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TurboCAD 2D/3D

TurboCAD 2D/3D

TurboCAD is an affordable 2- and 3-D CAD program for home and/or office applications. Its no-frills yet powerful features enable the user to create relatively complex drawings. Two programs are bundled in one package offering a rich gamut of tools for design and basic layout work.

In the 2-D program, the good, functional user interface from the previous version is now even better. With the customizable screen layout, you can choose the number of different context toolbars for your workspace. The downside is that the drawing area gets smaller as the open tool bars clutter the top part of your screen.

Overall, the editing and drawing tools are excellent. Certain drawbacks hamstring an otherwise good performance in entity constructions. For instance, the move command uses a bounding box instead of the actual component, making placement difficult.

Spec Box
TurboCAD 2D/3D
Minimum requirements: Windows 3.1, an 80386 PC with 4M bytes of RAM, 20M bytes hard drive space.

List Price: $100.00

IMSI, 1895 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA 94901; ph: (415) 257-3000; fax: (415) 257-3565.

As your drawings get more complicated when entities are added, TurboCAD gives you three choices to deal with the logistics. First, you can group entities and move, copy, or size them as one part. The second choice is to use layers. TurboCAD supports up to 256 displayable layers that can have single or grouped entities. The third option is to use a multiple-document interface where you can exchange information with other open drawings.

The package includes a CD with 10,000 British and ISO-based symbols for home, office, electronics, or mechanical components. Clicking the library button opens any library file. By set- ting reference points in the drawing you can transfer any symbol by placing and/or dynamically rotating it. TurboCAD can also auto scale the symbol to match the scale of your drawing. The Group feature lets you create your own symbol libraries or modify the supplied symbols.

3-D version. The 3-D portion of TurboCAD is a simplistic modeler with combinations of solid primitives such as cone, cylinder, etc. When you start from 2-D level constructions, TurboCAD 3D detects that these entities or groups of entities need to be extruded, swept, or revolved. Using the Boolean operators, you can combine these 3-D entities. TurboCAD 3D lacks the tools to furnish possible properties such as volume or surface area of a solid object.

The main screen is divided into three views (top, side, and isometric projection) and the models are always shown in all three. The views can be modified separately. The editing tools in 3D are limited to combining lines into and out of groups.

With the 2- and 3-D versions of TurboCAD coming as one package, you would expect some sort of interface to exist so information can flow from one program to the other. Well, the package is not quite that robust yet. TurboCAD 3D supports its own file format, and the interface to other applications is limited to DXF format for a file or WMF (Windows Metafile) format for clipboard graphic objects.

When the solid model is complete, you can shade using the ray tracing option for better results. For more realistic effects, TurboCAD lets you define materials with different textures that can be mapped on the surfaces of your model. The textures come as standard bitmap files which can be previewed before the application. Any bitmap file can be used for texturing.

Score box
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Installation....................................................................10
Documentation...................................................8
Ease of Use.......................................................8
Performance............................................................9
Overall Rating...............................................8.25

The model surfaces can also be jazzed up using any of the eight available light sources. TurboCAD compensates for missing controls in the light-source definition, such as Diffuse or Specular reflection, in the material surface specification. Overall the effect is above average for a product in this price range.

TurboCAD's good programmability, rich drawing command menus, and a high-end user interface almost balance out the weak editing and construction tools. Considering the best features of both programs, merging them into one program or having a more robust interface between the two would enhance their cross-functionality. The low price along with several neat features contribute to a value package for the less demanding user.


A similar product:

Visual CADD -- Numera Inc., 1501 Fourth Avenue, Ste. 2880, Seattle, WA 98101; ph: (206) 622-2233; fax (206) 622-5382.

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