October 31, 2007
By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
In spite of its lack of press, IronCAD is a widely deployed MCAD system. My guess is that it has some 220,000 licenses worldwide, of which more than 30K are in the U.S. For a system that doesn’t have the greatest mindshare in these here parts, them is pretty respectable numbers.
And it’s pretty clear why. IronCAD is highly respectable software, which is why it deserves a look. You especially should take a gander if you have feet in the 2D and 3D worlds and if interoperability is something you have to cope with. It’s also pretty good at sheet metal design — and has been for years.
Now in version 10, IronCAD is something of a hybrid — a miserable word normally loaded with hype — in that it combines history-based parametrics with direct geometry manipulation as well ACIS and Parasolid kernels. What this means is that you can switch back and forth from traditional modeling techniques to functional modeling — they call it dynamic modeling — that’s all the rage these days. IronCAD has also had this neat catalog of shapes that you can use to start out a design, which is really handy for evolving from 2D to 3D design. But I digress. IronCAD’s simultaneous dual kernel support means that you’re one up on interoperability right out of the box. Further, you’re also one up on getting the job done because if you try to do something that one kernel can’t handle, IronCAD automatically tries it with the other.
IronCAD 10 offers some pretty powerful visualization capabilities based on HOOPS technology from Tech Soft 3D. HOOPS lets you fiddle with camera tools and interact with a model as it loads, and it lets you create 2D views from 3D models quickly. Speaking of 2D, IronCAD’s 2D sketching environment offers coincident, fixed, and what they call Smart Constraints. The latter automatically places common constraints on elements like chamfers, fillets, polygons, rectangles, and parallelograms as well as tangent geometry.
IronCAD Version 10 has a lot of other stuff to recommend it, such as new realistic rendering engine, surfacing, the ability to export files to Adobe Acrobat 3D PDF files, and collision detection. Interoperability remains cutting edge with the addition to import and export Granite 4.0, Wildfire 3.0, Parasolid 19, and ACIS 17 files.
You can get the lowdown on IronCAD 10 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. While there, use the links to check out the IronCAD image gallery to get an idea of the flexibility of IronCAD or read the datasheet. You can also use a link to register to download a 30-day trial version of IronCAD. Incidentally, the trial download is the full enchilada, not a half-baked version.
Which about sums it up: IronCAD is anything but a half-baked MCAD system. It may be quiet about it, but IronCAD is as solid as iron.
Thanks, Pal — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering magazine