June 06, 2011
ZW3D 2011 Released
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!
ZWSOFT, a supplier of 2D and 3D CAD/CAM solutions to the AEC and MCAD industries, announced the release of ZW3D 2011, an all-in-one, affordable CAD/CAM software, which takes engineers from concept to finished product in an integrated, collaborative environment. ZW3D 2011 is available in six languages including Chinese Traditional, Czech, English, German, Japanese, and Polish, while French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish versions are coming soon.
ZW3D 2011 is easier, smarter, and faster than previous versions. Users are invited to
download ZW3D 2011
, to experience the latest productivity enhancing features developed by ZWSOFT.
This latest release of the award winning ZW3D 2011 offers users the following highlighted features:
SmoothFlow Direct Edit
SmoothFlow combines the speed and flexibility of direct modeling with the precise control of dimension-driven designs, while simultaneously supporting the functionality of history-based modeling.
Integrated PartSolutions Library
Over a million parts from leading suppliers to international standards such as ANSI, ISO and DIN are included, simplifying the creation of fully featured models and assemblies.
Core & Cavity Calculation in One Step
Create a core and cavity in one simple step. Combined with the new multiple electrode extraction tools, mold design has never been easier.
Automatic 3D Feature Machining
Automatic 3D Feature Machining analyzes the topology of the model and applies the most appropriate tool paths. Holes and sculptured surfaces are all automatically machined, typically reducing programming times by 50% and machining times by 30%.
ZW3D is all-in-one, affordable CAD/CAM which enables concept to finished product design in an integrated, collaborative environment. The proprietary Overdrive™ kernel delivers 3D part and assembly modeling, 2D production drawings, reverse engineering, motion simulation, mold design and integrated CNC machining, simplifying the design process from concept to completion.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
While we have discussed the demise of one CAD company, think3, the past couple of editions, this time around we're pleasantly surprised to discuss what looks to be the resurrection of another CAD company – the former VX Corp. now under the auspices of ZWSOFT (ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd.).
In July 2010, ZWSOFT entered into an agreement with VX Corp., a CAD/CAM provider with a 25-year history to acquire and fully incorporate VX's technologies and products - VX CAD/CAM into ZWSOFT's products. In September, ZWSOFT released ZW3D, an integrated CAD/CAM solution built on VX CAD/CAM. With the introduction of ZW3D, ZWSOFT extended enterprise-level mechanical design and engineering capabilities to the desktop at a reasonable cost compared with competing systems.
For those who might not be familiar, ZWSOFT was founded in 1998, with headquarters located in Guangzhou, China, with branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Florida. Today it has a staff of approximately 400.
ZWSOFT`s vision is to provide design-through-manufacturing solutions to help companies speed time-to-market, increase profitability, and gain a sustainable-competitive advantage. In 2002, ZWSOFT launched its product, ZWCAD, that earned a reputation as a powerful and cost-effective CAD platform. According to ZWSOFT, ZWCAD has more than 180,000 users in 80 countries around the world.
The product line we are especially interested in is called ZW3D. It comes in three varieties from Standard (core design) to Professional (additional special applications) to Premium (for machining/manufacturing) with prices ranging from $2,500 to around $12,000. We are going to focus our attention on the Premium version because it has 2D and 3D modeling (with a unique ability to employ direct modeling using tree-based features), mold and die design, and 5-axis machining. The machining capabilities are particularly interesting because ZW3D Premium can recognize and machine actual features digitally, as well as machine directly from STL files or meshes. Another distinguishing
feature is the fact that ZW3D runs on a proprietary geometric modeling kernel that VX Corp. developed way back when, but continues to be further developed and enhanced. The proprietary modeling kernel debate has raged for years, but I think it's a good thing, because done right, it can optimize a CAD product and its workflow.
We'll be digging into several of ZW3D's new features, capabilities, and enhancements later, but let's take a high-level look look at a couple of things in core modeling and machining.
First, let's touch on this year's MCAD “must have” – direct editing/modeling. ZW3D has what it calls SmoothFlow Direct Edit that the company claims combines the speed and flexibility of direct editing with the control of dimension-driven designs – all without losing the features and functionality of history-based modeling. This capability is supposed to let you quickly modify features on native or imported geometry without regenerating history. In the modeling environment, there are several other new developments and enhancements related to the UI, modeling kernel, picking, editing, and other areas that we'll cover later.
On the machining (CAM) side, ZW3D Premium 2011 has automatic feature recognition with intelligent workflow generation that breaks down part topology into solid features and analyzes the capabilities of library tools for producing an efficient machining plan and generating a a machining workflow. This capability has the potential for dramatically reducing CNC programming time. There are also optimization capabilities that we will cover later, as well.
Several years ago I was familiar with VX CAD/CAM, how it has evolved as ZW3D intrigues me, so I'm going to review the Premium version and report what's hot and not in its latest iteration. Stay tuned for the review of ZW3D Premium coming soon to MCADCafe Weekly.
Book Review: 3D in Photoshop: The Ultimate Guide for Creative Professionals
by Zorana Gee and Pete Falco
Adobe's Photoshop is several things simultaneously. On one hand, it's the ultimate tool for manipulating digital photographic images. On the other hand, it is a challenge to learn. Lastly, it's tough to stay on top of new functionality with each new version. Personally, one of the things that has been high on my list to learn more about is Photoshop CS5's 3D functionality. I was aware of it, but didn't know where to start exploring it until I read 3D in Photoshop: The Ultimate Guide for Creative Professionals. The intended audience is definitely “Creative Professionals,” such as artists, designers, and animators, although more technical
types could also benefit from the content of the book.
The book is divided into three parts:
Introduction to 3D Concepts – Covers 3D and rendering concepts that include cameras, lights, materials, and rendering (including ray tracing). Even if you are familiar with 3D and rendering concepts, this part provides a good overview and refresher material.
3D in Photoshop – Gets into the nuts and bolts of the 3D features and capabilities found in Photoshop CS5. The most interesting part of this chapter for me was information about the new Repoussé feature that lets you create 3D shapes from closed paths. Repoussé in Photoshop gets its name from a metalworking technique that shapes metal by hammering a pattern from the reverse side. In effect, you use Repoussé to create a 3D extrusion where you can apply materials and constraints.
Workflows – This part of the book covers how different artists actually employ the 3D capabilities in Photoshop CS5 in their work. Some good tips here, as well as answering some questions on “I wonder how they did that?”
Except for Part 3, throughout the book there are not a lot of examples in PS CS5 of many of the concepts being discussed. Depending on your needs and experience, this may be a good or bad thing. However, even as a person pretty well versed in 3D principles, I would have appreciated more step-by-step examples.
Although a lot of good information is presented in the book, it's a little uneven in tone and detail, so I don't necessarily consider it the “Ultimate Guide.” I'd regard it as sort of a “hybrid” book – part educational and part reference source. Overall, though, I got a lot out of the book with a good foundation in the 3D capabilities found in Photoshop. I hope the book gets updated and smooths out some of the roughness for understanding and applying 3D in future releases of Photoshop.
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
CIMdata, Inc. announced the acquisition of Collaborative Product Development Associates, LLC (CPDA), a provider of critical analyses of PLM activities. For nearly twenty-five years CPDA, and its predecessor D.H. Brown Associates, Inc., has been instrumental in providing organizations with in-depth, objective information for assessing technology, business goals, and implementation roadmaps to support engineering and manufacturing. The synergistic combination of these companies represents the merger of two knowledgeable organizations—CIMdata’s broad strategic PLM management consulting and CPDA’s deep expertise in emerging PLM domains complement one another. Since the
inception of PLM and software-based PLM solutions (e.g., product data management, computer-aided design, simulation & analysis, etc.) that enable this strategic business approach, the expansion in the depth and breadth of the market has been dramatic. The acquisition of CPDA represents a merger of two organizations who have both played key roles in defining and developing the PLM industry.
123D website, individuals can discover and download content to start, complete or visualize a project, and then access for-purchase personal fabrication services through Autodesk 123D partners. Makers can also purchase pre-fabricated products to explore 3D printing or assemble models from 2D laser cut materials like cardboard—the first of a variety of custom fabrication options coming soon to
Autodesk announced Autodesk 123D software — a free Windows-based 3D modeling application combined with content and services — is now available in a public beta release for download by makers. With Autodesk 123D, anyone can explore, learn and create highly precise 3D models. Makers can bring ideas to reality by combining powerful digital design with services for creating physical objects. From both within the application and through the
Autodesk123D. Autodesk 123D users can print their designs on a 3D printer or use the for-purchase personal fabrication services featured on the Make It link in the application. To supply these services, Autodesk forged alliances with new partners that have extensive experience providing the maker community with the ability to create a unique project at home or to have it fabricated elsewhere and shipped. Partners currently include:
3D Systems — A provider of 3D content-to-print solutions and custom parts services supplies 3D printers to Autodesk 123D users.
Ponoko — This online service for manufacturing connects Autodesk 123D users to various personal fabrication outlets.
TechShop — A membership based do-it-yourself workshop where makers go to bring their ideas to life. Autodesk already supplies TechShop members at locations around the United States with software and training resources, and now Autodesk 123D users can access CNC milling machines, welders, table saws, drill presses, laser cutters, industrial sewing and textile equipment and 3D printers on-site at TechShop.
Dassault Systèmes today announced that Abaqus 6.11 -- the new release of its unified FEA product suite from Dassault's SIMULIA brand -- leverages NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs, coupled with CPUs, to run CAE simulations twice as fast as with CPUs alone. NVIDIA GPUs are based on the CUDA parallel processing architecture and can be programmed using industry-standard languages such as C, C++, and Fortran. A broad range of computing applications has been modified to take advantage of GPU acceleration. With power-efficient cores and increasingly fast access to memory, mechanical simulation software from SIMULIA enables design companies and manufacturers to use computer simulations
instead of expensive prototyping to design higher quality and more efficient products.
CADENAS GmbH became a Foundation Partner in the Siemens Solution Partner Program. CADENAS will work with Siemens PLM Software to help customers optimize their business processes for engineers and purchasers while eliminating cost-intensive redundancies across the enterprise. CADENAS’ strategic parts management system, PARTsolutions, works with Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter, NX, and Solid Edge software. By enabling the configuration of 3D standard and supplier parts in native CAD formats within a larger PLM context, PARTsolutions enables engineers to find, reuse and control standard and supplier parts more effectively. The joint solution is already being used by
companies like Boeing and Siemens VAI. The partnership validates the CADENAS concept of “Purchineering,” a symbiosis of standardized purchasing processes and the application of preferred components as specified by engineering.
MSC Software Corporation, the leader in multidiscipline simulation solutions that accelerate product innovation, today announced that it has entered into a strategic market development partnership with Next Limit Technologies for Xflow, a new CFD solution. XFlow is a CFD technology that uses a proprietary particle-based, fully Lagrangian approach to handling traditionally complex CFD problems in engineering, design, science, and architecture with ease. XFlow provides the ability to simulate the flow of gases and liquids, heat and mass transfer, moving bodies, multiphase physics, acoustics and fluid structure interaction. Key Features include:
Particle-based kinetic solver
Advanced modeling capabilities
Advanced analysis capabilities
Adaptive wake refinement
Single consistent wall model
Near-linear scalable performance.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.