24 February 2016

progeCAD 2017 Free Upgrade and Preview

progeCAD has long stood as the default "professional" low-cost AutoCAD alternative software option. progeCAD offers and affordable perpetual-license alternative for "renting" high-cost AutoCAD access, with the ability to create, read, write and edit native AutoCAD DWG and DXF files fluently using and interface very similar to what AutoCAD users are accustomed.

CADDIT now announces the worldwide offer of free upgrades to progeCAD 2017 of equivalent type for all progeCAD 2016 licenses and upgrades paid for on or after 24 February 2016. This means that a purchase of progeCAD 2016 USB will also get a free upgrade to 2017 USB at no extra cost, an upgrade from progeCAD 2014 to 2016 will also get 2017 upgrade at no extra cost, and so forth. Upgrades will be distributed during the first few weeks after the global release announcement of progeCAD 2017 on the CAD Software Blog and on CADDIT.net. This free upgrade offer applies to ENGLISH language license purchase only, and will continue until the release of progeCAD 2017, on CADDIT.net.

progeCAD 2017 represents the most exciting release of progeCAD to date, offering one fell swoop of general improvements, including:
NATIVE 64-bit version with theoretical memory limit of 16-terabytes for x64 PC architecture, Windows tuning model (8 terabytes "User" and 8 terabytes "Kernel"). This means ability to edit vastly larger DWG drawing files than under the previous 32-bit architecture. progeCAD no longer supports 32-bit as of 2017 release. New RIBBON-BASED INTERFACE option. Users now have the choice between ribbon, toolbar, both or neither. Updated status bar, with icons and new features. Improved memory management and hardware graphics acceleration (OpenGL), again increasing stability and drawing speed. Multi-core support for opening and regenerating files, which provides 1.5 to 3 times performance improvement on multi-core computers (er.. well, we hope that is most of us by now..) Other platform improvements include: Support for "workspaces", .NET API with user drawing interaction support (AutoCAD compatible), vastly improved Microstation DGN format read support, AutoCAD .CUI menu support and many other general platform improvements.

Here is our FIRST SNEAK PEAK of this new platform (in beta testing):

New progeCAD 2017 64-bit multicore with ribbon UI from CADDIT.

progeCAD 2017 will also deliver DOZENS of new commands and variables to be used. At this point these new functions are to include: BCOUNT, XOPEN, XPLODE, POLYSOLID, POINTCLOUDATTACH, SETBYLAYER, PRINTTRANSPARENCY, TABLESTYLE, Layer-walking and many more. Significant changes and improvements have also been made on QSELECT, PURGE, LOFT, CUSTOMIZE, AUTOCOMPLETE and many others.

To benefit from this free upgrade offer, simply buy progeCAD 2016 (English) on the CADDIT.net website. After the 2017 release, free upgrades will be sent to all progeCAD customers with orders paid on or after 24 February 2016. At a time agreeable to the user, the progeCAD 2016 serial key will be replaced with a progeCAD 2017 serial key and a new download link will be sent for the software, similar to how has been done in past years. The free upgrade will apply to all new progeCAD Professional, progeCAD USB and company Network licenses purchased on or after 24 February. New dongles will not be required for the progeCAD USB upgrade. Free upgrades will also be sent to any users now purchasing a progeCAD 2016 upgrade for an existing seat of progeCAD 2010, 2011, etc. Promotion does not apply to OEM repackaging. This promotion will last until the day that progeCAD 2017 release is announced on this website.

To try progeCAD free for a month, progeCAD 2016 can be downloaded HERE. For questions about this free 2017 promotion please contact CADDIT here.

19 January 2016

Alibre Upgrade No Longer Available after 30 April 2016

On 19 July, 2011 3D Systems first announced its acquisition of Alibre Inc. and its flagship 3D mechanical design software. The product was subsequently rebranded under the "Geomagic" portfolio as "Geomagic Design". This year will mark the fifth anniversary since this acquisition and new features which have subsequently been introduced. 3D Systems has thus far supported all versions of Alibre, including Alibre Design Standard, Professional and Expert with either ongoing maintenance subscriptions or upgrade opportunities. For several months a well-published opportunity for flat fee "update and upgrade" was made available in Australia through CADDIT.net. Many users took good advantage of this window of advantage to update Geomagic Design and Alibre versions that were three, four or even six years old and we wish to extend thanks to all who are participating. The flat fee promotion has now ended, as was announced, on 31 December 2015.

3D Systems business channel has made it known to CADDIT of the intention to drop all upgrade support for Alibre Design PE, Alibre Design Standard, Alibre Design Professional and all similar levels of Geomagic Design Standard and Professional. Going forward, there will only be one product level available to all Geomagic Design users, as demonstrated on the CADDIT webstore. Users of lower-version products will need to buy a completely new license if they wish to update their software. The date for this change is 30 April 2016, and only affects users of the old PE, Standard and Professional product levels -  Expert and Geomagic Design (full) are not affected, can continue to update their subscriptions per usual at this link. Also, any users under current active Geomagic Design maintenance are likely not affected as they will mostly likely already be migrated to the full product version.

Users in Australia at any level can still order maintenance at any product level and receive a free level upgrade to the full version of Geomagic Design at this link. All indications are that this is the final opportunity lower-level users in Australia will ever have to have their package updated. Without current support, CADDIT is unable to answer user requests for licensing help, account lookups etc. After 30 April all such requests will be referred directly to 3D Systems without assurance of a response due to the outdated support.

I renewed my Geomagic Design Subscription just last year. Am I affected?
No. You should continue your maintenance subscription per usual.

I have Alibre Design PE 2012 version. What happens if I don't upgrade?
You will have no support, and likely will not even be able to run the software on newer versions of Windows. You are encouraged to maintain your investment by renewing the maintenance subscription  HERE.

I have two licenses. One is Alibre Design Pro 2011 and the other is Alibre Design Expert 2010. Should I upgrade both and what does it cost?
A subscription will need to be purchased for each license that you wish to keep updated, using this link which shows the current AUD pricing including applicable lapse fees. It is strongly recommended not to mix versions of Alibre / Geomagic Design as this will lead to serious file compatibility problems between them. 

I have other questions.
CADDIT Australia can be contacted the usually way via these details:

12 October 2015

progeCAD 3D Performance on Windows 10, 7 and 8

As of progeCAD 2016.0.8 progeCAD now supports native installation on Windows 10. Today we compared progeCAD 3D Orbit render performance on a selection of hardware and operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 - with laptop hardware provided from Microsoft, Asus and HP to the following varied graphics specifications:

  • System 1 - Windows 7, Asus i3 2.3 GHz 4G RAM, Graphics ATI 7470M RADEON
  • System 2 - Windows 8.1, HP 2.2 GHz 16G RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
  • System 3 - Windows 10 upgraded, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 i7 with Intel 5000 HD

progeCAD on various ATI, NVIDIA and INTEL HD graphics
Our Parramatta test focused on 3D shading and full rendering support. Although more focused on high performance 2D plan view design and detailing, progeCAD does offer several drawing and rendering tools for 3D presentation. One tool set is the full boolean direct solid modelling using the ACIS kernel compatible with AutoCAD. Another tool is the AutoCAD-compatible SHADEMODE command. Using SHADEMODE, we can change from 3D wireframe views of mesh and solid models to easy-shaded which we can "orbit" (or spin around) in real-time via the SHIFT+Middle-Mouse-Button combination. We used this mode for benchmarking our hardware FPS (frames per second) with the help of the FRAPS utility, as shown below:

First, our IIS model was loaded SHADEMODE was then set to REALISTIC. Next we started RTROT from the command line. This was because we needed to set a different centre or rotation (by first hitting the "S" key while within RTROT) or else our model quickly rotated right off of the screen (this was because of the coordinates used to produce the drawing).
The results were actually satisfactory for both the Microsoft Surface using INTEL 5000 graphics (very decent for on-board INTEL graphics) and the NVIDIA GPU running on the HP Envy Series. FPS ranged between 20-30 FPS (24 FPS is standard digital video speed) and our model rotated very naturally. We could not say the same for the ATI graphics on the i3 ASUS. Although still useable, the ISS model flashed between frames on our ASUS-ATI and FRAPS never reported an FPS exceeding 9 frames a second. Performance was noticeable lower than on the other two systems. Movement was "jerky" and poor quality using the ATI RADEON, despite the actually higher CPU clock speed of 2.3 GHz.
In conclusion, hardware does matter. We remind users that progeCAD uses OPENGL hardware acceleration when available. Either NVIDIA or better-quality INTEL graphics prove to supply this. Also i7 CPU seems to help, especially in file loading and other command response times. We were not surprised by these results, as the performance was similar with other OPENGL-based CAD software that we work with here. Should progeCAD users upgrade to Windows 10? ONLY IF THEY HAVE THE LATEST VERSION OF PROGECAD 2016. For more information about OS and hardware compatibility for this low cost AutoCAD alternative or upgrading, contact CADDIT Australia at this link.

22 September 2015

New Geomagic Design Features & How to Move a License

Geomagic Design offers the best of both worlds with robust feature-based parametric modelling side-by-side with direct editing tools for manipulating imported geometry from STEP, Parasolid, Inventor and other 3D CAD software, at a comparatively affordable price. With the release of Geomagic Design 2015.1 (17.1.0) will come several new features available to software subscribers as part of their product update. Updated MCAD file format support will help ensure ongoing model read/write interoperability with newer versions of 3rd party CAD systems like Solidworks and Siemens Solid Edge.

Two new features provided in the 2015.1 update will be associative assembly mirroring and "live linking" with KeyShot rendering software. Both features will save time for designers.

Assembly Mirror Component feature allows designers to create mirror-reverse instances of existing parts and subassemblies across a selected plane. This mirror feature can maintain associativity and reflect changes made to the parent instance, including motion etc. Live linking with KeyShot likewise saves design time by allowing designers to update scenes with new geometry from the Geomagic Design model while keeping all existing scene settings, material bitmaps and light positions. Below is a video released by 3D Systems demonstrating an early version of this functionality:


For users of previous versions of Alibre or Geomagic Design, these new features add to the value of the excellent flat-rate upgrade-and-update amnesty offer on CADDIT.net. Questions about Geomagic Design CAD Software can be submitted to CADDIT here.

Speaking of questions, several users have been asking about how it is possible to "move" a license using the new Flexnet license management for Geomagic Design. Simply stated, the software is deactivated from the "License Key Status" on one PC and activated on another. Without a license activation, Geomagic Design will ask for one each time it is started. If the license code is already activated on another PC, this license can be made free again using these steps as shown below: 1) Make sure the current system is connected to the internet. From the Home Window of Geomagic Design click "Help" -> "About Geomagic Design". 2) Click the "License Key Status" button. 3) Select "Virtual Dongle":

4) Click "Deactivation" from the Virtual Dongle functions. Select your license and click the grey arrow (lower right of box) to proceed. Once the license is deactivated online, it can be activated on the new target PC/Laptop/etc:

Geomagic Design users wishing to move their license offline, without use of an internet connection, may consider purchase of a hardware USB dongle available from CADDIT here.