in order to model geometry, without operator input through commands or menus.
When a new edge line is added that has adjacent edges perpendicular to itself, Cadra Solids automatically cuts the adjacent edges in two. The system also groups all chained and co-planer edges as boundaries for a face of a solid. Any two linear edges of this boundary are then selected for face definition for extruding a face to a given length.
A history log captures all commands during a work session. A graphic image editing display of these steps allows the operator to select any previous version of the model and return to it. If there is a system lock-up or failure, this log can be replayed to restore a model to the last few menus. To return to a previous step of the model, the user simply selects any one of these "thumb-nail" images from the screen. Stepping backwards or forwards is also possible from a menu option.
Cadra Solids supports IGES wire and surface data, DXF import and export, AutoCAD DWG import and export, and Stereolithography output. It also supports files from Aries, Catia, CADAM, Mechanica, and CADD4 systems. Since Cadra Solids is easy-to-use, carries a low price tag, and does not require high-end workstations, I think it is well suited for companies that don't want dedicated designers working on expensive and hard-to-learn solid modeling systems.
Cadra Solids runs on PCs with Windows NT and 24M bytes RAM.
Prices start at $3,495 for systems with Cadra Design Drafting(TM). Cost is $6,995 for the complete package.
Adra Systems Inc., 2 Executive Dr., Chelmsford, MA 01824; ph: (508) 937-3700; FAX: (508) 453-2462.
A similar product:
AutoCAD Designer - Autodesk, Inc., 111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael, CA 94903; ph. (415) 507-5000; fax: (415) 507-5100.